University of Calgary

Fighting depression? Psychology prof to demonstrate cognitive behaviour therapy

UToday HomeApril 24, 2013

Psychology professor Keith Dobson and doctoral student Shadi Beshai will lead a workshop on depression on May 2.Psychology professor Keith Dobson and doctoral student Shadi Beshai will lead a workshop on depression on May 2. Photo by Riley BrandtBy Heath McCoy

Professor Keith Dobson’s groundbreaking work in the study of clinical depression has earned him the highest honour in his field. At a Quebec City convention in June, the Canadian Psychological Association will present him with the Donald O. Hebb Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as a Profession.

Thanks to the work of Dobson and his graduate students, the University of Calgary’s Department of Psychology has emerged as a hub for depression research.

Dobson and doctoral student Shadi Beshai will provide a window into that research, at a free workshop to be held on Thursday, May 2 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the University of Calgary’s Administration Building, Room 140 (539 Campus Pl. N.W.).

The workshop will serve as an introduction to cognitive behaviour therapy. Based on the idea that the way we view the world contributes to our psychological well being, cognitive behaviour therapy helps depression sufferers identify negative thoughts and it gives them strategies to prevent such thoughts from becoming overwhelming.

The workshop will have an interactive component, says Dobson, whereby participants will learn exercises in how to apply cognitive behaviour therapy to their own lives. “We’ll try to give people a sense of how these skills get used in practice,” says Dobson.

In today’s society, these lessons are more relevant than ever. At least 20 per cent of Canadians will experience at least one episode of clinical depression at some point in their lives. Based on a recent estimate, depression costs Canadian society approximately $51 billion per year, from health care expenses to the drain on unemployment. “Depression is an ongoing problem,” says Dobson. “It’s a beast that stays around all through the year.”

Beshai adds: “Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can be very effective in getting people out of depressive episodes as well as helping to prevent the chronic course of depression.”

For more information about the depression workshop and to RSVP, go to


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