Dr. Catherine Classen's research examines psychotherapeutic interventions for women who have experienced stressful life events such as child abuse, violence or serious illness, with the aim of learning which interventions are most effective and for whom. To better reach underserved populations in need of effective psychosocial interventions, she leads knowledge exchange projects that harness the power of the Internet. Specifically, she and her colleagues develop online support group interventions for women living with such medical conditions as gynecologic cancer, type 2 diabetes and HIV infection. Their aim is to demonstrate the efficacy of these interventions and, if efficacious, to make these interventions available to women across Canada.
In addition, Dr. Classen develops educational tools to advance trauma-informed care within the health care system. She collaborates with colleagues to develop such educational tools as an online continuing medical education course for primary care physicians and an e-learning course for all hospital staff.
Finally, Dr. Classen conducts psychotherapy research on the intensive Women Recovering from Abuse Program (WRAP) and the Trauma and the Body Group, short-term group intervention that utilizes sensorimotor psychotherapy techniques for trauma survivors; both programs are offered at in the Trauma Therapy Program at Women’s College Hospital. She has published in the areas of psychotherapy outcome, child sexual abuse, sexual re-victimization, trauma-informed care and support groups for cancer patients, among others.