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The McGill Health Psychology Research Group has merged with the McGill Psychotherapy Process Research Group, and is now the Science and Practice in Psychology (SAPP) research group.

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Dr. Annett Körner

Dr. Annett Körner is an Associate Professor in the Counselling Psychology Program and the Department of Oncology at McGill University.  She holds appointments as a Research Associate at the Lady Davis Institute, the Segal Cancer Centre, and the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)

As director of McGill’s Health Psychology Research Group (HPRG), Dr. Körner has conducted and supervised research focused on the secondary prevention of melanoma, scale development among couples coping with cancer, self-management interventions for cancer patients and other health populations. Dr. Körner also served as Mentor in the Psychosocial Oncology Research Training (PORT) program. More recently Dr. Körner started working on self-compassion as counterpart to being overly harsh and self-critical.



Research Focus

Since 2008, Dr. Körner’s primary focus has been the launch a program of research examining intra- and interpersonal factors of secondary prevention of melanoma through early detection via skin self-examination, funded by the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRQS) and CIHR.  Her research team seeks to better understand barriers and facilitators of health-protective behaviours, inherent self-regulation processes and interpersonal factors, such as physician and partner support, in order to develop more effective prevention strategies that promote the sustained practice of skin self-examination in individuals at high risk for melanoma.

In keeping with her expertise in assessment and interpersonal functioning, Dr. Körner is working with Danielle Brosseau, PhD Cand., to develop and psychometrically examine a scale to assess couples’ confidence in managing cancer-related concerns together.

Other core interests of her team include the investigation of minimal-cost psychological interventions.  Together with Dr. Nicole Roberts she examined the effectiveness of a self-help coping intervention as a possible solution for first-level care within comprehensive cancer care models.  Dr. Körner is also working with a multidisciplinary team to develop a self-management intervention for body image distress among individuals living with Scleroderma, a rare chronic autoimmune disease.


Dr. Körner completed her training in clinical and health psychology at the University of Leipzig, Germany, and the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry—Jewish General Hospital (JGH), Canada.  Her earlier research focused on psychodynamic psychotherapy while she practiced as a licensed clinician in the departments of Psychosomatic Medicine at the universities of Leipzig and Freiburg, Germany.  At the Medical Centre of the University Freiburg, Dr. Körner specialized in psycho-dermatological services providing crisis-intervention, counselling and psychotherapy to patients with different conditions of the skin, especially melanoma.  As a liaison therapist, Dr. Körner was closely involved in all aspects of the multidisciplinary clinical practice in the department of dermatology and led Balint groups focusing on enhancing a physician’s ability to connect with and care for the patient.

Research Expertise & Activities

Dr. Körner developed extensive research expertise in the domains of psychological assessment, relationship schemas, interpersonal functioning, personality and mental health.  This background facilitates her current research examining the relationship between extrinsic forces that act on individuals (e.g., cancer, social and cultural factors) and their intrinsic capacity (e.g., personality characteristics, interpersonal competence, coping strategies, self-compassion) to deal with and regulate situations of extreme adversity.  

In Canada, Dr. Körner provided expert advice to the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC), a national agency focusing on cancer prevention, enhancing patients’ quality of life, and decreasing cancer mortality.  As a member of CPAC’s Cancer Journey Action Group, instituted in 2008, Dr. Körner contributed to the development of a national strategy for cancer patients’ access to information and supportive care services throughout the illness trajectory (referred to as cancer patient navigation).  Since 2011 Dr. Körner has assumed a mentorship role with the Psychosocial Oncology Research Training (PORT) program.  This CIHR-funded Strategic Training Initiative in Health Research links Canada’s top psychosocial oncology researchers across disciplines and universities to guide the next generation of scientists in the development of effective, accessible and state-of-the-art psychosocial cancer care.

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