Research

Identification

There is a strong belief that repeated traumatic exposure would lead to increased post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), representing the prevalent dichotomous thinking of persons being either healthy or ill. However, studies conducted in our lab suggest otherwise. Specifically, we show that repeated traumatic exposure might have a hidden price as well as a possible benefit. In our studies, we work with a wide variety of populations including the Israeli police, the Israel fire and rescue service and civilians who live in conflict regions in order to better define these effects and the way in which they are reflected both in terms of the demonstrated clinical symptoms and the individual's functioning.

Prevention

Informed by our prospective studies which show causal relationship between cognitive and emotion regulation flexibility and the tendency to develop and maintain PTSD symptoms across repeated traumatic exposure, in our current studies we aim to use this knowledge in order to: (1) Develop novel neurocognitive interventions applied by servicemen before traumatic exposure in order to enhance their cognitive and psychological resilience and reduce psychopathology development. (2) Create a complimentary screening tool to help predict the tendency of individuals to develop symptoms before traumatic exposure and make effective recruiting decisions for professions that involve different stages of repeated traumatic exposure.

Treatment

There are many alternative treatments that are available for people experiencing symptoms of PTSD. Surprisingly, the same treatments are often given to individuals who experience distinct levels of traumatic exposure. Recent cross-sectional and prospective studies conducted in our lab demonstrate the significant role of cognitive and emotional regulation flexibility in the relationship between repeated traumatic exposure and the tendency to develop and maintain PTSD symptoms across time. In our current studies, we develop novel neurocognitive and interpersonal emotion regulation treatments, while proposing different adjusted treatments at different stages across repeated traumatic exposure.