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MEET ABCT’s FEATURED LAB

It's time to get acquainted with the people in the next installment of ABCT's Featured Lab.

Bethany Ann Teachman, PhD, directs the Program for Anxiety, Cognition, and Treatment (PACT) Lab at the University of Virginia, Department of Psychology

Bethany Teachman is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of Clinical Training and Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Virginia's Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University, and her B.A. from the University of British Columbia. Her lab, the Program for Anxiety, Cognition, and Treatment (PACT), investigates cognitive processes that contribute to the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders and other forms of emotion dysregulation. The lab is especially interested in how thoughts that occur outside of our conscious control contribute to anxiety and avoidance, and how we can change thinking styles to improve emotional functioning.

Dr. Teachman has had continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health and private foundations over the past decade, and is an author on numerous publications, including books on treatment planning and eating disorders. Dr. Teachman is winner of a 2012 American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology, the 2014 Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Outstanding Mentor Award, an Association for Psychological Science Fellow, and a former Fellow at Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

Currently, Dr. Teachman is director of Project Implicit Mental Health, a public website that allows visitors to complete tasks assessing automatic associations tied to mental health, and director of MindTrails, a public website that provides free online cognitive bias modification training to encourage healthier thinking patterns. Teachman serves as chair of the Coalition for the Advancement and Application of Psychological Science, chair of the advisory steering committee for the American Psychological Association's clinical practice guidelines initiative, and is past president of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology.

How do you stay current with developments in the field, both research and practice?

I look forward to attending the ABCT convention every year for many reasons, including the chance to learn about exciting work in the field. I am also fortunate to work with an outstanding team of students and research staff who help keep me informed. In addition, I skim the table of contents via email to identify articles I need to read in journals I especially enjoy. I also gain insights as a regular journal and grant reviewer. I definitely wish I had more time to read articles that look fascinating (even if I don't need to read them at that moment for something our lab is working on).

What conferences do you regularly attend and why?

ABCT is the conference I attend every single year (I missed one for a family wedding, but otherwise it's a fall tradition!). I also often attend the Association for Psychological Science's convention, both because I often have meetings there tied to different service roles I do and because I love the chance to hear fantastic big-picture talks from non-clinical psychological scientists. Depending on the year, I sometimes also attend American Psychological Association or Anxiety and Depression Association of America's convention.

How long have you been a member of ABCT?

I've been a member and attending the convention for approximately two decades, since my first poster presentation as an undergraduate student at the 1996 annual convention. I recently had the wonderful experience of seeing my first academic "grandchild" give her first talk at ABCT.

How has ABCT helped you professionally?

ABCT is definitely my professional home! When we get a new finding, my students and I immediately think about the chance to share the work at ABCT. Moreover, the talks I've attended at ABCT conventions have informed not only my lab's research, but have also sparked ideas for papers I could invite in my editor roles, and helped me refine our training program as the Director of Clinical Training. The convention also provides great opportunities to connect with other psychological scientists working on similar problems, and, of course, attending the convention is a wonderful opportunity for reunions with former students and colleagues! Beyond the convention, I count on ABCT to be a voice for psychological science.

The resources at the ABCT web site are excellent, they publish excellent journals, and I work closely with some of the outstanding ABCT staff on different clinical science initiatives. Simply put, ABCT embodies so many of the values that guide my work as a clinical scientist, and I am honored to be an ABCT Fellow.

How do you see the future of ABCT for both you and your students?

I look forward to fun and intellectually stimulating conferences for many years to come! More broadly, I'm excited by ABCT's efforts to extend their interdisciplinary focus. I think building bridges across disciplines (e.g., psychology, social work, etc.) will be essential for the field to more effectively address mental health needs. Also, I really like ABCT's new initiative to host think tanks that allow for in-depth focus on a 'hot' topic in the field - it's a great opportunity to bring together researchers and create a space to think together about how to collaboratively make progress on big questions.

Are your students members of ABCT? If so, what has been most useful for them?

Absolutely! I think they have found the opportunities to attend the conventions and disseminate their work via talks and posters invaluable, and it has allowed them to receive feedback from so many inspiring leaders and junior scholars in our field.

For prospective students: (Who should consider applying to your lab, and how can they find out more? Include web addresses for your institution and your lab, if applicable)

Please visit our lab web site at www.teachman.org. We love talking to people about their work and the questions we pursue. Students who love collaborative research and love to play with ideas are a great fit for our lab.

See http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2018/02/anxious-mind.aspx for a recent summary of some of our work.

To learn more about the University of Virginia psychology department and the clinical area, please visit: http://psychology.as.virginia.edu/research-areas/clinical-psychology.

