eNewsletter - October 2022

Linden Oaks Doctoral Training Internship Program Receives Full APA Accreditation

By: Jacqueline Zierzega, PsyD.

In August 2022, Linden Oaks Behavioral Health’s Doctoral Training Internship Program was granted full accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA). The accreditation, which has an official start date of September 2021, is active for 10 years until September 2031. 

Having an accredited training program not only brings prestige to Linden Oaks Behavioral Health but also improves the practice of Linden Oaks clinicians. Working alongside interns onsite daily expands everyone’s experience as these new practitioners bring cutting-edge, innovative ideas and the latest evidence-based practices to the facility. 

Linden Oaks Behavioral Health has been providing clinical training for graduates pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology for over 10 years. Each year, approximately 12-15 students at different stages of schooling participate in training to gain knowledge in psychological testing and evidence-based therapeutic interventions. 

The internship program provides a yearlong, full-time training experience to students in their last year of schooling, a requirement to become a licensed clinical psychologist. In the 2023-2024 training year, Linden Oaks will offer six internship positions. Applications open in November 2022. The internship program is supervised by licensed clinical psychologists who make up the doctoral training committee. Members include Kelly Ryan, Jacqueline Sierzega, Tawana Edgeson-Steiner, Heather Treat, Laura Koehler, Jerome Kaul, and Jonathon Woodin. 

The APA is a governing body that grants accreditation to schools and clinical training sites. APA accreditation demonstrates that a doctoral, internship or postdoctoral residency program has met the Standards of Accreditation, which prepares graduates to provide evidence-based services that are associated with improved well-being. APA-accredited programs prepare graduates to successfully and ethically deliver psychological services. 

For more information on the program’s accredited status, please contact:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202)336-5979
E-mail: apaaccred@apa.org
Web: apa.org/ed/accreditation


The Effect of Brain Inflammation on Mental Health

By: Sarah McMahon, LCSW

For years, a growing body of research has connected autoimmune disease and chronic or even mild inflammation in the brain to mood disorders like depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder.


While immunotherapies have been used for decades to treat illnesses such as cancers or inflammatory disorders, it’s now believed these therapies may be useful in treating inflammation-related mental health disorders.


When examining brain inflammation and depression specifically, it’s important to understand the connection between the two conditions as it relates to treatment:


Depression is not an inflammatory disorder. Not every patient with depression has increased brain inflammation, and the amount of brain inflammation varies greatly in the depressed population. Patient risk factors are assessed based on medical history and testing, but it is not yet an exact science, and other psychiatric diseases can also present with brain inflammation.


Inflammation has specific effects on the brain and behavior. Research shows brain inflammation is very specific in how it impacts the brain and behavior of a person with depression or other mental health concerns. For instance, inflammation may affect areas of the brain associated with motivation and motor activity, arousal, anxiety and alarm. Additionally, inflammation can interfere with the transport of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine through the body. Finally, increased brain inflammation is also associated with poor response to conventional antidepressants.


The role of immunology in inflammation and depression is just beginning to be understood. While treating depression and other mental illnesses with immunotherapy when brain inflammation is present may be therapeutic, studies are still in the early stages to determine what will be most effective. Innate immune responses and monocytes verses the adaptive immune response and T cells are the focus of much research in determining the best mechanism for targeting the immune system to treat depression.


Therapeutic implications are forthcoming. While there is still much to be learned about the relationship between brain inflammation and mental illness and the best therapeutic approach for patients, clinical trials are underway and individuals with high inflammation are currently being treated. Potential successes have been seen with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), nutraceuticals and anticytokine treatments, but these treatments are still being studied and none are currently approved for depression by the Food and Drug Administration.


Finding more support. Linden Oaks Behavioral Health is available to discuss treatment options for any level of behavioral healthcare, including the assessment and treatment of depression and other mental health disorders. If you know someone who would benefit from talking about their treatment options related to depression or another concern, please encourage them to contact our 24/7 Help Line at 630-305-5027 or complete our Assessment Request Form and one of our staff will contact them to assist.