Welcome to Dr. Paul Frewen's MEDITATIONS Research Lab in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at Western University of Canada!!
Our recent research aims span the development of web-based psychological assessment, web-based instruction and practice of meditation, EEG neurofeedback (NFB) guided meditation, combination brain stimulation and NFB treatment, and combination virtual reality therapy and NFB treatment.
Much of our overall approach to research and clinical practice with traumatized persons is described in our text Healing the Traumatized Self, with forwards by David Spiegel and Bessel van der Kolk.
From the inside cover: People with severe and chronic trauma-related psychological disorders experience a wide variety of forms of distress and dissociation. Here, Paul Frewen and Ruth Lanius present a new model for parsing the symptoms of trauma-related disorders into non-dissociative distress and properly dissociative "trauma-related altered states of conscioussness," or TRASC...tracking concurrent disturbances in 1) time-memory, 2) thought, 3) body, and 4) emotion. The forms of TRASC they identify include: 1) flashbacks of trauma memories, 2) voice-hearing, 3) depersonalization, and 4) marked emotional numbing and affective shut-down... Healing the Traumatized Self is a major step forward in our theoretical understanding of the consciousness of posttraumatic experience and clinical attention to its complex symptomatology.
Childhood Attachment and Relational Trauma Screen (CARTS) is an instance of what we call a "relationally-contextualized" survey methodology that seeks to understand psychosocial history from a socioecological and especially relational perspective.
Example reference: Frewen, P. A., Brown, M., DePierro, J., D'Andrea, W., and Schore, A. (2015). Assessing the Family Dynamics of Childhood Maltreatment History with the Childhood Attachment and Relational Trauma Screen (CARTS). European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 6, 27792. doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v6.27792
Perceived Causal Relations (PCR) is a survey methodology that assesses whether participants perceive a causal interrelationship between the different psychological problems they experience.
Example reference: Frewen, P. A., Schmittmann, V. D., Bringmann, L. F., and Borsboom, D. (2013). Perceived causal relations between anxiety, posttraumatic stress and depression: Extension to moderation, mediation, and network analysis. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 4, 20656. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.20656
Mindfulness & Metta-based Trauma Therapy (MMTT) is a collection of online interventions, including guided meditation practices and reflective exercises, intended for the benefit of persons experiencing trauma and stressor-related disorders.
Example reference: Frewen, P., Rogers, N., Flodrowski, L., and Lanius, R.. (2015). Mindfulness and Metta-based Trauma Therapy (MMTT): Initial development and proof-of-concept of an internet resource. Mindfulness, 6, 1322-1334. doi: 10.1007/s12671-015-0402-y
Meditation Breath Attention Score (MBAS) is a scoring procedure by which one can assess their degree of focused attention (concentration) during meditation practice, for example, degree of attention to vs. distraction from an awareness of breathing.
Example reference: Frewen, P., Hargraves, H., DePierro, J., D'Andrea, W., and Flodrowski, L. (2016). Meditation Breath Attention Scores (MBAS): Development and investigation of an internet-based assessment of focused attention during meditation practice. Psychological Assessment, 28(7), 830–840. https://doi.org/10.1037/pas0000283.
Self-referential Processing Tasks are designed to assess a person's experience of themselves including verbally (in mind) and non-verbally (in body).
Example reference: Frewen, P. A. et al. (2020). Neuroimaging the consciousness of self: Review, and conceptual-methodological framework. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 112, 164-212. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.01.023
Meditation/Medicine-Integrated Neurofeedback Design (MIND) is our research program wherein we have compared the effects of neurofeedback (NFB) and mindfulness meditation (MM), as well as NFB-guided and unguided MM practices. Our goal is also to integrate the effects of certain psychological medicines on the EEG as a further means of self-regulating the brain and experience in tandem.
Virtual Reality Integrative Therapy (VRIT) is a conceptual framework for using VR in psychotherapy. Beyond only using VR in exposure therapy, we propose VR as a vivid, egocentric, immersive medium for delivering psychological interventions more generally.
Example reference: Frewen P, Mistry D, Zhu J, Kielt T, Wekerle C, Lanius RA, and Jetly R. (2020) Proof of concept of an eclectic, integrative therapeutic approach to mental health and well-being through virtual reality technology. Frontiers in Psychology, 11858. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.0085
Trauma-Related Altered States of Consciousness (TRASC) are dissociative experiences often reported by traumatized persons including those with the dissociative subtype of PTSD. Our 4-D model of trauma-related dissociation, described in Healing the Traumatized Self, describes 4 dimensions of TRASC referring to the neurophenomenology of our experience of time, thought, our body, and emotion.
Example reference: Frewen, P.A., and Lanius, R.A. (2014). Trauma-Related Altered States of Consciousness (TRASC): Exploring the 4-D Model. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 15, 436-456. doi: 10.1080/15299732.2013.873377