Monday, 23 September 2013

Colloquium talk: Dr. Sirous Mobini on treating social anxiety using cognitive bias modification.

The School of Psychology is proudly hosting a talk by Dr. Sirous
Mobini (School of Psychology, University of Newcastle).

TITLE: Cognitive Bias Modification for Social Anxiety: From Basic
Science Research to Clinical Practice

SUMMARY: Cognitive theories of social anxiety indicate that negative
cognitive biases play a key role in causing and maintaining social
anxiety (Clark & Wells, 1995; Rapee & Heimberg, 1997). Cognitive Bias
Modification (CBM) methods have emerged from the basic science
laboratory research to modify negative interpretative and attentional
biases in anxiety and reduce emotional vulnerability (Mathews and
Mackintosh, 2000; MacLeod, et al., 2009). The results from three CBM
studies conducted in the UK, Iran, and Australia have shown that the
CBM program reduced negative interpretative biases and social anxiety
symptoms in samples of non-clinical socially-anxious individuals. All
these studies consisted of a follow-up period lasting from 1 – 7 weeks
and the results showed that these positive effects were sustained up
to 6 weeks period. Although existing treatment approaches such as
cognitive-behavioural therapy explicitly target cognitive biases, CBM
offers an alternative approach that may be less time-consuming and
require significantly less therapist involvement (Mobini et al.,
2012). However, the clinical efficacy of this method for anxiety
disorders has yet to be established in light of disorder-specific
models and individual differences in clinical presentations.

BIOGRAPHY: Sirous completed his doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK. Prior to this Sirous obtained his MSc in clinical
Psychology from Tehran Institute of Psychiatry, Iran and worked as an academic and clinical psychologist for 10 years before moving to the United Kingdom in 1997. Sirous completed his PhD in Neuropsychology at the University of Nottingham (2001) and worked as a Postdoc Research Fellow in two UK leading universities (Sussex and Birmingham) for 6 years. Sirous also completed an MSc degree in Cognitive-Behaviour therapy (CBT) at the University of Brighton and is an accredited CBT psychotherapist with the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies. He is also an Associate Fellow (AFBPsP) of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK). After completion of his doctoral degree, for 2 years Sirous worked in the mental health, stroke and brain injury services and as a clinical lecturer at UEA before moving to Newcastle. His current research interests fall broadly within the experimental psychopathology, computerised interventions for anxiety disorders and neuropsychology.