Laura Fieser


Integrating Exercise and Psychology: A Novel Approach to Combatting Depression


This project seeks to address this need by developing and proposing a practical, evidence-based exercise program specifically designed for adults suffering from clinical depression. Primary research was examined to determine specifics of the exercise model F.I.T.T (frequency, duration, intensity, and type), and how it can be applied as a treatment for depression. Through a thorough examination of the physiological and psychological mechanisms, such as the regulation of mood-related neurotransmitters, promotion of neuroplasticity, and improvement of self-esteem and cognitive function, this exercise initiative advocates for a holistic approach to depression treatment. The project aims to overcome the limitations and side effects of conventional treatments by offering an effective exercise program that is adaptable, enjoyable, and sustainable for clinically depressed clients and can be prescribed by non-fitness professionals. It supports a client-centered methodology, encouraging a collaborative effort between the therapists and client in adapting exercise recommendations. By providing a flexible implementation timeline, this original program aspires to enhance mental health outcomes significantly, offering a promising addition to existing depression treatments and potentially benefiting individuals and communities on a large scale.


Laura Fieser is an accomplished professional in the fields of social work, mental health and fitness, with a healthy educational background and experience in clinical and scholastic settings. Laura has focused her career to helping individuals of all ages achieve their fullest potential, both mentally and physically.Laura will earn her Doctorate in Social Work (D.S.W.) from the University of Kentucky in 2024. Her Capstone project is titled “Integrating Exercise and Psychology: A Novel Approach to Combatting Depression.” She is creating an evidence-based exercise model that is effective for people with depression. She has a Master of Science in Social Work concentrating in Organizational Leadership from UT Knoxville, a Master of Science in Education concentrating in Mental Health from UT Martin, and dual Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Social Work from UT Martin.

Laura is working as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with TeamHealth in Knoxville, TN, since 2022, and with iMind Mental Health and Wellness in Jackson, TN, since 2020 where she provides mental health counseling to nursing home residents. She was a school based mental health counselor and Social Worker at Unity Psychiatric Care Hospital in Martin, and an Instructor at UT Martin’s Department of Health and Human Performance since 2008. Laura holds licenses and certifications from the QPR Institute and National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners and the Red Cross.
Laura’s work in social work and fitness has positively impacted countless individuals. She is dedicated to personal and community wellness, academia and mental health.