Samuelson Lab in Traumatic Stress Research

three women

Samuelson Lab for Traumatic Stress Research

Dr. Kristi Samuelson is an Assistant Professor at UCCS and Associate Director of Clinical Training.  Dr. Samuelson teaches primarily in the graduate clinical psychology program, trauma track.  She will likely be accepting one PhD student in to her lab for Fall 2019 and at least one MA student. 

Dr. Samuelson's research has specialized in the field of trauma psychology since 2001, with much of her work surrounding neuropsychological functioning in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Her early work documented neuropsychological deficits in adults and children with PTSD, and more recent work involves the development and testing of interventions targeting neurocognitive processes.  In addition, she is interested in the disconnect between a patient’s appraisals of his or her cognitive deficits when compared to objective neurocognitive performance.  Dr. Samuelson has expanded her work on neuropsychological functioning and PTSD to involve the comorbid diagnoses of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and chronic pain.  The lab is currently developing a web-based training program for primary care providers in the  assessment and management of mTBI. 

Dr. Samuelson is particularly interested in the notion of cognitive resilience – the building of cognitive skills to both buffer and protect against the effects of stress and trauma.   She and her students developed a cognitive resilience program entitled Integrated Brain-Body Training (IBBT) and are partnering with the Colorado Springs Police Department to implement it in their training academy.

The lab members are broadly interested in neurocognitive markers that underlie trauma symptoms and recovery processes.  For example, lab members examine the role of psychological flexibility in complex PTSD, the role of executive functioning in risk taking behavior in PTSD, and the relationship between the trauma memory narrative and generalized neuropsychological functioning.  The ultimate goal is to develop adjunctive or precursor interventions to support  recovery via evidence-based interventions for PTSD