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Brain Changes During Social Reward Psychotherapy for Mid- and Late-Life Suicidality: A Precision Imaging Trial

Clinical Trial Details

The purpose of this study is to learn about changes in brain function, thoughts, feelings, and behavior that occur during treatment for depression and suicidal ideation.

Suicidality in mid- and late life is characterized with abnormalities in the Positive Valence System (PVS). The aim of the study is to examine if exposure to meaningful social rewards during psychotherapy engages PVS circuitry and improves mid- and late-life suicidality among depressed older adults.

Participants will be randomized to one of two groups, each consisting of 9 weekly therapy sessions. Randomization is like flipping a coin and there is a 50/50 chance of being assigned to either group.

One group will be treated with Engage & Connect, which is a reward-based psychotherapy aimed to increase engagement in rewarding social activities. The other group will be treated with a form of psychotherapy called Symptom Review and Psychoeducation (SRP), which provides helpful education on depression and a review of the emotional difficulties one faces during depression.

Both groups will meet weekly with a study therapist on Zoom. Participants will also be asked to participate in 4 research assessments consisting of questions about mood, thoughts, and physical health, and 3 MRI scans.

Total study participation will last approximately 9 weeks.

Key Eligibility: 
  1. Open to men and women aged 50-80 who have depression and suicidal ideation
  2. No history or presence of neurological disorders, major medical illness, or psychiatric disorders other than depression

Detailed eligibility will be reviewed when you contact the study team.

Study contact by location

Upper East Side - Manhattan


Aliza Ayaz
646-289-5271 ext. 721

Primary Investigator(s)

Protocol ID(s)

Weill Cornell Medicine IRB #:




Open to Enrollment

Age Group