Psychological Intervention & Research Program on Mood Spectrum Disorders

Psychological Intervention & Research Program on Mood Spectrum Disorders (PIRL-M) is associated with the UTHealth Center of Excellence on Mood Disorders and Thomas D. Meyer, PhD, is the director. Through PIRL-M, Meyer implements a consumer-driven approach to clinical research in providing psychological treatments to individuals with mental health disorders, contributes to the training and teaching of pre-doctoral psychology interns and residents at McGovern Medical School, and arranges consultations with colleagues at UTHealth, including those at the Harris County Psychiatric Center.

PIRL-M hosts a research team that conducts studies dedicated to goals such as understanding vulnerabilities to mood disorders and assessing how screening measures and treatment programs offered to those struggling with mood disorders may further develop to improve the quality of life of both these individuals and their loved ones.

Meyer and team focuses on the following research topics:

  • Therapist-Assisted Use of Psychedelics. Meyer is currently the lead psychological therapist at UTHealth for a multi-site, international Psilocybin single-dose, clinical trial for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression. The PIRL-M team is currently assessing the opinions of healthcare professionals on therapist-assisted use of psychedelics for treatment of mental health disorders and is studying the experiences and expectations of psychedelic use in individuals with bipolar disorder.
  • Exploring New Opportunities of Psychosocial Support for Individuals with Bipolar Disorders and their Loved Ones. Meyer, alongside colleague Rebecca L. Casarez, PhD, from the UTHealth Cizik School of Nursing, have provided focus groups to caregivers to identify beneficial resources for these individuals. In order to address the barriers identified in these studies, Meyer and Casarez are conducting focus groups for individuals with bipolar disorders and their loved ones regarding the use of virtual environments to administer interventions and supply helpful information.
  • Mental and Sexual Health Status in Individuals with Mood Disorders. Meyer and team have looked at the link between mood disorders and domains of sexual wellbeing by focusing on self-reported sexual well-being and satisfaction in individuals with either bipolar or depressive disorder and assessing how this may affect their mental health. PIRL-M intends to expand on this research in the near future. For more information on preliminary findings of this study, please read this article published by Meyer.
  • Changes in Mood and their Associated Effects on Cognition. The team is conducting a study, to determine how changes in mood can affect different aspects of cognition, such as quick decision-making, in individuals with and without mental health disorders. Due to the present situation of COVID-19, this study is currently on hold pending changes to address social distancing guidelines.
  • Novel Psychological Autopsy Assessment. As Co-Director of the UTHealth Brain Collection, Meyer has been testing the reliability and validity of a novel psychological autopsy interview by holding discussions with next of kin regarding the mental health, personality and general behaviors of the individual who passed away. Meyer and colleague Consuelo Walss-Bass, Ph.D., intend to use this information to study links between genetics and mental health/personality using brain cells.

If you are interested in participating in research, please click here to access our Recruitment Screener or feel free to call our team at (713) 486-2515 to see if you would quality for any of our currently studies.

Thank you for your interest and support for PIRL-M!