Welcome to the emotion and sensation research group.
Dr. Ephrem Fernandez has two main areas of scholarly interest. The first is Medical Psychology or what is often called health psychology. The second is the study of emotions, moods, and temperament, as in the field of Affective Science.
Within medical psychology, Dr. Fernandez’s publications have focused on pain, a universal phenomenon, now regarded by some clinicians as a fifth vital sign, and always a challenge for scholars of the mind. One path of inquiry pursued in his lab group is the language of pain and the clues it holds for underlying pathophysiology and diagnoses of pain syndromes. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Fernandez’s research has led to publications on the pain lexicon and how it can be used to assess both sensory and emotional components of clinical pain.
In affective science, Dr. Fernandez’s lab has called attention to a core of negative affect comprising anxiety, depression, and anger. Most publications from Dr. Fernandez’s lab group have dealt with anger as a ubiquitous experience in everyday life but also as a disorder that can be detrimental to the self and to others. Dr. Fernandez’s lab has published on (i) psychopathology of anger, (ii) the assessment of anger, and (iii) the treatment of anger using a new program of Cognitive Behavioral Affective Therapy (CBAT). Elements of this research have been funded by the Guggenheim Foundation, and was featured in Dr. Fernandez’s workshops on anger regulation or what is popularly called “anger management”.
In research and in teaching, Dr. Fernandez sees various medical and psychological disorders as influenced by certain principles of psychosomatics. These go well beyond mere conjunction of psyche and some to what Dr. Fernandez calls “dynamic interactions” between physical symptoms and affective variables. In the treatment of functional disorders Dr. Fernandez’s lab draws selectively from different schools of therapy (behavioral, cognitive, and experiential), while also looking closely at the relationship between process and outcome in psychotherapy.
With the aid of many fine colleagues and students as well as patients all over the world, Dr. Fernandez’s goal remains to address important problems and prospects for improvement in the human condition. Dr. Fernandez’s lab group knows this won’t bring humans immortality or nirvana but it is likely to make one healthier and happier.
Ephrem Fernandez, Ph.D.