Meet our students: Andrea Putica

Clinical psychologist Andrea Putica is undertaking a PhD to become a better clinician.

Portrait of Andrea Putica

Supervisors: Professor Kim Felmingham & Associate Professor Nicholas Van Dam

1. Tell us briefly about your research areas of interest, what prompted you to do a PhD in this area?

I’m interested in burgeoning advances in affective sciences and how they can better inform our understanding of psychopathology and enhance psychological treatments. Specifically, I’m interested in emotion theory, alexithymia and interoception. I decided to do a PhD to become a scientist-practitioner and, ultimately, a better clinician.

2. Tell us about your PhD project. What is it about? What did you/do you hope to find?

My research project aims to explore affective mechanisms that impact treatment outcomes for trauma-focused treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. I was hoping to find specific emotion response profiles which may help us identify those at risk of treatment non-response and how to augment already established treatments to enhance outcomes for these at-risk people. So far, we have found that those presenting with alexithymia and PTSD have a specific way of processing emotional stimuli, which impacts their level of trait avoidance, anticipatory emotion regulation and engagement with fear memories. We are about to explore how these mechanisms may underpin treatment response.

3. What is the most valuable thing that you have learned so far from doing a PhD at UoM?

Continue to be curious, critical and flexible. Becoming a good researcher is an ongoing process, not an outcome.