Alcohol, Other Drugs & Mental Health (Dual Diagnosis) Training ONLINE & Live (12 Hr Advanced)

Ongoing

Dual Diagnostic Training

Location: Online 24/7 (Australia)
Phone: +61 408 332 765
Email: george@dualdiagnosistraining.com.au
Link: https://www.dualdiagnosistraining.com.au/

Cost of Dual Diagnosis Training is reduced from $390 to $195 (50% off). Buy ONLINE program for $195, get LIVE free or Buy LIVE program for $195, get ONLINE free.
George Patriki provides both LIVE and ONLINE training & professional development for the health care, welfare and social service industries on the Gold Coast, throughout Australia and the globe…

Click here to register and pay for the LIVE or ONLINE training

Certificate of attendance and qualification for 12 points (ONLINE) or up to 15 points (Live) of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) for your professional peak body (APS, ACA, AASW, CPA, PACFA, ACWA etc), requires completion of the full 2 days of intensive training live or online.

This advanced training covers all of the current evidence based, best practice in the Alcohol & Other Drugs (AOD) and Mental Health from an integrated, holistic framework

In June 2018, S.A.M.H.I. launched its 6 module, Self Paced, 12 hour Dual Diagnosis Training. This training will equip workers to be able to deliver brief and early interventions to people struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues, as well as advanced psychotherapeutic skills. This is the same as the comprehensive 2 day advanced training that is being delivered live across Australia and online in 81 countries. – https://www.dualdiagnosistraining.com.au/training-and-workshops/

This online Dual Diagnosis Training was launched in June 2018 on the learning online learning platform which provides lifetime login to the training. They have thousands of courses and millions of students worldwide.

Module 1. Drugs & Effects

  • Cycle of Addiction
  • Alcohol
  • Drink & Drug Driving
  • Tobacco
  • Cannabis
  • Stimulants (Speed, Ice, Ecstasy, Cocaine)
  • Inhalants (volatile substances)

Module 2. Addictions & Mental Health

  • Dual Diagnosis
  • Integrative Holistic Model
  • Needs & Underlying Issues that drive addictions

Module 3. Harm Minimisation & Optimal Health

  • Pharmacotherapies
  • Orthomolecular Science, Functional Medicine & Optimal Health

Module 4. Neuropharmacology & Neurophysiology (Brain Works)

  • Neuroplasticity
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Psychosis vs Dissociation
  • Psychospirituality

Module 5. Trauma model & Keys to Treatment

  • Guilt vs Shame
  • Dealing with ambivalence

Module 6. Brief & Early Intervention and Tripod of Support

  • Stages of Change
  • Costs vs Benefits – doing a brief intervention

LIVE dates:


Dr. Kim Corace, CPA President (2020/2022), named the first Vice President of Innovation at Transformation at The Royal

Dr. Kim CoraceCongratulations to CPA President (2020/2022), Dr. Kim Corace, who has been named the first Vice President of Innovation at Transformation at The Royal. Her role will be to provide strategic leadership for mental health and addiction system transformation, including innovation in patient care service delivery models, at the regional and provincial levels.

The full release can be found here.

 


Special Issue of Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science: Exceptional Canadian Contributions to Research in Depression

Special Issue of Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science: Exceptional Canadian Contributions to Research in Depression.

Editor: David J. A. Dozois.

Deadline for submissions: February 28, 2021.
Articles can be submitted in either English or French.
Click here for more information about the special issue and how to submit.  


Psychological First Aid for Frontline Health Care Providers During COVID-19: A Quick Guide to Wellness

Prepared by
Dr. Mélanie Joanisse, C.Psych.
Clinical and Health Psychologist

Psychological First Aid for Frontline Health Care Providers During COVID-19: A Quick Guide to Wellness (PDF)

Disclaimer: the tools provided in this workbook are not intended to be viewed as a replacement for psychological services provided by a trained professional. Please seek professional help if needed.


Audio Update: Connected North Indigenous role models

·Connected North from TakingITGlobal was the recipient of the CPA’s 2020 Humanitarian award for their work connecting youth in remote northern Canadian communities to educational programs, activism, and mentors through 2-way video technology. We spoke to Waukomaun Pawis at Connected North about their programs, indigenous role models, and coping with COVID.

Practice Disruption Insurance Coverage

Any CPA member, or any member of a provincial/territorial association of psychology, who purchased the Clinic/Business insurance package through BMS, in the year ending June 2020, and wishes information or advice about practice disruption coverage as the result of COVID-19, please contact Chris Blom at Miller Thomson cblom@millerthomson.com  


Special Call for COVID-19 Related Submissions for Presentation at the CPA’s 2020 Virtual Series

CPA 2020 Virtual EventThe impacts of COVID-19 are wide-reaching, impacting all aspects of life as we know it.  In light of COVID-19, the CPA made the decision to transition its annual 2020 in-person convention to a virtual series offered over the months of July and August.

The CPA is committed to knowledge exchange and community for all its members and affiliates. To that end, the virtual series will feature hundreds of submissions from individuals accepted to present at the CPA’s in-person convention. It will also feature a specialized stream devoted to COVID-19 and pandemics.

We are re-opening and accepting new submissions, specific only to COVID-19 and pandemic-related presentations at the CPA’s virtual series in August.  Submissions unrelated to COVID-19 or pandemics will not be accepted.

You may submit to virtually present a poster, Gimme 5, 12-minute spoken presentation, 25-minute theory review, or 55-minute symposium (comprised of at least 2 presentations).

We will begin accepting submissions Monday June 15th (https://events.decorporate.ca/CPA2020/abstract/. Deadline for submissions is June 26th. All submissions will undergo a rapid peer review. Acceptance notices will go out by July 10th.

For more information, contact us at convention@cpa.ca.


“Psychology Works” Fact Sheet: Why Does Culture Matter to COVID-19?

Pandemics are complex dynamic systems that shift and change over time due to the influence of a huge and interacting set of variables. Cultural contexts, although they tend to change more slowly, are similarly complex. Research on cultural processes unfolding under pandemic conditions is therefore fraught with uncertainty. Nonetheless, thanks to research conducted during and after previous disease outbreaks combined with the first studies rapidly assembled in the first months of the current pandemic, we are in a position to make some initial evidence-based claims as cultural and cross-cultural psychologists.

Contemporary cultural / cross-cultural psychology rejects the idea that biology and culture are opposed. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is straightforwardly biological, as is the associated disease, COVID-19. Nonetheless, the cultural context shapes the ways in which people engage with this threat, affecting everything from pre-existing health status (and hence, vulnerability) and living conditions to how people react to the threat of the virus and to the measures being taken to combat it.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have already observed cultural variations in:

  • Pre-virus readiness for pandemics and other disasters
  • Transmission rates
  • Behavioural responses (e.g., mask-wearing, handwashing)
  • Official policies (e.g., “social distancing”)
  • Compliance with official policies

While our biological immune system is critical when we are infected with a virus, our behavioural immune system helps protect us from getting infected in the first place. It does so by helping us to detect pathogen cues and then to trigger relevant emotional and behavioural responses to these cues. Many aspects of this system are shaped by the local cultural context.

Indeed, some aspects of culture itself may have been shaped by variations in historical levels of infectious disease risk, leading to longstanding differences between cultural groups. For example, cultural groups with a high historical prevalence of pathogens tend to show lower levels of social gregariousness and greater concern about outgroup members.

We can understand the links between cultural context and COVID-19 at three levels: 1) macro-level of whole societies; 2) meso-level of families and communities; and 3) micro-level of individual people.

Macro-level of Whole Societies

Societies differ in numerous demographic ways relevant to COVID-19. For example, societies differ in terms of the strength of the economy, development of the healthcare system, urban population density, and degree of emergency preparedness.

These structural differences are shaped by longstanding cultural tendencies. For example, we would expect societies characterized by widespread valuation of a long-term time horizon to emphasize preparedness as compared with societies focused more on short-term concerns.

Political polarization can also lower trust, leading people to prefer advice from politically motivated sources and/or advice that fits with political preconceptions. Structural discrimination against certain ethnocultural groups can also compromise trust. There is an added concern that such polarization can lead different segments of society to act in conflict with each other rather than in pursuit of common goals.

Societies also differ in cultural patterns of values and behaviour. The extent to which people in a given society move between different locations, or geographical mobility, is associated with a set of skills that facilitate frequent shifts between different social networks, or relational mobility. Recent research has shown that the transmission rate during the 30 days after the first case of COVID-19 is correlated with societal levels of relational mobility. It appears that one problem with mobile societies is increased ease of transmission across geographical and social distances.

The extent to which people in a given society adhere closely to rules or look for opportunities to violate such rules can be understood as a distinction between tightness and looseness. Tighter societies are more likely to accept behavioural constraints. Particular advantages may accrue to societies able to maintain tight-loose ambidexterity: tight norms with sufficient looseness to promote ‘outside-the-box thinking’. This combination of self-restraint and creativity might be very helpful in pandemic situations, as both are needed.

Meso-Level of Families and Communities

Normative behavioural patterns in particular social networks can affect the transmission both of (a) an infectious disease and (b) ideas about the disease. Whereas the former requires study of how a virus propagates within and between bodies (e.g., increased contagion of a virus that survives for a long time on surfaces), the latter requires study of how ideas propagate within and between minds (e.g., increased believability of an idea frequently repeated by a source deemed credible).

