College students can be compensated for participation in the program, which is individually tailored for one’s stress levels.
Jessica Santiago, a Licensed Professional Counselor/Mental Health Therapist, works on therapy studies at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. Her primary job is to oversee multiple therapy studies currently running at LIBR — more specifically, a study that is run by Dr. Robin Aupperle.
Dr. Aupperle is a principal investigator at LIBR and also an assistant professor at the University of Tulsa. According to the LIBR website, she has been involved with and conducted research investigating “behavioral and neural mechanisms” that can help combat anxiety, depression and trauma-related disorders. The website states that Aupperle is also involved in “identifying factors that support resilience to college-related stress” and is looking for ways to help students’ psychological well-being.
Santiago spoke with The Collegian about the research with Aupperle that studies patients who have high anxiety and depression. According to Santiago, the study “tests patients behaviorally, physiologically and during MRIs” to help develop “individual-based profiles” to identify tailored interventions toward anxiety, depression and trauma, helping patients with better outcomes during therapy. These studies will conclude if exposure therapy or behavioral activation therapy will be helpful to that particular person.
University of Tulsa students are invited to participate in the study and be compensated for their time. Participation entails group exposure therapy, MRIs and answering questions on one’s feelings before and after the treatment. Patients do not have to be medically diagnosed with any type of mental disorder to sign up for the study.
According to LIBR, the study is open to people who are:
• 18 years and older.
• Can understand enough English to complete the interviews and answer questions.
• Have access to a computer.
• NOT an international student visa. This is due to restrictions on international students’ research compensation.
• NOT currently experiencing severe/unstable health issues that need immediate medical attention.
Simplified by Santiago, this study “could possibly identify specific markers of treatment success that may hopefully be used in the future to personalize treatments for patients suffering from these disorders.”
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