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Graduate Student Presents Research at Annual Psychology Conference

March 18, 2014

KUTZTOWN, Pa. - Kutztown University graduate student Tara Elliot, who is studying mental health counseling in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs, presented research on the use of therapeutic yoga in treating survivors of domestic violence at the 2014 annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA), held March 13 - 16.

The Eastern Psychological Association, which is the oldest and largest of the regional psychological associations in the United States, hosted nearly 3,000 academic and professional psychologists and undergraduate and graduate students over the weekend.

Elliot's poster presentation investigated different psychological disorders that can result from domestic violence trauma and reviewed the use of therapeutic yoga as a treatment for those disorders. She hypothesized that yoga would be a beneficial intervention for this population, since it emphasizes mind, body and spirit integration, but discovered that many of the previous studies frequently lacked control groups, were relatively small and mainly focused on less severe psychological problems within a healthy population.  

However, studies demonstrated that yoga was successful in lowering the prevalence of symptoms for anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia and substance abuse.

One possible solution, according to Elliot, is further research, with larger, scientifically-based studies.

Elliot became interested in conducting research on yoga as an effective counseling intervention after presenting at the 2013 Annual Graduate Research and Creative Projects Symposium, sponsored by the Pennsylvania State System for Higher Education. In the future, she plans to continue with her research on trauma counseling and work with survivors of domestic violence.