Skip to content

The Upward Spiral: Connecting Neuroscience to the Clinical Treatment of Anxiety, Depression and Related Disorders

Presented by Alex Korb, Ph.D.

Presenter Bio

Dr. Alex Korb is a neuroscientist, coach, and bestselling author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time. He earned a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA, and is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA. Outside of the lab, he is a scientific consultant, speaker, and personal coach, as well as coach of the UCLA Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team. He has a wealth of experience in yoga and mindfulness, physical fitness, and even stand‑up comedy. For more info visit or follow @alexkorbphd on social media.

While depression and anxiety are clearly rooted in altered brain function, most therapists and mental health professionals are not taught about what the underlying neurobiology. Yet understanding the relevant brain regions and chemicals that contribute to depression and anxiety can offer insight into a patient’s condition and pathways to improvement. For example, physical exercise has been shown to modulate both serotonin and dopamine signaling. Changing sleep habits also changes the activity in key neural circuits, as does gratitude, mindfulness and social interactions.

Furthermore, many patients hold certain incorrect beliefs about the neurobiology of depression that can get in the way of improvement. When patients are taught about what’s happening in their brains they can benefit from reduced stigma and improve optimism.
The neuroscientific approach to understanding depression and anxiety is based on the latest research into the neurobiology underlying these disorders, and how modulating brain function can in turn lead to improved outcomes. Attendees will learn about how simple interventions such as exercise, sleep, gratitude and mindfulness alter brain function and contribute to symptom improvement. The list extends to social interactions, environmental contributions and behavioral interventions, all of have been shown by research to alter the activity or chemistry of key brain regions that contribute to mood and anxiety disorders. Attendees will also learn about how to communicate the neuroscience of these disorders to their patients.

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe how the latest findings from neuroscience inform treatment approach
  2. Analyze evidence-based therapies for mood disorders like ACT, MBCT and BAT to complex biology and scientific research
  3. Apply simple interventions to modulate the activity and chemistry of key brain regions
  4. Explain to clients about the neuroscience of depression and anxiety

Instructional Level


Licensed mental health professionals employed through Kaiser Permanente and psychological assistants performing under supervision of a licensed psychologist.

This CE program is free to Kaiser Permanente employees.

Instructional Methodology

On-line Presentation

Continuing Education Information

Kaiser Permanente Northern California Mental Health Training Program is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing professional education for psychologists. The Kaiser Permanente Northern California Mental Health Training Program maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Refund and Attendance Policy

All programs offered on KP Learn for CE credit through the KP Northern California Mental Health Training website are free of charge to Kaiser Permanente Staff and trainees. Once a course is selected in the KP NCAL MH Training Website, the registration process begins, and it will appear in the individuals KP Learn profile for completion within 90 days.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Those who attend the program in full and complete the appropriate evaluation form will receive CE credits. Please note that credit will only be granted to those who attend the entire program. An attestation of attendance will be given once the individual has completed viewing the program, which will then initiate the final steps of completing the evaluation forms to receive a certificate of completion.

Back To Top