CENTER OF APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY OPENED NEW PREMISES
THE UNIVERSITY, THROUGH THIS CENTER, IMPLEMENTED A PIONEER MODEL IN THE COUNTRY AND IN LATIN AMERICA TO TREAT PTSD: BRIEF ECLECTIC PSYCHOTHERAPY OR BEPP.
October 14, 2016
Almost five thousand people trained in various fields of psychology, 300 clinical attentions and a reduction of the symptomatology in 42% of the patients are some of the contributions of the Center of Applied Psychology (ECA) of the Universidad de Talca. The clinical and research unit, created in 2005, inaugurated its new 432-square-meter premises in our institution’s Headquarters, at 1141, 1 Poniente Street.
The specialized entity, belonging to the Department of Psychology of the UTALCA, became the main center in the country for the attention of psychological trauma. This was emphasized by Dean Emilio Moyano, who recalled that after the earthquake and tsunami of 2010 - and during the containment work to victims provided by a team of its academics – a lack of specialists in the area of psychology was detected.
"It was then that we saw the tremendous need and opportunity to train experts in this field, because we did not have them. It is not enough to distribute tents and water when disasters strike, because that is the minimum. Then, much more is required, and the tasks of psychological containment are fundamental," said Moyano at the opening ceremony.
Also present were the Vice Academic President (s), Ivan Palomo; the Vice President for Student Development, Sergio Matus; the Vice President for Innovation, Gonzalo Herrera; the Dean of the FEN, Arcadio Cerda; the Director of CEPA, Soledad Schott, among other officials and students.
"Our academics and professionals from the clinical area have received training by international specialists in the study and treatment of trauma, so that this unit is capable of giving a highly specialized service, which is found in no other health center in the country," said Moyano.
Since 2005, the ECA has a multidisciplinary team of internal and external scientific advisers, prepared to deliver the best solutions with a personalized and rigorous service to each patient and running project. In addition, it provides continuous training, technical assistance, applied research, measurements, assessments and consultancies, in favor of the community of Maule Region and the country.
"What’s relevant is that the ECA offers several elements: undergraduate and postgraduate training, research and links with the environment. That is, the University, through this center, is related to the community," said Academic Vice President (s), Ivan Palomo.
Professor Soledad Schott, director of the Center, emphasized that there is a sustained effort to improve the quality of the regional population and bring the university work to the people. "We are working in collaboration with several international organizations to win high-budget projects. There also exist recent initiatives, one of these with the Regional Government that concerns the work of prevention and psycho-education with the community together with the firefighters of Talca. We want to consolidate our position as a reference in Chile and Latin America in psychological work in its entire scope," said Schott.
The Department of Psychology, through the ECA, implemented a pioneer model in the country and in Latin America to treat PTSD: brief eclectic psychotherapy or "BEPP", which was taught to psychologists of the UTALCA by its creator, the Dutch Psychiatrist Berthold Gersons, who congratulated, via video, the team of academics and professionals during the inauguration.
The Gersons’ method includes psycho-education for patients and their families to understand what is happening to them, to connect with her story and then to express their emotions.
Schott emphasized that this clinic area specialty in psychological trauma - unique in Chile- was possible thanks to the Performance Agreement in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences in place at the UTALCA with the support of MINEDUC, which contributed to the training of excellence that received both academics and professionals of the Department.
"This inauguration constitutes a milestone in the history of the Department of Psychology because it formalizes an effort that began in 2005 with the proposal to create a link between the Community and the Dapertment, which has been gradually evolving to achieve an advancement level unforeseen by us. The ECA is one way to link," said Professor of psychology Ismael Gallardo.
The researcher from that Department, Andrés Fresno, stressed the relevance of the unit as the country is often exposed to natural disasters. "The traumatic experiences in which our integrity is threatened constitute the main factor which disturbs mental health. Chile is one of the countries that stands out for having bad indexes of mental health, high rates of psychological problems, mental disorders, depression and suicide, which have been rising alarmingly," he said.
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