Commencement lecture Tom Smeets: the relationship between stress and mental health

Editorial Medicalfacts/ Janine Budding Nov 1 2022 – 07:05

Fight, flight or freeze? Evolutionarily speaking, the chemical and physiological processes associated with stress have been beneficial to the survival of our species. And even today, stress still has its benefits. But excessive stress also leads to problems. From mood and anxiety disorders to unhealthy habits and addiction. Professor of Clinical Psychology Tom Smeets will discuss the role of stress in the development and maintenance of mental disorders and the opportunities that digital psychiatry and self-care technology provide to anticipate complaints or prevent relapse in his induction lecture on November 4.

Tom Smeets and colleagues use experimental laboratory research and data obtained via the experiential testing method to map the dynamics of stress in humans. With this wealth of data, it is hoped to be able to determine in individual patients how these stress dynamics relate to the onset, maintenance, or recurrence of psychological complaints or deviant behavior. Using e.g. smartphones, activity trackers and other wearables, these insights help patients and practitioners to be aware of early warning signs so that timely intervention can be made and a relapse can be prevented.

Specifically, Tom Smeets’ research will focus on offering interventions to provide help at exactly the right time and in the right context. For example, an online intervention is being developed that teaches people to deal with stress in a more positive way. In the coming years, Tom Smeets will focus on various interdisciplinary research projects on stress dynamics and psychological care in one’s own living environment through e-health interventions. By mapping predictors of psychological complaints, existing complaints can be reduced and positive behavior change can be achieved.


Tom Smeets (1978, Heusden-Zolder, Belgium) studied psychology and obtained his master’s degree cum laude from Maastricht University in 2003. He subsequently obtained his doctorate in January 2007 at the same university with a thesis entitled Stressful memories: Acute stress, cortisol and pseudomemories. Tom Smeets was associate professor and deputy dean for education at Maastricht University’s faculty of psychology and neuroscience. He received various grants for research into (the consequences of) stress, including a NWO Rubicon, VENI and VIDI grant. His management duties include management of the Center of Research on Psychological Disorders and Somatic diseases (CoRPS) at Tilburg University, board member of the research school Experimental PsychoPathology (EPP) and board member of the postgraduate training institute RINO-Zuid. Since 1 January 2019, Tom Smeets is professor of clinical psychology and chairman of the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology at the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (TSB).

Already in January 2019, Tom Smeets was appointed professor of clinical psychology at the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Due to circumstances, including the corona pandemic, he will deliver his opening speech entitled ‘Stress and Psychopathology: A Dynamic Relationship’ on Friday 4 November 2022 at 16.15 in the auditorium at Tilburg University. The induction lecture can also be followed via live stream.

Source: Tilburg University

Editorial Medicalfacts/ Janine Budding

I specialize in interactive news for health care providers, so that health care providers are informed every day of the news that may be relevant to them. Both lay news and news specific to healthcare providers and prescribers. Social media, Women’s Health, Patient advocacy, patient empowerment, personalized medicine & Care 2.0 and the social domain are spearheads for me to pay extra attention to.

I studied physiotherapy and health economics. In addition, I am a registered independent client supporter and informal care broker. I have extensive experience in various positions within the healthcare, social domain and the medical, pharmaceutical industry, nationally and internationally. And has broad medical knowledge of most specialties within the healthcare system. And of the health laws, from which the health service is regulated and financed. Every year I attend most of the leading medical conferences in Europe and America to keep my knowledge up to date and to keep up with the latest developments and innovations. I am currently working on a master’s in applied psychology.

My messages on this weblog do not reflect the strategy, policy or direction of an employer, nor are they the work of or for a client or employer.

Leave a Comment