Social networks accelerate transmission of harmful and helpful ideas about a given disease and what one ought to do about it. Such transmission can take place through conversation or observational learning, but also through traditional news sources or social media. Social capital, or the value that comes from our social networks and connections, varies across families and communities. Whereas a focus on strengthening intra-group connections (high bonding capital) would keep the virus in the local bubble, a focus on strengthening inter-group connections (high bridging capital) would allow the virus to be transmitted more widely.

The centrality of social connectedness in many communities is reflected through participation in communal events, which may feel obligatory (e.g., festivals, weddings, funerals). Emotional expressivity in certain communities may be associated with close talking, handshakes, kissing, loud exclamations, and so on. All of this is conducive to droplet projection, which further propagates the virus.

Measures taken to combat pandemic spread are also received differently depending on local characteristics. For example, families and communities differ in their acceptance of hierarchy—and hence, compliance with authority. One complicating question is who is a legitimate source of authority: do people look to public health officials, family members, religious leaders, or celebrities? Moreover, public health officials may require measures that directly contradict local imperatives; impeding appropriate burial of the dead, for example, can be emotionally charged.

Given that outbreaks of disease are associated with high levels of anxiety and uncertainty, the potential for increased intergroup tensions should not be underestimated. There is evidence that disease risk increases prejudice and discrimination against:

  • Outgroups that are disfavoured in general (e.g., visible minorities, Indigenous people, the poor and especially the homeless);
  • Outgroups that are specifically associated with the source of transmission of a given disease (e.g., East Asian Canadians, in the case of COVID-19);
  • Outgroup and even ingroup members that by vocation or circumstance have a higher degree of exposure to the disease (e.g., grocery store workers, healthcare workers—although in the latter case, there are also positive views).

Stigma has consequences, including stress/distress, barriers to effective healthcare, mistrust, distortion of public risk perceptions, hate speech/crimes, and other forms of marginalization. These consequences can further disease spread (e.g., stress weakens the immune system while healthcare barriers delay treatment).

Disfavoured groups, moreover, are at additional risk due to social inequalities. For example, certain minority groups are more likely to be found in jobs that involve high contact but low compensation. Disfavored groups can show ‘cultural mistrust’, understandable but problematic apprehension around official social structures (e.g., government, media, law enforcement, formal healthcare). Economic disadvantage is associated with higher likelihood of pre-existing health conditions that in turn appear to increase COVID-19 risks. For example, this combination of health vulnerabilities and reduced healthcare access is endemic to indigenous communities.

Importantly, stigma goes beyond disfavoured groups and can include people who are also being celebrated for their important role in fighting pandemics (i.e., healthcare workers). Fear of healthcare workers and their potential to spread disease may interact with cultural beliefs about health and illness. If pre-existing negative views about healthcare workers or conspiratorial beliefs that incorporate them are widespread in a given community, the problem increases. At the same time, these kinds of incidents have been reported for many diseases, including COVID-19, across a range of cultural settings, suggesting a degree of universality.

Micro-Level of Individual Psychology

People’s behaviours are based in their beliefs, the behaviours they observe in others (and interpret in light of their beliefs), and the behaviours they believe others expect of them. What a person believes and how they behave is strongly shaped by their cultural context. Individual differences that may in part be rooted in temperament—for example, in attention to health, hygiene, comfort with isolation, tendency to stay home when sick, and so on—are further shaped by local norms.

The tendency towards optimism versus pessimism is a good and relevant example of a dispositional trait that is shaped by cultural context. There is now considerable evidence suggesting that people living in East-Asian cultural contexts tend to hold a cyclical view in which positive and negative experiences tend to oscillate and balance out over time. In other words, a run of good fortune means that one’s luck will soon run out, but also vice versa. People living in Euro-American cultural contexts, by contrast, have a more linear view in which recent past and present experiences predict future experiences.

We can understand a long period of time without a serious pandemic as a run of good fortune, in which case we might expect cultural variations in whether we would expect people to respond with increased or decreased preparation for a future pandemic. In research conducted after the 2002 SARS outbreak, defensive pessimism was associated with traditional Chinese values and predicted increased anxiety about infection but also more consistent health behaviours, such as hand-washing. Unrealistic optimism, in contrast, predicted perceived imperviousness to infection, leading to better mood but also to lower intention to wash hands.

Tendency towards optimism versus pessimism is part of a cluster of personality traits that all share commonality with negative affectivity. Other examples include anxiety sensitivity and intolerance of uncertainty. Although negative affectivity emerges as an independent personality domain across a wide range of different cultural contexts, there is marked cultural variation in the extent to which negative affectivity is tolerated or minimized. Negative affectivity is associated with risk perception, leading to more distress but also more willingness to take recommended precautions.

Negative affectivity is also associated directly with the likelihood of symptom-like experiences. Anxiety about one’s health leads to increases in self-monitoring for signs of illness; moreover, anxiety itself can generate physiological reactions that might be mistaken for such signs. For example, increased anxiety can be accompanied by increased heart-rate, sweaty palms, trembling, shortness of breath, and so on, all of which could look like signs of illness. Note that some migrants and minority group members might already have elevated anxiety and uncertainty.

Experiences that might be mistaken for disease can thus be produced by a combination of:

  • Ideas about pandemic disease symptoms circulating in a given community;
  • Culturally-shaped tendencies to monitor particular bodily sensations; and
  • Individual differences in negative affectivity.

Moreover, the very fact of paying attention to certain sensations can make them more salient. In some cases, the concern that one might have caught a dangerous disease can generate further anxiety, thus worsening these sensations. These kinds of feedback loops could lead to intra- and inter-group differences in the symptoms that are discussed and expressed.

Conclusion: What Should We Do?

The struggle against COVID-19, will require the ingenuity of biological scientists across a variety of disciplines. Nonetheless, the potential contributions of the behavioural and social sciences should not be underestimated. The pandemic, along with the measures taken to combat it, is shaped in important ways by culture. What, then, are the implications?

An unprecedented number of people worldwide are concerned about the same disease and are experiencing broadly the same distancing measures. As such, there may be a temptation to focus on the similarities. At a minimum, policy-makers, healthcare workers, and the public at large should keep in mind that the pandemic experience may be very different for different people. These differences are shaped by the society in which one lives, the communities of which one is a part, and culturally-shaped individual variations. Complicating matters, appreciation for difference does not mean treating all responses equally when it comes to effectively mitigating a pandemic. Clearly, some cultural patterns are more effective than others.

Nonetheless, understanding that people have reasons for their beliefs and actions is important. Such understanding can help combat stigmatizing attitudes and better tailor strategies to work with different cultural communities. For example, public health officials and other policy-makers might work with religious leaders to spread information about the need to rethink traditional public celebrations. Debunking false information once it has taken hold is extremely difficult. Cultural understanding can help in developing strategies to ‘prebunk’ these ideas: combating this information in advance, in ways acceptable to the target population.

Clinicians, meanwhile, are now practicing in very different ways compared to earlier this year. There has been a major uptake of online service delivery methods, some of which may continue into the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, even when a client is alone on a screen, it is important to keep in mind the web of influences around them. Clients may hold very different culturally-shaped beliefs about the pandemic, different from each other and also different from the clinician.

At the same time, cultural traditions can be a source of resilience, as sources of wisdom about how to make sense of and prepare for uncertainty for example. We should remember, moreover, that interventions are not limited to majority-culture healthcare workers and minority patients. The people on the front-line represent many different cultural groups. As with clients, this can mean specific, underappreciated stressors for minority group healthcare workers—but also potential access to a wider range of cultural resources.

Regardless of whether one is focusing on the laypeople or officials, patients or healthcare workers, we believe it important to be wary of claims that people from a given cultural background will therefore act in a predictable way. Such an approach can inadvertently promote stereotypes, a notable danger during a time of heightened anxieties. The complexities of research in a rapidly changing pandemic context further bolster the argument for caution. Yet, a rapidly shifting landscape fraught with cultural anxieties demands an evidence-based, culturally-attuned approach, and one that can be communicated quickly and effectively.

For cultural and cross-cultural psychologists, the overall message is clear:

  • Culture is integral to understanding societal, community, family, and individual responses to pandemics;
  • Keeping culture in mind leads to much more nuanced and effective responses to individual circumstances.

We expect many more findings to flesh out this overall message over the next several years. Nonetheless, we have every reason for confidence that such findings will serve to confirm and reinforce these core ideas.

Where do I go for more information?

To obtain  important and up to date information about COVID-19, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

Provincial, territorial, and some municipal associations of psychology often maintain referral services. For the names and coordinates of provincial and territorial associations of psychology, please visit:  https://cpa.ca/public/whatisapsychologist/PTassociations 

This fact sheet has been prepared for the Canadian Psychological Association by Andrew G. Ryder, Associate Professor, Concordia University, Jewish General Hospital; John Berry, Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University; Saba Safdar, Professor, University of Guelph; and Maya Yampolsky, Assistant Professor, Université Laval.

Date: May 27, 2020

Your opinion matters! Please contact us with any questions or comments about any of the Psychology Works Fact Sheets:  factsheets@cpa.ca

Canadian Psychological Association
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario    K1P 5J3
Tel:  613-237-2144
Toll free (in Canada):  1-888-472-0657

CPA Statement against Anti-Black Racism and Discrimination

The Canadian Psychological Association rests on a foundation of policy and principle of anti-discrimination and respect for the dignity of persons.  These policies and principles are embedded in the Code of Ethics which guide the science, practice and education of psychology in Canada. 

