Thoughts on Record: Podcast of the Ottawa Institute of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Dr. Kristen Ellard: Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders

January 24, 2022 Season 3 Episode 2
Thoughts on Record: Podcast of the Ottawa Institute of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Dr. Kristen Ellard: Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders
Show Notes

While a number of empirically supported, disorder-specific treatment protocols exist, it is frequently the experience of clinicians that clients present with co-morbid symptoms - that is, symptoms of a number of mental disorders at the same time.  This can present challenges around treating concurrent symptoms and/or what to prioritize in treatment.  Dr. Kristen Ellard, Clinical Psychologist, Professor & co-developer/co-author of the Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders, a cognitive behavioral treatment designed to target emotion dysregulation across mood and anxiety disorders, joins us for a fascinating discussion in which we cover:   

  • the origin story and philosophical underpinnings of the Unified Protocol
  • how the Unified Protocol model proposes that normally adaptive emotional & behavioral processes are translated into psychopathology  
  • the basic structure of Unified Protocol including core interventions
  • the proposed mechanism of changes within the Unified Protocol's model
  • whether commonly employed theoretical models in psychology (e.g., CBT, psychoanalytic, ACT, EFT etc) actually match the way in which the brain actually works  
  • how to leverage knowledge of how the brain processes information to maximize the effective deployment of psychotherapy
  • the critical role of somatic (interoceptive) sensations in the construction of emotional experiences
  • how subcortical or “unconscious” areas of the brain might make calculations with respect to threat, attraction, preferences etc. 
  • what we can learn about brain function and the importance of sense of self in the context of mental disorders from emergent data around the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics

Comments or Feedback?  Email the podcast: oicbtpodcast@gmail.com

Kristen Ellard, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School and Director of Dimensional Neuroimaging Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Neuropsychiatry. She completed her PhD in clinical psychology at Boston University under the mentorship of Dr. David Barlow, and completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She was co-developer and co-author of the Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders, a cognitive behavioral treatment designed to target emotion dysregulation across mood and anxiety disorders, which has now been translated into six languages. Dr. Ellard’s research uses transdiagnostic, dimension-based neuroscience and behavioral approaches to understand the roots of severe cognitive and affective dysregulation in neuropsychiatric disorders, and to find more efficient and effective means to address this dysregulation through combined behavioral and neuromodulatory approaches such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and deep brain stimulation (DBS). She has received several foundation awards and two NIH National Research Service Awards for her research program (F31/F32), including most recently a Fellowship Award through the MGH and Brown University Joint Training Program in Recovery and Restoration of CNS Health and Function (T32) and a Mentored Patient-Oriented Career Development Award (K23) from the NIMH.

https://dnn.mgh.harvard.edu/member/kristen-k-ellard-phd/