Dept of Psychology Research Laboratories

Cardiac Psychology Lab

East Carolina Heart Institute

ECU Cardiac Psychology | Information for Patients

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Information for Patients

Dr. Sears and the East Carolina Cardiac Psychology Research Team specialize in working with patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). People with ICDs are a special population whose psychosocial needs may go unaddressed by their medical providers. Members of the East Carolina Cardiac Psychology Lab are specially trained to help cardiac patients who are coping with life-changing diagnoses, devices, or other events that may cause feelings of emotional discomfort. One of our main goals of the lab is to help patients improve their quality of life. We emphasize that patients are survivors, not victims.

Sometimes the best way to help yourself is to ask for help.

How we can help patients and their families?
The mind and body are connected like a two-way highway: What's going on in your mind (emotions) affects your body (illness) and what's going on in your body affects your mind. The services we offer allow us to focus on the whole person.

We address illness from the "biopsychosocial" model:

BIO (the body)
  • help with cardiac-related behavior change (e.g. smoking)
  • pain management
  • relaxation strategies
PSYCHO (the mind)
  • individual psychotherapy
  • stress management
  • mood changes (anxiety and depression)
  • device and disease related education
  • coping with major life changes
SOCIAL (interacting with others)
  • increasing social support
  • group therapy
  • adjusting to lifestyle changes