2020 has challenged Canadians, and citizens of the world, to be brave; to overcome stresses to our health and welfare and to do it with kindness, respect, and compassion. Anti-Black racism jeopardizes our success as individuals, families, communities, workplaces and societies.  Our success depends on our willingness and ability to look after ourselves and each other and to work together. There is no room for racism, prejudice or systemic discrimination in a just society.  

A just society enables all its members to contribute, to thrive, and to make a positive difference when facing fortune and when facing adversity.  The CPA invites people to stand together, to stand up and to stand close against anti-Black racism and discrimination of all kinds. 


CIHR Operating Grant : COVID-19 Mental Health & Substance Use Service Needs and Delivery

Registration Deadline: June 18, 2020
Application Deadline: July 7, 2020
Anticipated Notice of Decision: Aug. 25, 2020
Funding Start Date: Sept. 1, 2020

Click here to apply for the opportunity: https://www.researchnet-recherchenet.ca/rnr16/vwOpprtntyDtls.do?prog=3340&language=E


As a part of the Government of Canada’s continued rapid response to address major health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the third funding opportunity in CIHR’s COVID-19 and Mental Health (CMH) Initiative, Operating Grant: COVID-19 Mental Health & Substance Use Service Needs and Delivery, launches today to:

  1.  Understand and address the acute mental health and/or substance use needs of individuals, communities and/or populations, and/or the effects on related care systems, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and
  2. Develop the evidence to better match access to mental health and/or substance use services with the people who need them the most, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The registration deadline for this funding opportunity is June 18. Like the previous CMH Initiative funding opportunities, Operating Grant: COVID-19 Mental Health & Substance Use Service Needs and Delivery has urgent deadlines to ensure the timely delivery of critical knowledge. As the mental health effects of the pandemic continue, help us fill this critical research need by sharing this information with interested colleagues.

To connect with CIHR about the CMH Initiative or funding opportunities therein, please email COVID19MH-COVID19SM@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

Audio Update: Dr. Heather Prime on Risk and Resilience in Family Well-Being during COVID-19

Dr. Heather Prime and two colleagues collaborated on a paper called “Risk and Resilience in Family Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic”. They turned to previous crises (natural disasters, economic crashes, etc) to better understand where families are at and may be headed during COVID-19. You can find their paper here: psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2020-34995-001.html

CPA’s 2020 Strategic Plan

At the 2020 Annual General Meeting, the CPA was glad to announce the launch of its 2020 Strategic Plan.  The plan was developed in consultation with CPA members and prospective members, affiliates as well as its Board and staff. It defines the CPA’s mission, vision, guiding principles, operating principles, as well as six strategic goals which will guide the organization’s activity from 2020 through 2025.  I would like to invite you to review our new Strategic Plan and consider how you can help your association work for you.”
Dr. Kim Corace, CPA President 2020/21


Working with the Federal Government

CPA sent a letter to the House of Commons Standing Committee to offer our expertise in assisting in identifying sustainable solutions that keep Canadians mentally as well as physically healthy (see letter).

CPA, along with other national health organizations, met with the Federal Minister of Health on May 21st to discuss the role of the federal government in the context of COVID-19.  The Minister did indicate that the government is discussing what additional investments could be made in the mental health space.


“Psychology Works” Fact Sheet: Phobias

What is a phobia?

A phobia is an excessive and persistent fear of a situation (e.g., enclosed places, driving, flying, seeing blood, heights) or an object (e.g., animals such as rats, snakes, spiders, dogs, or birds).

The focus of an individual’s fear is generally anticipated harm or danger related to the situation or object (e.g., having an accident while driving, being bitten by a dog) or fear of losing control and having anxiety-related physical sensations (e.g., panicking in an enclosed place, fainting upon seeing blood).

The fear is considered excessive because it is out of proportion to the actual level of danger associated with the situation. When an individual with a phobia is exposed to the feared stimulus (the object or the situation) or related cues (things that remind us of the object or situation), an immediate anxiety response is triggered that can sometimes grow into a full-blown panic attack. Consequently, people with phobias either avoid the feared situations or objects or they endure them with a lot of distress.

For example, an individual with a phobia of snakes experiences an anxiety reaction in a number of situations including seeing a snake on television, being outside in grassy or wooded areas where snakes may live, and seeing things that resemble a snake such as a coiled garden hose in the yard.

Phobias are quite common and occur in almost one in every 10 Canadians. There are four main types of phobias: animal type (e.g., spiders, dogs, and rodents), natural environment type (e.g., storms, heights, and water), blood-injection-injury type (e.g., seeing blood, getting a needle, having a medical procedure), and situational type (e.g., enclosed places, flying, driving). Phobias that do not fit into these four categories fall into a fifth category referred to as “other type” (e.g., fears of choking or vomiting). The most common phobias are those of animals and heights.

Blood-injection-injury and animal phobias typically begin in early childhood whereas situational and natural environment phobias begin later, usually in the late teens and 20s. Approximately 75% of individuals with a blood-injection-injury phobia report a history of fainting in response to the phobic stimulus.

These features of phobias are outlined in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (American Psychiatric Association, 2013):

  • Significant fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation (in children, this may be expressed through tearfulness, tantrums, clinging, or freezing);
  • The phobic stimulus nearly always triggers immediate fear or anxiety;
  • The phobic stimulus is avoided or endured with intense distress;
  • The fear or anxiety is excessive or out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the phobic stimulus;
  • The fear, anxiety, or related avoidance typically lasts for at least 6 months;
  • The fear, anxiety, or related avoidance causes significant distress to the individual or interferes with their daily social, occupational, and/or other important activities.

Phobias have a strong effect on a person’s life. They cause a lot of distress and can make it very difficult to function normally in social situations, at work, or in other domains.

For example, an individual with a snake phobia may avoid pleasant activities such as gardening, nature walks, camping or playing a game in a field. A person with a height phobia may not take a job in an office on a high floor of an office tower. A person with a flying phobia may turn down a promotion because the new position requires flying to meetings across the country. An individual with a phobia of needles or medical procedures may avoid necessary treatments or routine blood tests because of their phobia, putting their health at risk.

Although many phobias are triggered by experiencing a traumatic event in the phobic situation (e.g., getting stuck in an elevator or having a panic attack while flying), a number of individuals do not remember a specific time or event that caused their fear and report a more gradual development.

Thus, there are a number of ways to develop a phobia, including direct learning (having a traumatic experience with the phobic object or situation), vicarious learning (seeing someone else being frightened of the phobic object or situation ), and informational transmission (hearing about a scary event through the media or a family member or being told that a specific object or situation is dangerous).

We are more likely to develop fears of some objects and situations than others. For example, it is much easier to develop a fear of a snake than a flower. In fact, our fear of snakes may have helped us to survive over the centuries. Our own unique personality factors (such as a disgust reaction to certain stimuli) and our stress levels at the time of a traumatic event can also lead to the development of a phobia.

What psychological approaches are used to treat phobias?

The treatment of choice for specific phobias is cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).

It focuses on slowly and safely exposing a person to their feared object or situation. This is called an exposure-based treatment because it involves repeatedly approaching the target of one’s fear until it no longer produces a strong fear reaction.

Many studies have shown that exposure-based CBT is highly effective for the treatment of specific phobias.

In fact, specific phobias are considered to be the most treatable of the anxiety disorders. Most people with a phobia can achieve significant improvement or full recovery in as few as one to five sessions. This form of treatment has been used for adults, adolescents, and children.

CBT has been found to be effective when administered in a self-help book format as well. Recent developments in treatment have used virtual reality to assist in exposure to situations that are difficult to replicate, such as flying and heights.

Generally, medications are not considered effective for the treatment of specific phobias. However, it is not uncommon for individuals with phobias to be prescribed low doses of benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medication) to be taken in the phobic situation (e.g., when flying). Although this will not eliminate the fear, it allows the person to function in the situation.

Where do I go for more information?

For more information on phobias visit the following websites:

You can consult with a registered psychologist to find out if psychological interventions might be of help to you. Provincial, territorial and some municipal associations of psychology often maintain referral services. For the names and coordinates of provincial and territorial associations of psychology, click http://www.cpa.ca/public/whatisapsychologist/PTassociations/.

This fact sheet was prepared for the Canadian Psychological Association by Dr. Randi E. McCabe, Clinical Director of the Mood, Anxiety, and Seniors Mental Health Services at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, and updated by Dr. Irena Milosevic, Clinical Psychologist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University.

Revised: May 2020

Your opinion matters! Please contact us with any questions or comments about any of the Psychology Works Fact Sheets:  factsheets@cpa.ca

Canadian Psychological Association
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario    K1P 5J3
Tel:  613-237-2144
Toll free (in Canada):  1-888-472-0657

32nd ICP2020 and IUPsyS Assembly Rescheduled to July 2021

Due to the public health risks and challenges presented by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the 32nd International Congress of Psychology (ICP) 2020 and the Annual General Assembly of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS), which was to be held from July 19-24, 2020 in Prague, Czech Republic, has been re-scheduled to July 18-23, 2021 at the same Prague Congress Centre. 

CDC: Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Use of Cloth Face Coverings during Pandemic: Wearing, Maintaining and Making Cloth Face Coverings


COVID-19 and the Impact on Research

COVID-19 has had an enormous impact, in a short period of time, on the academic workplace. CAUT launched an online town hall series titled COVID-19 and the Academic Job, to support academic staff in this constantly changing and uncertain time.

Join us for an online forum discussion with the Tri-Councils on funding measures to address impact on research

in the context of COVID-19, Thursday, May 21, 11:30 am to 1:00pm EDT.

