Dr. Joseph J Trunzo
Dr. Trunzo has dedicated his career to researching and treating psychological issues that people experience when they have medical illnesses. He forged his career in research with cancer survivors but has since focused his efforts on addressing the unique problems facing those with Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses, most recently Long Haul COVID. His mission is to bring awareness to these communities about the benefits of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, an empirically based form of psychotherapy that focuses on living a vital, rich, and meaningful life while you continue your journey to wellness.
Dr. Trunzo is a Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Psychology Department at Bryant University. He also serves as the Deputy Director of Bryant’s Center for Health and Behavioral Sciences and is a licensed psychologist in Rhode Island. He is a member of the Rhode Island Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), and the Association for Contextual and Behavioral Sciences. He earned his Ph.D. at Drexel University, completed his pre-doctoral internship at the University of Vermont, and completed his postdoctoral training at the Centers for Behavioral & Preventive Medicine at the Brown University Medical School. He has published many peer-reviewed journal articles and presented his research nationally and internationally. His has authored 2 books, “Living Beyond Lyme: Reclaim your Life From Lyme Disease and Chronic Illness” and “Long Haul COVID: A Survivor’s Guide” (Changemakers Books), both available at booksellers everywhere.
Disclaimer: Dr. Trunzo is a clinical psychologist, not a medical professional. Nothing in his presented works should be construed as medical advice. All suggestions, recommendations, and decisions regarding the medical diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, COVID, or any medical illness, should only be made under the supervision of a licensed medical professional.
Lyme & COVID psychology (1 CEU)
Summary of Lecture: Psychotherapy Interventions for Sufferers of Lyme Disease & Long Haul COVID: An ACT-Based Approach Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease in the US, with documented cases in all 50 states, throughout Canada, and in over 80 countries. Few behavioral health clinicians are aware of the potential neuropsychiatric and psychological implications of this disease, which can invade the nervous system and cause anxiety, mood dysregulation, sensory/perceptual problems, and cognitive dysfunction. Similarly, approximately one third of those infected with COVID will suffer from long term sequelae of infection that share remarkable similarity to symptoms associated with chronic Lyme disease. There is a dearth of research on these phenomena, leading to unclear diagnostic and treatment guidelines and confusion among patients and treatment providers. Few if any formal psychotherapy protocols have been tested in either of these populations. Given the level of suffering those with these diagnoses often experience, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy offers a viable approach for increasing the meaning and vitality of their lives. Basic information about Lyme and Long Haul COVID will be presented, as well as specific applications and examples of an ACT-based protocol for treating people suffering from these illnesses.
Key Learning Points of Lecture: 1. Understand the psychological impact of chronic Lyme disease 2. Understand the psychological impact of Long Haul COVID and it's overlapping features with chronic Lyme disease 3. Understand the viability of application of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy in treating these chronically ill populations 4. Understand the skills and approaches of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy as applied to chronic Lyme & Long Haul COVID 5. Conclusions and questions