Psych in the City: Free Public Lecture Series


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April 30, 2008: Clinical Psychology…

Clinical psychology is a broad and diverse field that involves the use of psychological science to understand, prevent, and treat psychological problems and to enhance well-being and quality of life. Clinical psychology researchers study the causes, treatments, and prevention of psychological and emotional difficulties and disorders. Individuals who study and practice clinical psychology also use science from a variety of areas of psychology (e.g., social, cognitive, forensic, biological) toward the ultimate aim of understanding and helping people improve their lives.


Dr. Jack Martin<>

Borderline Personality Disorder: Theory, Research, and Treatment.
Dr. Alex Chapman

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of the most misunderstood psychiatric disorders, but also one of the most serious. Approximately 75% of people with BPD have attempted suicide, and 8-10% of individuals with BPD die by suicide. Persons with BPD suffer from instability in their emotions, relationships, identity, and behaviors. Moreover, they often are in the dark about the problems they struggle with and experience stigma from society and even from treatment providers. One of the goals of this talk will be to present accurate, up to date information about the latest research on BPD, the possible causes of BPD, and the treatments that can help people who suffer from BPD. Dr. Chapman will challenge some common myths about BPD and show that BPD is an understandable and treatable psychiatric disorder.

Dr. Alexander Chapman is an assistant professor in psychology at Simon Fraser University. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Idaho State University, after completing his clinical internship at Duke University Medical Centre. He then completed a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington in Seattle before he came to SFU. For his research on borderline personality disorder (BPD), Dr. Chapman recently won the Young Investigator’s Award from the National Education Alliance for BPD, and he published a book on BPD (The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide <> ) in the Fall of 2007. His research focuses on BPD, dialectical behavior therapy, emotion regulation, self-harm, and impulsivity. In addition, Dr. Chapman founded the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Centre of Vancouver.

Web site: <>

Dr. Jack Martin<>

Enhancing Relationships
Dr. Rebecca Cobb

Most people begin their marriage by promising to love each other and to be together for the rest of their lives. However, many of these marriages end in divorce, and not all couples who remain married are happy in their relationship. Studies of hundreds of marriages and how they change over time highlight some important differences between marriages that last happily and those that don’t. Based on this research, programs to help newlywed couples improve their communication and to prevent the onset of relationship distress have been developed. I will present information about the content and effectiveness of one of these marriage education programs.

Dr. Rebecca Cobb is a Vancouver native and received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Simon Fraser University. She completed her MA, PhD, and postdoctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Cobb’s research focuses on the development of marriage, the transition to parenthood, and intervention to prevent relationship distress. After 8 years living in Southern California, Dr. Cobb returned to Vancouver as an assistant professor at SFU. Dr. Cobb recently began a new two year study with 200 Vancouver couples focusing on how they meet the challenges of newlywed marriage.

Web site: <>

Wendy Thornton<>

The Mature Mind: Understanding and Improving Memory in Older Age.
Dr. Wendy Thornton

Many adults notice changes in their abilities to learn and remember information as they get older. For some, these memory changes may be barely noticeable, whereas for others, they can be distressing enough to interfere with quality of life. Still others are faced with age-related illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, that rob them of their memories and ultimately their lives. In this talk, Dr. Thornton will discuss the difference between “typical” age-related changes and those associated with age-related disease. She will also present findings from research investigating to what extent changes in memory and other abilities may be affected by common age-related illnesses, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. She will also discuss some established techniques for improving memory.

Dr. Wendy Thornton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University. Her research examines age differences in cognitive performance using both traditional neuropsychological measures and measures of “everyday” cognition and functioning. She is interested in how age differences in memory and other cognitive abilities are explained by individual differences in factors such as lifestyle and health.

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