Please register now at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_oVWAsWyNTMW-cRhs1dxcPQ.

Representatives:
• Dominique Bérubé, Vice-President, Research, SSHRC
• Dr. Marc Fortin, Vice-President, Research Partnerships, NSERC
• Dr. Danika Goosney, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships Directorate, NSERC
• Adrian Mota, Acting Associate Vice-President, Research, Knowledge Translation and Ethics, CIHR

Submit advance questions for the panelists to education@caut.ca.

CPA Members Leading an International Study on Awareness, Attitudes, Impacts and Behaviors related to COVID-19: Please complete the Phase 2 survey!

The Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre (www.mbmc-cmcm.ca), along with international team of over 150 researchers from more than 40 countries around the world, are trying to assess the public perceptions, attitudes, concerns, and responses to the various measures put in place to prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19. The study, led by Dr. Kim Lavoie (UQAM, CIUSSS-NIM) and Simon Bacon (Concordia University, CIUSSS-NIM) in collaboration with several CPA members from across Canada, will link the survey to policy and case data from around the world to estimate the effectiveness and impacts of current strategies used to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19. 

Thanks to your help, we received over 35,000 responses for phase 1! (see preliminary result updates here: https://mbmc-cmcm.ca/covid19/stats-wave1/)

To find out more information or to take the Phase 2 survey (which is available in multiple languages), please go to: www.mbmc-cmcm.ca/covid19

Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine Section Survey: How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting academic faculty in Canada?.

Tell us how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you and your research!

  • We are recruiting academic faculty to participate in a short survey about the experience and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadian academics
  • Survey duration: 20 minutes
  • Participants can enter into a draw to win a $100 gift card for Skipthedishes or UberEats (odds of winning are approx. 1 in 20). 

Click here to complete the survey: https://uregina.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6Qqe4GgmDJaO2Ut

“Psychology Works” Fact Sheet: Grief, Bereavement and COVID-19

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that is not only posing significant risk to public health and the way we cope with our daily lives; it is also posing a significant challenge to how we are dying and how we are mourning loved ones. 

Death and Dying

Physical distancing restrictions related to COVID-19 have meant that many individuals are dying – or facing the prospect of dying – without the presence of family and friends around them, causing them feelings of isolation and psychological distress. Due to the strains facing health care workers and facilities, individuals in palliative care may also not be having their advanced-care directives fully realised (e.g., preferred location of death, life-prolonging measures).[i] This can be particularly problematic and distressing for those who are cognitively aware that their directives are not being met.

Those same restrictions are also causing distress for family and friends who are not being permitted to  be with loved ones when they are ill or dying, thereby preventing the opportunity to hold someone’s hand, have a last meaningful conversation, affirm a bond, make amends, or simply say good-bye.[ii] Further causing distress is the haste with which some current provincial restrictions are forcing families to decide where to send a body within 1-3 hours of death, depending on whether the death occurred in hospital or in a long-term care facility.

Impacts on Mourning

Different cultures have their own customs and rituals for mourning.  Physical distancing restrictions are also making it hard for people to come together socially with other mourners to grieve, spend time with or pay their final respects to the deceased, provide support to one another, and/or find comfort in their cultural or secular traditions, thereby contributing to grieving challenges and feelings of isolation.[iii] 

When loved ones do not have the opportunity to say good-bye and cannot come together to provide physical comfort, they may not have the necessary closure – also known as ambiguous loss – they need to properly grieve.[iv] They may feel anger at those that have put the restrictions in place; regret at not having a chance to hold someone’s hand or make amends; worry that a loved one may not be being given appropriate care or necessary pain relief; and guilt over one’s own powerlessness and inability to be with a loved one in their time of need.

It is unknown how long physical distancing measures will be in place; as such, it is important for people to find new ways to both recognize the dying process and cope with grief.  During the dying process, to the extent possible, video calling can connect patients with family members who are separated because of travel and/or visitor restrictions, offering some sense of comfort to patients in their last days and moments. Following death, friends and family can come together virtually, make use of online memorials, write more elaborate obituaries, and/or plan to hold services at a time when physical distancing restrictions are no longer in place.[v] While these measures are providing some means of honouring the deceased, they nonetheless cannot replace the physical comfort and connectedness one feels from a hug or hand-shake.

Disrupted, Complicated or Prolonged Grief

Although grief is a normal response to loss, “the grieving process itself is very individualized and personal such that everyone processes and experiences grief differently”.[vi]  For many, coming together for a funeral or other cultural ritual to honour the death of an individual is an essential – and normal – step in the bereavement process. Not being able to come together to mourn may not only lead to ambiguous loss, these circumstances may also increase the likelihood of one experiencing disrupted, complicated or prolonged grief.

When Psychological Distress Becomes Too Much

Individuals experiencing disrupted, complicated or prolonged grief are at increased risk of substance use, sleep disorders, impaired immune functioning and suicidal thoughts.[vii]

While spiritual leaders are themselves being restricted from being with individuals as they pass and performing any last rites of passage, they can be a source of comfort to loved ones to help them cope with the loss. Psychologists and other mental health providers can also help with disrupted, complicated or prolonged grieving.

If the following signs and symptoms increase or worsen over time and impair overall functioning, they might signal need for help to cope with one’s grief:

  • Sleeping poorly, too much or too little
  • Avoiding others, even within the confines of social distancing
  • Experiencing headaches, stomach problems, neck or back pain
  • Crying excessively and all the time
  • Talking less and being withdrawn
  • Feeling dazed or disconnected from self or the reality
  • Feeling anxious, depressed or having panic attacks
  • Feeling angry, guilty, helpless, numb, or confused
  • Not wanting to get out of bed
  • Having difficulties concentrating or focusing
  • Excessive eating for comfort
  • Drinking more alcohol or taking prescription drugs more than prescribed
  • Having little patience
  • Feeling overprotective of loved ones

 

It is important to remember that most of us have had some of the signs and symptoms listed above at one time or another, and that COVID-19 has led to increased stress for most people.  If you have a number of these signs and symptoms and they

  • persist beyond a couple of weeks
  • persist to the point where you are not able to carry out the home or work-related activities permitted by social distancing advisories
  • are accompanied by intense feelings of despair, hopelessness, helplessness or suicidal thoughts

 

you are well advised to consult a regulated health care professional such as a psychologist, your family physician, psychiatrist, or other mental health provider. 

Resources:

Ontario Palliative Care Network, 2020. Planning for Palliative Care Delivery during the COVID-19 Pandemic. http://www.virtualhospice.ca/covid19/

Where do I go for more information?

To obtain  important and up to date information about COVID-19, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

Provincial, territorial, and some municipal associations of psychology often maintain referral services. For the names and coordinates of provincial and territorial associations of psychology, please visit:  https://cpa.ca/public/whatisapsychologist/PTassociations 

This fact sheet has been prepared for the Canadian Psychological Association by Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Psychological Association; Dr. Katy Kamkar, Clinical Psychologist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Chair of the CPA’s Traumatic Stress Section; and Ms. Eva Sheppard-Perkins, Canadian Psychological Association.

Date: May 11, 2020

Your opinion matters! Please contact us with any questions or comments about any of the Psychology Works Fact Sheets:  factsheets@cpa.ca

Canadian Psychological Association
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario    K1P 5J3
Tel:  613-237-2144
Toll free (in Canada):  1-888-472-0657

[i] Arya, A., Buchman, S., Gagnon, B. and Downar, J., 2020. Pandemic palliative care: beyond ventilators and saving lives. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 192(15), pp. E400-E404.

[ii] https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/grief-distance

[iii] Leong, I., Lee, A., Ng, T., Lee, L., Koh, N., Yap, E., Guay, S. and Ng, L., 2004. The challenge of providing holistic care in a viral epidemic: opportunities for palliative care. Palliative Medicine, 18(1), pp.12-18.

[iv] https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/grief-distance

[v] Wolfelt, A., 2020. Exploring the Natural Complications of the “Whys” of Funerals During the Coronavirus Pandemic – Center For Loss & Life Transition. [online] Center for Loss & Life Transition. Available at: https://www.centerforloss.com/2020/04/funeral-whys-during-coronavirus/.

[vi] https://weareunsinkable.com/when-struck-by-a-dark-cloud-grief-loss/

[vii] Shear, K.M. 2015. Complicated Grief, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 372, No. 2, pp: 153-160..

New “Psychology Works” Fact Sheets responding to COVID-19

The CPA has produced a series of Fact Sheets in response to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Why Does Culture Matter to COVID-19? – PDF | HTML NEW 06/04/2020
  • Grief, Bereavement and COVID-19 – PDF | HTML NEW 05/12/2020

  • Research Funding Information as relates to COVID-19 – PDF | HTML NEW 05/08/2020
  • Guidance for Psychology Students as Relates to COVID-19 – PDF | HTML NEW 05/08/2020
  • Guidance for Psychology Faculty and Researchers as Relates to COVID-19 – PDF | HTML NEW 05/08/2020

  • Emotional and Psychological Challenges Faced by Frontline Health Care Providers During the COVID-19 Pandemic – PDF | HTML NEW 04/07/2020
  • Psychological Practice and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – PDF | HTML NEW 03/18/2020

  • Student Wellness and COVID-19 – PDF | HTML NEW 04/02/2020

  • Helping Teens Cope with the Impacts of and Restrictions Related to COVID-19 – PDF | HTML NEW 03/31/2020
  • Psychological Impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – PDF | HTML NEW 03/20/2020
  • Working from Home During COVID-19, With and Without Children – PDF | HTML NEW 03/17/2020
  • Coping With and Preventing COVID-19 – PDF | HTML Updated 04/04/2020

You can find all of our “Psychology Works” Fact Sheets here


Message Regarding the CPA/CPAP BMS Liability Insurance Program

BMS, CPA logo
Dear Members,

We hope that you are continuing to stay healthy during this challenging time.

On or around May 1st, you will receive the 2020-2021 CPA/CPAP[1] Liability Insurance Program renewal from the program’s broker, BMS. You will see that Professional Liability Insurance (PLI) premium has increased this year. We regret that the increase comes at this challenging time of COVID-19, but please know that the increase is not related to the pandemic but to the increased cost of claims on the psychology program. There has been a steady increase in the cost of claims on the program year over year, with several years where the costs of claims paid by the Insurer have exceeded the premium they collected.

When BMS presented CPA/CPAP with this year’s renewal terms, we requested that they conduct a marketing exercise and approach different Insurers to provide alternate quotes. Several Insurers declined to provide terms due to the volume and frequency of claims and costs paid under the program. Two Insurers did provide alternate terms; however, they did not offer comparable coverage and were not competitively priced. The premium charged this year is substantiated by actuarial analysis and has been renegotiated several times to keep the increase to the lowest amount acceptable to the Insurer to renew the policy.

We recognize the financial difficulty that a premium increase may present, particularly given the timing and impact that the current COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on individuals and businesses. Given this, CPA/CPAP and BMS, have collectively negotiated with the Insurer to offer members the option to defer a portion of their PLI premium to lessen the immediate impact of this change. To support CPA members, and members of CPAP associations during this time, there is an option to pay 50% of your Professional Liability / Commercial General Liability premium by June 1st, with the remaining half deferred to November 1, 2020. This is not mandatory, and premiums can be paid in full for the June 1st renewal, however we wanted to provide an option for members seeking assistance.

2020-2021 Professional Liability Insurance coverage

Our goal at renewal, was to give members the best coverage at the best possible premium. One of the ways to keep premiums as low as possible was to offer only the $10M/$10M Professional Liability (PLI) limit rather than both the $7M/$10M and $10M/$10M options as in previous years.

Your CPA PLI policy continues to include $300,000 of Regulatory Legal Expense coverage to protect members by covering defence costs if you are investigated by your regulatory body (College). This is an essential piece of coverage as over 80% of claims under the CPA/CPAP program in any given year are College complaints. We are aware that in an effort to reduce insurance claims, other programs or policies for psychologists have removed coverage for defence against College complaints and disciplinary hearings. While this may result in lower premiums, it also leaves psychologists without the kind of insurance coverage they are most likely to need. BMS is committed to ensuring that members areprovided with comprehensive coverage that represents the needs and greatest practice exposures for psychologists.

With some members shifting to deliver professional services via telepsychology, we would also like to confirm that the CPA/CPAP PLI policy will cover you for services delivered virtually. As with the coverage generally, you must be acting within your scope of practice and licenced jurisdiction(s). If you are delivering your services via telepsychology, however, BMS recommends that you purchase additional cyber security and privacy liability coverage so that you have adequate coverage for the kinds of exposures specific to a virtual practice.

Retiring members, or those discontinuing practice, will also benefit from an increase in the Automatic Extended Reporting Period coverage from one year to two years. You also continue to have the option to secure unlimited reporting period (tail coverage) to protect you indefinitely following retirement. To our knowledge, this is the only program for psychologists where this is offered.

Psychologists who are members of both CPA and a participating provincial/territorial association will continue to receive a discount on their premiums. Please feel free to connect with BMS at 1-855-318-6038 or psy.insurance@bmsgroup.com if you have any questions about the policy. To share any queries or concerns with the management of the program, contact executiveoffice@cpa.ca

We thank you for your participation in this program and the confidence you have placed in Canada’s associations of psychology. Be safe, stay well.

[1]The CPA/CPAP program is available to members of CPA as well as members of the provincial/territorial associations of psychology who make up the Council of Professional Associations of Psychologists (CPAP).

“Psychology Works” Fact Sheet: Research Funding Information as relates to COVID-19

Canada’s COVID-related Research Support

Public health emergencies such as COVID-19 affect the lives of people, families and communities. In early March, the Government of Canada announced an investment of more than $275 million in funding for research on measures to combat COVID-19. Of this investment, $27 million was allocated to research through the three federal research funding agencies―the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) ―the Canada Research Coordinating Committee, through the New Frontiers in Research Fund, the International Development Research Centre and Genome Canada. The international research community, research funders and public health institutions are cooperating to look for novel solutions, from new vaccines to more effective communication about the pandemic. To date, over 95 projects led by Canadian researchers are focussed on developing and implementing measures to rapidly detect, manage, and reduce transmission of COVID-19, as well as assess its impacts.

Information from Canada’s Tri-Funding Agencies

If your research is funded by a federal agency such as CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC, review each agency’s websites for information on how your current and/or future research may or may not be impacted.

CIHR

CIHR is closely monitoring the evolution and impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and is taking action to support its grants, scholarship and awards recipients, as well applicants and peer reviewers. Visit this page regularly for messages from CIHR President, Dr. Michael Strong, and updated information for the research community: https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/51917.html.

SSHRC

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, SSHRC management is assessing additional measures that may be needed to support SSHRC-funded students, postdoctoral fellows and research personnel and address concerns. Visit this page regularly for updated information on the impacts of COVID-19 on SSHRC’s policies and programs: https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/news_room-salle_de_presse/covid-19-eng.aspx.

NSERC

NSERC continues to adjust its operations as it monitors the evolution and impact of COVID-19. Visit this page regularly for messages from CIHR President, Dr. Alejandro Adem, and updated NSERC program information in relation to COVID-19: https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Media-Media/NewsRelease-CommuniqueDePresse_eng.asp?ID=1139.

Other Funding Sources

Others may have funding from sources other than the tri-agencies (for example, provincial funding, associations, foundations, private industry, universities); in that case, check in with your funding provider to assess the impacts of COVID on your research funding and deadlines.

Where do I go for more information?

To obtain  important and up to date information about COVID-19, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

Provincial, territorial, and some municipal associations of psychology often maintain referral services. For the names and coordinates of provincial and territorial associations of psychology, please visit:  https://cpa.ca/public/whatisapsychologist/PTassociations 

This fact sheet has been prepared for the Canadian Psychological Association by Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Psychological Association.

Date: May 7, 2020

Your opinion matters! Please contact us with any questions or comments about any of the Psychology Works Fact Sheets:  factsheets@cpa.ca

Canadian Psychological Association
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario    K1P 5J3
Tel:  613-237-2144
Toll free (in Canada):  1-888-472-0657

“Psychology Works” Fact Sheet: Guidance for Psychology Students as Relates to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 situation evolves around the globe, students’ day-to-day lives are being increasingly disrupted: courses have been moved from in-person settings to online formats; visits with friends and families have been prohibited; access to resources such as the on-campus library, student counselling services, or other campus spaces has been lost; some students have had to leave, quickly in some cases, their student residence; in-person conferences have been cancelled; competition and application deadlines have been delayed; internship, residency and co-op/practicum placements have been cancelled or altered; and for some, research projects have been interrupted.

This document provides an overview of Canada’s COVID-related student funding support, as well as resources to help psychology students deal with the impact of the coronavirus on their research, training, and academic work.

More detailed information specific to Canada’s research funding support and information from the funders can be found in the CPA’s Fact Sheet on Research Funding Information as Relates to COVID-19 (https://cpa.ca/corona-virus/cpa-covid-19-resources/).

Information from Canada’s Tri-Funding Agencies

Canada’s tri-funding agencies (Canadian Institutes for Health Research – CIHR; Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada – SSHRC; Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada – NSERC) are closely monitoring the evolution and impact of COVID-19 and are taking necessary actions to support its grant, scholarship, fellowship, and awards recipients; support its applicants and peer reviewers; protect their staff; and modify their operations. Below are links to messages from the tri-agencies.

Each agency is also regularly updating their websites with messages from the presidents and updated information for the research community.

Student Support; Awards, Scholarship and Fellowship Competition Deadlines

The Government of Canada has announced significant emergency support for students and recent graduate impacted by COVID – expanded student and youth programming, enhanced student financial assistance for Fall 2020, Canada Emergency Student Benefit, Canada Student Service Grant, and International Students. Information on this support can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/04/support-for-students-and-recent-graduates-impacted-by-covid-19.html

In early May, the tri-agencies announced that training award recipients (master’s, doctoral, and postdoctoral) may defer the start date of their award, or request an unpaid interruption of up to four-months for reasons related to the COVID-19 situation (https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/42405.html#05_04_2020). For master’s and doctoral award holders, this can be adjusted to align with the next available start date (May 1, 2020; September 1, 2020; or January 1, 2021). The agencies will continue to support training award holders who, given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 situation, can only devote part-time hours to their research. They may continue to hold their awards and will be paid at the full amount. The amount will not be prorated, and the end date of the award will remain unchanged.

Visit the program webpages listed below for additional information specific to the following student award, scholarship and fellowship competitions and what impact COVID may or may not be having on their deadlines:

Other Funding Sources

Students with funding from sources other than the tri-agencies (for example, provincial funding, associations, foundations, private industry, universities); in that case, check in with your funding provider to assess the impacts of COVID on your research funding and deadlines.