Back row (left to right): Joey Meyer, Jeremy Eberle, Katie Daniel, Alex Daros, Henry Behan, Diheng Zhang

Middle row (left to right): Kellyn Blaisdell, Bethany Teachman, Julie Ji

Front row (left to right): Nauder Namaky, Karl Fua, Miranda Beltzer, Alex Werntz

We have questions for the lab's students. We asked each the following set of questions:

What is your area of research interest?

How has ABCT been helpful to you? and

If a student were thinking about joining ABCT, what activities would you recommend they get involved in?

Miranda Beltzer

My research focuses on learning processes that contribute to anxiety disorders, particularly social anxiety disorder. I also take a large-scale, population approach to study mental illness stigma.

ABCT has given me the opportunity to talk to important researchers both in and outside of my area of study.

I recommend that students attend the annual conference to hear about lots of cutting-edge research and a chance to get feedback on your own work!

Katie Daniel

I am interested in using mobile technology to better understand how differences in emotion regulation strategy choices within real life contexts are related to clinical outcomes such as depression and social anxiety disorder.

ABCT is a great way to get excited about new and ongoing research, both within the areas related to what you study and outside of your research focus.

In addition to attending the annual conference, it would also be great to participate in a Special

Interest Group (SIG) to get to know others with similar research interests.

Alexander Daros

I am interested in the emotional and cognitive processes that characterize individuals with mental disorders. While I have used a variety of approaches to study these processes, the PACT lab is supporting the integration of technology into my research to study the relationships between emotions and thoughts in real-time.

The ABCT conference allows me to explore new methods to conduct my research and network with leaders in my field.

Students should consider going to a convention, submitting an abstract or a symposium with peers and colleagues, and getting involved with the many student initiatives that serve to increase their experience of ABCT membership!

Jeremy Eberle

I am interested in basic and translational research on cognition, emotion, emotion regulation, and transdiagnostic mechanisms of disorder and change.

The convention has helped me learn about recent research, generate new ideas, meet other researchers, and catch up with former colleagues.

I would recommend attending the convention, going to presentations that interest you both within and outside your research area, and submitting an abstract of your work.

Karl Fua

Dynamics of biased cognitive and emotional responses in psychological disorders, and the role these biases play in the context of distressed romantic relationships.

The yearly conference has been extremely helpful in terms of exposure to cutting edge research (basic research, applications, new methods) in the field, networking with and meeting fellow researchers to discuss exciting new research results. It is also an excellent opportunity to reconnect with old friends and labmates.

Participate in the SIGs on topics they are interested in, and attend SIG discussions at the annual ABCT conference-great opportunity to get to know the researchers in the field who are passionate about the same topics they are!

Alex Werntz

My research currently focuses on how we can make CBT seem more appealing to individuals with anxiety disorders. My dissertation focuses on examining attitudes toward how CBT is described, learning what messages are engaging (and for whom), and how information about CBT is best presented on a website to encourage learning more about evidence-based treatments.

ABCT has been instrumental in my psychology career! At the conferences over the years, I've enjoyed sharing my research, hearing the latest from top researchers in our field, and networking with other individuals who are passionate about evidence-based psychological treatments.

If you're able to attend conferences, try to talk to researchers you admire. Although it can be anxiety-provoking, there is no better way of making connections than in person, and those relationships can be incredibly helpful over a career.

 

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In this, the inaugural featured lab from among the many whose researchers, teachers, and students are exploring one or more areas of scientific and/or clinical interest, we're pleased to showcase David Hansen's Child Maltreatment Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

UNL is no stranger to ABCT's krieg lights, having been chosen as the most recent recipient of ABCT's Outstanding Training Program, in 2013.

Let's meet Dr. Hansen and the members of this lab.

David J. Hansen, Ph.D., Child Maltreatment Lab, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Hansen is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Clinical Psychology Training Program, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). The lab conducts mental health services, consultation, training, and research through the Family Interaction Skills Clinic (FISC) of the UNL Psychological Consultation Center. Dr. Mary Fran Flood, the Co-Director of FISC along with Dr. Hansen, contributes to all of the lab endeavors and leads the activities in Head Start settings.

The Child Maltreatment Lab conducts research across various forms of maltreatment, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect. Research efforts include development of assessments and interventions for victims and families, maltreatment prevention, and understanding the correlates and consequences of maltreatment. The lab has developed and is evaluating a model intervention program based in a Child Advocacy Center, Project SAFE (Sexual Abuse Family Education), which addresses the mental health needs of child victims and their families following sexual abuse. This effort also includes the development of assessment instruments for evaluating outcomes, such as a weekly problems scale for child victims and their parents, and measures for assessing parent and child expectations for child functioning following sexual abuse. