Research Laboratory on Psychological Trauma


japon-seismePost-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (USA), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after an exposure to a terrifying event in which our life or that of others was threatened. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, research on PTSD has dramatically increased.

Directed by Alain Brunet, PhD, this research laboratory studies the impact of traumatic events, concentrating primarily on:

  • The risk of developing PTSD
  • The role of the Internet in helping victims of trauma, their loved ones and professionals
  • The development of effective preventive treatments

Ongoing Projects

Propranolol: A pill to reduce the intensity of the traumatic memory

An old memory must undergo a process of reconsolidation in order to persist. There exist a drug, propranolol, which blocks part of the process of reconsolidation. Since a person with PTSD suffers from flashbacks, reducing the emotional charge associated with it -but not the memory itself- is a promising avenue. In this ongoing project, the research team examines if the blockage of the reconsolidation of traumatic memories is efficient in diminishing the symptoms of PTSD. Propranolol is given in conjunction with a session of reactivation of the traumatic memory, in order to reduce the emotional intensity of the memory. Preliminary results are encouraging.

Info-trauma: Impact of new technologies on the field of mental health

Info-trauma is an internet site with information, diagnosis and orientation for the victims of traumatic events and their loved ones. It’s also a web site for university training, aid in crisis management, and research for the professionals in the field of mental health.

You can also get basic training in PTSD in French or English.

Alain Brunet’s latest research


Director, Research Laboratory on Psychological Trauma 
Alain Brunet, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and an associated professor at the Department of psychiatry, McGill University.

Research coordinator 
Andrea Ashbaugh, PhD
Christophe Herbert, PhD candidate, Info-trauma program
Daniel Saumier

Michelle Lonergan
Megan Mahabir
Eva Monson
Émilie Thomas-Bélanger
Geeta Thakur
Andrea Weckman
Stefanie Brideau
Isabelle Gagnon


Douglas Institute
Research Laboratory on Psychological Trauma
Perry Pavilion, E-4114
6875 LaSalle Boulevard
Montreal, Quebec H4H 1R3

Daniel Saumier, coordonnateur de recherche

Tél. : 514 761-6131, poste 4341


Psychological Trauma in the news