Studying from Home

Given the many weeks since physical distancing has been in place, and schools have transitioned to virtual learning, many students have already set up home workspace.  Nonetheless, below are a few things to keep in mind when studying from home:

  • Remember to have realistic expectations for your work and progress during a global pandemic. It is okay if you feel that you do not have the mental or emotional capacity to produce knowledge or undertake research during a global crisis.
  • If possible, set up a dedicated workspace where you can keep study materials and have virtual classes or group chats, so that you keep your studies separate from the rest of your life. Try to remember proper ergonomics when setting up your workspace.
  • Take some time to make sure you have all necessary resources at your disposal to effectively conduct your studies, as this could help mitigate potential stressors. For example, install any required software on your computer or order a headset and webcam for online classes. Reach out to your professor or students’ union if you need support and resources.
  • As much as possible, keep your study space quiet and free from distractions. If you have roommates, you could use headphones (ideally noise-cancelling headphones) to drown out noise. Make sure your space is inviting so you want to spend time there (you could sit by a window or add a plant or favourite trinket to your desk).
  • Contact your internet provider for free or low-cost internet options if you do not have Wi-Fi at home and are unable to access the online resources that can help you continue your education.

 

 

Setting a schedule for school and life

  • Maintain a consistent routine: This includes sleep-wake times, exercise, and work/school schedules. It can be easy to do schoolwork all day because it feels like there is nothing else to do. Establishing and maintaining a routine will help you maintain a sense of normalcy and keep your schoolwork and home life separate.
  • Take breaks: It’s important to take breaks to rest your eyes, your mind and your body. If it’s hard for you to remember to take breaks, you could set up a timer for 90 minutes and then take a 15-minute break.
  • Check in with supervisors/professors about expectations: Maintain good communication with your supervisors and professors. Have a clear understanding about whether moving to online classes changes expectations around assignments, exams, and other academic requirements. For example, you could ask for flexibility on timelines given your current time zone.
  • Stay connected to others: Develop a plan to keep in touch with friends, family, and colleagues. Schedule regular phone calls or facetime chats. Tap into social media and tech platforms that allow virtual group gatherings.

Impacts on Graduate Students, Student Research, and Professional Training

Graduate students and trainees have been particularly impacted during CVOID-19 due to stressors arising from financial uncertainty; pressure to graduate within a given time frame and before funding runs out; managing research and teaching responsibilities; and disruption in academic work and transition to remote learning. During these times, students would be benefit from:

  • Talking to one’s university’s research officer to understand what, if any, impacts COVID-19 will have on any student funding one may have (e.g., scholarships, bursaries, fellowships).
  • Assessing if one’s research can be conducted through online surveys or if one’s research protocol can be moved to an online experiment.
  • Talking to one’s supervisor/professor(s) about working on publications, while not losing sight of the mental and emotional resources required to cope with COVID-19.

Professional Training Impacts

Some graduate students and trainees have also been particularly impacted by disruption to practicum/co-op placements, internships, and other face-to-face skill building activities. Students should talk to their department head or co-op/practicum coordinate (if applicable) about the impacts of cancelled practicum placements and co-op work terms, as well as options for extending work terms with placement providers and finding new placements.

With respect to the impact on internships, the CPA, Canadian Council of Professional Psychology Programs (CCCPP), and the Association of Canadian Psychology Regulatory Organizations (ACPRO) issued a joint statement recognizing the impact COVID-19 is having on the operation of professional psychology training programmes and on their faculty, staff and students (https://cpa.ca/cpa-ccppp-acpro-statements-regarding-covid-19/).  It is important to understand that decisions about training will be made at several levels (https://ccppp.wildapricot.org/news). The first level is between the internship program and the university, as they jointly determine if the requirements for the internship have been met. The second level of decision making lies with the regulators, who will make independent decisions on a case-by-case basis about whether a candidate for licensure/registration/certification has met the provincial standards that are outlined in legislation and bylaws.

Conference Cancellations

The pandemic has also resulted in the cancellation of many in-person conference and knowledge mobilization activities, which is also impacting students and trainees in terms of lost opportunities to present at or attend conferences.  Until such time that in-person conferences can resume, students should seek opportunities to present and/or participate in virtual conferences. The CPA’s national convention will be offered virtually in July and August 2020; check the CPA’s website regularly for more information on how to participate and/or present at the virtual event.

If you had been accepted to submit at a conference and the conference was cancelled, contact the conference organizers regarding their policy about creating an abstract book or conference proceedings, noting the conference acceptance on your CV, and obtaining the word on how to do so. The CPA will be preparing an abstract book of all accepted presentations; below is information on how to cite your presentation if you were accepted to present at the CPA’s 2020 National Convention in May 2020.

Surname, Initial. & Surname, Initial. (2020, May 27-30).  Title of accepted submission. [specify type of presentation – poster, Gimme-5, 12-minute talk, etc.]. 81st Canadian Psychological Association Annual National Convention, Montréal, Quebec, Canada. (insert link to Abstract Book PDF when available) (Conference cancelled due to COVID-19)

Alternative Learning Opportunities

  • Register for online continuing education offerings, from the CPA as your national association or from one of the provincial psychological associations, many of which are presently free or significantly discounted.
  • Explore or deepen your learning of new research methods or statistical applications by downloading freely available software.
  • Learn more about Open Science(https://cos.io/)and the preregistration (https://cos.io/prereg/)
  • Source publishers that are providing free access to books and journals online.
  • Take in the APA webinar (https://www.apa.org/education/coping-webinar-students)in which psychologists Lynn Bufka and Vaile Wright discuss ways for undergraduate and graduate students to navigate the shifting COVID-19 crisis.

Self-Care and Student Wellness

During this time, it is important to take care of yourself and pay attention to your mental well-being.

Where do I go for more information?

To obtain  important and up to date information about COVID-19, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

Provincial, territorial, and some municipal associations of psychology often maintain referral services. For the names and coordinates of provincial and territorial associations of psychology, please visit:  https://cpa.ca/public/whatisapsychologist/PTassociations 

This fact sheet has been prepared for the Canadian Psychological Association by Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Psychological Association.

Date: May 7, 2020

Your opinion matters! Please contact us with any questions or comments about any of the Psychology Works Fact Sheets:  factsheets@cpa.ca

Canadian Psychological Association
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario    K1P 5J3
Tel:  613-237-2144
Toll free (in Canada):  1-888-472-0657

“Psychology Works” Fact Sheet: Guidance for Psychology Faculty and Researchers as Relates to COVID-19

COVID-19 is not only impacting everyday life; it is also impacting faculty and research teams in many ways, from how to transition to online classes, how to work and best support students remotely, how to adapt current research projects while ensuring the welfare and safety of research subjects, and how to pay salaries/stipends and other costs that may be modifying or halting research.

With the transition to virtual education, researchers and faculty are working diligently to protect their research participants and animal subjects, their students, their scholarship, and in some cases, their careers. In the interim, below is some information that may provide helpful guidance in navigating these difficult times.

More detailed information specific to Canada’s research funding support and information from the funders can be found in the CPA’s Fact Sheet on Research Funding Information as Relates to COVID-19 (https://cpa.ca/corona-virus/cpa-covid-19-resources/).

Working Remotely

Since mid-late March, most people have been working remotely. This has required faculty, staff and researchers to ensure they had all mission critical information with them; they were using university-approved security protocols to analyze and store data off-site; and they had a laptop, charger, webcam, contact information for team members and access to any electronic materials that would have been needed.  Knowledge of Skype, Zoom, Hangouts/Google-Meet and other video-conference software has become a must to stay connected virtually.

Maintaining Research

Given COVID-19, research that brings people physically close together or in large gatherings has been most impacted. Policies regarding how to conduct research during emergencies are university specific, and you should follow your institution’s emergency or disaster-preparedness policies for guidance to deal with COVID-19’s impact on your research and career/degree-completion impacts.

Information from Canada’s Tri-Funding Agencies

Canada’s tri-funding agencies (Canadian Institutes for Health Research – CIHR; Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada – SSHRC; Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada – NSERC) are closely monitoring the evolution and impact of COVID-19 and are taking necessary actions to support its grant, scholarship, fellowship, and awards recipients; support its applicants and peer reviewers; protect their staff; and modify their operations.

Each agency is also regularly updating their websites with messages from the presidents and updated information for the research community.

Check in with your program officer

While Canada’s funding agencies have extended deadlines, it is nonetheless important to think creatively about how to sustain your research over at least the next three to six months. Stay in regular touch with your university’s program officer and share how the crisis is affecting your work and how you plan to keep making progress.

Maintain communication with your research team

Frequent communication is important to sustaining research projects, assessing how your team members are coping, and maintaining social connectedness. Consider daily or weekly video-meetings to set goals and/or action items. Reassure your staff that it is okay to not be as productive during these challenging times. To the extent possible, cross-train staff, deploy them to work on other tasks, and if not already done, have calls forwarded to a project staff person’s cellphone.

Modify your research and analysis

With the stoppage of face-to-face human research or temporary closure of research labs, researchers who rely on face-to-face interaction or in-lab work to collect data have had to either pause their research or transition their research to online.  If you are shifting to remote data collection and storage, keep in mind that changing methodologies may you require that you notify your institution’s review or ethics board and potentially, updating consents to participate. Modifications to methodologies in the midst of a study will have to be accounted for in future analyses.

Supporting Students and Trainees

Students and trainees are most vulnerable right now due to stressors arising from financial uncertainty; pressure to graduate within a given time frame and before funding runs out; managing research and teaching responsibilities; disruption in academic work and transition to remote learning;  cancelled or altered co-op placements, internships, and residencies; and lost conference presentation/attendance opportunities. If you are able, help them progress toward their goals and be flexible about deadlines.

Encourage students to visit the Government of Canada’s website for information on its emergency support for students and recent graduate impacted by COVID: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/04/support-for-students-and-recent-graduates-impacted-by-covid-19.html.

Encourage them to visit the tri-agency’s websites for information on extensions for training award recipients and competition deadline information pertaining to the Canada Graduate Scholarships, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, and NSERC’s Undergraduate Student Research Award – to name just a few.

If students have been awarded funding from sources other than the tri-agencies, direct them to contact the funding provider to obtain information on impacts to deadlines.

Stay in touch with your students and have conversations with them about how they plan to carry on their work during this new reality, while reminding them that it is okay to feel that they do not have the mental or emotional capacity to produce knowledge or continue their research during these challenging times.

More detailed information specific to COVID and psychology students can be found in the following CPA Fact Sheets: Guidance for Psychology Students as Relates to COVID-19 and Student Wellness during COVID-19 ((https://cpa.ca/corona-virus/cpa-covid-19-resources/).

Supporting Junior Colleagues

Junior colleagues are also particularly vulnerable right now. If possible, senior faculty may be able to offer data sets they can work with or provide opportunities to collaborate on existing research projects.

If you are an early career researcher yourself, document how the crisis is affecting your research and talk to your chair about potential impacts on your tenure path. With the cancellation of most in-person conferences, seek opportunities to network virtually, participate in the work of your national or provincial psychological association, or participate in other scholarship activities (e.g., online continuing education, serving as a peer reviewer).

Self-care

While this is a very challenging time for everyone, it is important to remember that all of your department colleagues and research peers are in the same position.  Eventually, research activities will resume, as will in-person classes. In the interim, it is important for faculty and researchers to take care of themselves.

During this time, some psychology faculty may have increased demands to provide mental health services and supports to their students in ways that might otherwise not have been expected to before COVID019. Check in with your department and your university’s counselling services for information on available resources for students, while ensuring you have the necessary supports for yourself.

Be cognizant of the impacts of too many virtual meetings and too many emails. With the transition to working remotely, there has been a vast increase in the number of virtual meetings; while virtual meetings are effective at maintaining connectedness and communication, many are feeling overly fatigued by the number of video-conference meetings that now are required to deal with issues that once would have been addressed via an in-person meeting or by walking to someone’s office.  The same can be said of email.

In addition to supporting students, research staff and transitioning to remote learning, many faculty and researchers are also juggling the responsibilities – and fatigue – of being educators to their children who may also be at home.

Conferences and COVID-19

Given the state of the pandemic globally, in-person knowledge mobilization and sharing events such as conferences are being cancelled or postponed; in some cases, in-person conferences are being transitioned to virtual events to enable both the delivery and sharing of research findings and continuing education activities.  This is the case for the CPA’s 2020 Annual National Convention which was scheduled for May 2020 in Montréal, QC, but will be delivered as a virtual event over the summer of 2020.

A poster or presentation that was peer reviewed and accepted to a conference can still be included in your CV, even if the conference was cancelled. The CPA has a recommended format for citing cancelled presentations; this information was sent to all individuals that had a presentation accepted for inclusion in the CPA’s national conference (see below).

For individuals OPTING TO participate in the CPA’s virtual event, the format is as follows:

Surname, Initial. & Surname, Initial. (2020, insert dates of virtual event).  Title of accepted submission. [specify type of presentation – poster, Gimme-5, 12-minute talk, etc.]. 81st Canadian Psychological Association Annual National Convention, Montréal, Quebec, Canada. [insert link to virtual event when available]

For individuals OPTING NOT TO participate in the CPA’s virtual event, the format is as follows:

Surname, Initial. & Surname, Initial. (2020, May 27-30).  Title of accepted submission. [specify type of presentation – poster, Gimme-5, 12-minute talk, etc.]. 81st Canadian Psychological Association Annual National Convention, Montréal, Quebec, Canada. [insert link to Abstract Book PDF when available] (Conference cancelled due to COVID-19)

If the conference at which you were scheduled to present is not being transitioned to a virtual event or you are unable to participate in the virtual event, you can consider sharing your poster and/or presentation through the Open Science Framework (OSF). For more information, see OSF meetings.

Making the Transition: Moving your Course to a Virtual Environment

The need for a rapid transition from in-person instruction to online platforms has necessitated a steep learning curve for many faculty. It is important to remember that although effective, there are significant differences between in-person and online delivery of education:

  • Most adult education research shows that the maximum length of an online session should be less than two hours: attention spans begin to wane after as little as 15 minutes and engagement is challenging through a computer screen. Longer lectures should be broken up into more digestible portions.
  • There are some techniques that can help keep learners engaged; for example, some webinar or e-learning platforms provide the ability to create polls that will encourage participants to pay attention and answer topical questions in real time.
  • In creating lesson plans, keep in mind that topics and learning objectives should be kept focused and self-contained in order to maintain clarity and continuity. Schedule time for a brief recap at the start of each session but keep the path well-defined and easy to follow.
  • Consider adding more self-directed elements if possible; short projects, additional readings, and putting students into small groups to discuss material virtually can add value between sessions and contribute to the overall goals of the course while placing the onus on students to engage with the material.
  • Most importantly, stay connected to your students. If this is the first time you are delivering material online, take this opportunity to learn from your students regarding what does – and does not – work. Maintain your goals, clarify your benchmarks, and be open to learn and experiment.

The following is a list of some valuable resources to assist you in your transition.

Resources Provided by the APA

Staying Professionally Active

Recognizing the emotional and mental toll that the pandemic may be taking on some individuals, others may want or need to stay professionally active during this time. Below are some ways in which individuals can stay professionally involved.

  • Take a Continuing Professional Development course from the CPA’s online offerings, from a provincial/territorial association, or from other relevant professional associations.
  • Create and/or review your individual professional learning plan.
  • Expand your learning of research methods – quantitative and/or qualitative – or statistical applications, particularly those offering downloadable software at no cost.
  • Take the opportunity to read new journal articles; the CPA’s three journals (Canadian Psychology, Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology) are available to all CPA members via the CPA’s members only portal.
  • Subscribe to the APA’s PsychNetGold database through the CPA and have access to the following: PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, PsycBOOKS, PsycEXTRA, and PsycCRITIQUES.
  • Submit articles for publication consideration.
  • Volunteer to serve as a reviewer for one of Canada’s funding agencies.
  • Start working on grant applications.
  • Attend virtual conferences.

 

Where do I go for more information?

To obtain  important and up to date information about COVID-19, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

Provincial, territorial, and some municipal associations of psychology often maintain referral services. For the names and coordinates of provincial and territorial associations of psychology, please visit:  https://cpa.ca/public/whatisapsychologist/PTassociations

This fact sheet has been prepared for the Canadian Psychological Association by Dr. Lisa Votta-Bleeker, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Psychological Association.

Date: May 7, 2020

Your opinion matters! Please contact us with any questions or comments about any of the Psychology Works Fact Sheets:  factsheets@cpa.ca

Canadian Psychological Association
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario    K1P 5J3
Tel:  613-237-2144
Toll free (in Canada):  1-888-472-0657

Articles & Resources from BMS

BMS logoBMS is producing an ongoing series relating to COVID-19.


Psychology Foundation of Canada Webinar & Digital Workshop Series

<img src=”/docs/Image/PsychologyFoundationOfCanada.png” style=”float:left; max-width:150px;” />
<h2 style=”display:inline-block;”>WEBINAR and DIGITAL WORKSHOP SERIES</h2>
<p>A Parent’s Guide To Staying Sane During the COVID-19 Pandemic (May 6th) <a target=”_blank” href=”https://bit.ly/3aUrjUN”>https://bit.ly/3aUrjUN</a></p>
<p>Past Webinars <a target=”_blank” href=”https://bit.ly/3fbuvPk”>https://bit.ly/3fbuvPk</a></p>
<p>Kids Have Stress Too (Digital Workshop) <a target=”_blank” href=”https://bit.ly/3fiC6LV”>https://bit.ly/3fiC6LV</a></p><hr />

Federal Emergency Response Programs

The federal government has announced a series of programs to address disruptions in employment income and business revenue.  Most recently the CPA was pleased to see changes in the Canada Emergency Business Account [CEBA], which expands the payroll threshold from $50,000 to $20,000 to be eligible for a maximum loan of $40,000.  The CPA remains concerned that members in private practice are still not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit [CERB], the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy [CEWS], and Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) programs and has communicated with the Minister of Finance and Health (see letter). In coordinating its efforts, the CPA has worked closely with the Extended Health Care Professionals Coalition.


CIHR Call for Applications – Knowledge Synthesis: COVID-19 in Mental Health and Substance Use.

On April 23, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Health Patty Hajdu announced a $115 million investment in Canada’s rapid research response to COVID-19. This includes the first funding opportunity in the COVID-19 and Mental Health Initiative, Knowledge Synthesis: COVID-19 in Mental Health and Substance Use. Launched yesterday, this funding opportunity will support the immediate health services needs through rapid knowledge syntheses and knowledge mobilization plans for existing mental health and substance use services in the COVID-19 context. The application deadline for this funding opportunity is May 7.

For questions related to the COVID-19 and Mental Health Initiative, please email COVID19MH-COVID19SM@cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

CADDRA’s Virtual ADHD Conference and Research Day 2020

October 23-25, 2020

CADDRA
    Location: Online (Virtual Event)
    Phone: 416-637-8583
    Email: carol.simpson@caddra.ca
    Event Website and Registration: https://caddra.societyconference.com/v2

    CADDRA 2020 is the largest ADHD health practitioner gathering in Canada and showcases the latest scientific, clinical and practical information on ADHD. Delegates can look forward to engaging sessions, innovative workshops and expert analysis over 3 days (October 23-25) highlighting important research and practice-changing science and education from ADHD knowledge experts across the globe.

    Preceding the conference, CADDRA brings together the top ADHD researchers at the 7th Annual ADHD Research Day on Oct 23, 2020. Research Day has become the largest gathering of ADHD researchers in Canada, drawing some of the best minds – and hearts – in ADHD research.

    The CADDRA Conference and Research Day is an opportunity to network and connect with health practitioners and community partners who share a deep concern about ADHD and who are striving to ensure that all people with ADHD have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

    CADDRA members qualify for a 20% conference and research day fee discount making now the ideal time to sign-up as a member and register.

    To register for the conference and research day, please click here:
    https://caddra.societyconference.com/v2/


“Psychology Works” Fact Sheet: Cognitive Disorders and Dementia

What Is Cognition?

Cognition is how people process information. It is the ability of your brain to register, consolidate, store and retrieve information to solve problems. Cognition depends on several mental functions including attention, perception, memory, language, and reasoning.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is the advanced stage for a cluster of clinical neurodegenerative disorders involving deterioration of cognitive abilities with resulting changes in behaviors that interfere with the ability of an individual to function independently in everyday life. There are two major classifications of dementias: neurodegenerative disorders and vascular dementias. There may be as many as fifty different forms of dementias.

Dementia is usually defined as a change in two or more areas of cognition that results in the reduction of an individual’s ability to function independently. It is not a disease but a condition that results from any of several neurodegenerative or vascular disorders. The many dementia syndromes can progress slowly or in a stepwise fashion dependent on the underlying disorder.

Dementia can result from damage that affect the nerve cells (neurons) of the outer layer (cortex) or the inner structures (subcortex) of the brain. The symptoms vary according to the areas of the brain that are most affected.

For example, the Alzheimer neurodegenerative disorder affects mostly cortical areas of the brain that involve acquiring or learning new information (amnesia), ability to perform skilled acts or use tools (apraxia), use of language (aphasia), or ability to perceive objects or people (agnosia).

Parkinson is another neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affect subcortical regions and symptoms include movement disorders (tremor, stooped posture, initiation of movement), speech and voice abnormalities (slurring, stuttering), and attention. There are memory problems, but they primarily involve the ability to retrieve information and less so to acquire information.

How Common Is Dementia?

Approximately 6.4% of Canadians above the age of 65 have some form of dementia but the prevalence increases substantially as we get older. Dementia occurs in approximately 2% of individuals between the ages of 65 to 74 but increases to 30% over the age of 85.

What Conditions Result in Dementia?

Alzheimer’s syndrome accounts for about 50% of all cases. It involves gradual damage and ultimately the death of neurons. The most common early symptom is memory loss that involves rapid forgetting. Affected individuals cannot recall recent events such as conversations or significant personal events.

Another common early symptom is difficulty remembering the names of people, even family members, and difficulty thinking of the most appropriate word to use.

Alzheimer’s is slowly progressive and may go on for several years before the person dies. As the disease progresses, more areas of cognitive function become involved, including spatial orientation, language, and the ability to perform sequences of learned skills. The individual typically becomes bedridden in the end stage and death occurs due to secondary causes, such as falls or infections.

Vascular dementia involves repeated damage to areas of the brain caused by blockages in the blood vessels. It can occur after a stroke or several strokes or brief periods of disrupted blood flow to the brain (transient ischemic attacks or TIAs). The symptoms are variable and depend on where the strokes are located. Vascular dementia can progress as Alzheimer’s disease does, but the progress may not be as gradual. Sudden worsening of cognition, relating to the immediate effects of a stroke or TIA, can be followed by periods of slight improvement. As the individual has more strokes, however, the severity of cognitive dysfunction worsens in a stepwise fashion.

Lewy-body spectrum, along with vascular dementia, account for the second and third most common causes of neurodegenerative disorders. Individuals with Lewy-body spectrum have symptoms like those exhibited by individuals with Parkinson, including tremor, rigid and stiff movements, flat facial expressions, as well as cognitive symptoms, such as memory loss, fluctuating attention, difficulty reasoning and difficulty putting together a sequence of movements. Individuals with Lewy-body spectrum frequently experience visual hallucinations early on and, less frequently, auditory hallucinations. Like Alzheimer’s syndrome, it progresses slowly.

Other Conditions That Result in Dementia Include:

  • Parkinson’s neurodegenerative disorder;
  • Mixed Alzheimer’s-Vascular dementia;
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy;
  • Frontal-Temporal neurodegenerative disorders;
  • Limbic encephalitis;
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus;
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy;
  • Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease;
  • Idiopathic basal ganglia calcification;
  • Corticobasal neurodegeneration;
  • Multi-system atrophy;
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
  • Korsakoff neurodegeneration;
  • Huntington’s disease.

Are Some Dementias Reversible?

Yes, if the symptoms result from some of the following conditions: 

  • depression;
  • drug polypharmacy;
  • metabolic and nutritional imbalance;
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency;
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Hypothyroidism
  • cardiovascular disorders.

Do We Know What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Types of Dementia?

In the last 20 years, there has been promising but also frustrating research efforts to identify the neurological dysfunction that characterizes Alzheimer’s disease. The consensus is that there is probably more than one cause that will require combinations of therapeutic efforts including cognitive and behavioral ones.

A small proportion (2%) of Alzheimer’s syndrome is inherited but, for most cases, the exact causes are still unknown. There are genetic factors that predispose an individual to develop the disease. Not all individuals having the genetic factors however will develop Alzheimer’s syndrome, which has led scientists to believe that there are important interactions between a person’s environment and genetic makeup.

Are There Treatments for Dementia?

There are currently a few medications that have been shown to ease the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease but do not stop or prevent the disease. Examples of medical treatments include donepezil (Aricept ®), memantine (Ebixa®) and rivastigmine (Exelon ®).

Cognitive and behavioral treatments are also used to help individuals and their care partners compensate for specific cognitive disorders. Individuals with memory loss can learn to use aids, such as a Day-Timer or other electronic assistance to help remember things. Well-designed and predictable environments can also help in reducing excessive disability. Sustained care partner support and training in the use of behavior management techniques are also very helpful.

What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)?

MCI is a state characterized by impairment of one or more cognitive processes, but the impairment does not result in a significant impact on the individual’s ability to function independently. The causes can be as varied as the causes of neurodegenerative disorders.

In fact, some individuals with MCI will go on to develop neurogenerative disorders. It is estimated that, after 5 years, approximately 50% of individuals that were initially identified as MCI develop some type of neurodegenerative disorder, most commonly Alzheimer’s syndrome. MCI is difficult to diagnose however, up to 25% of individuals initially diagnosed with MCI will not be found to have the condition on follow-up assessment.

What Can Psychologists Do to Help People With Cognitive Disorders & Dementia?

 The consequences of various neurodegenerative disorders are severe cognitive impairments like memory, perception, language, and executive functions. 

Psychologists have much to offer in assessing spared and impaired cognitive functions, in doing clinical research, and in designing intervention programs to minimize the effects of cognitive impairments.

 Some of the ways a psychologist can help include: 

  • provide clinical neuropsychological evaluations which are efficient and sensitive tools when combined to various biomarkers for the diagnosis of various dementias;
  • providing education to help understand the cognitive impairments and how they relate to changes in the individuals’ behavior and the impact of cognitive impairments on everyday activities;
  • providing training to individuals to help them compensate for their cognitive impairments;
  • teaching family members, friends or care partners, means of helping the individual;
  • providing the family members, friends or care partners, with coping skills to deal with cognitive and challenging behaviors;
  • providing access to community support services. 

 

Signs of Possible Cognitive Impairment That Warrant Further Investigations: 

  • difficulty remembering names of people they have been introduced to recently;
  • needing the repetition to questions or comments due to the individual not being able to recall the information;
  • requiring reminders to ensure they remember appointments;
  • forgetting to take medications – this can involve either not taking their medications or “double-dosing” because they forgot they took them;
  • forgetting significant recent events such as vacations, birthdays, anniversaries, to pay bills on time;
  • misplacing or losing personal items;
  • getting lost in familiar surroundings, or not recognizing landmarks;
  • difficulty recollecting the name of a familiar person and marked difficulty recalling the most appropriate word to use. 

Note: In order to be of significance, these problems should occur more frequently than the average person of the same age would experience.

Where Do I Go for More Information? 

You can consult with a registered psychologist to find out if psychological interventions might be of help to you. Provincial, territorial and some municipal associations of psychology often maintain referral services. For the names and coordinates of provincial and territorial associations of psychology, visit . The Canadian Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology also has a listing service and can be reached through http://www.crhspp.ca.

This fact sheet has been prepared for the Canadian Psychological Association by Dr. Guy Proulx, Director, The Glendon Centre for Cognitive Health, Glendon College, York University. https://centerforcognitivehealth.ca

Revised: April 2020

Your opinion matters! Please contact us with any questions or comments about any of the Psychology Works Fact Sheets:  factsheets@cpa.ca

Canadian Psychological Association
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario    K1P 5J3
Tel:  613-237-2144
Toll free (in Canada):  1-888-472-0657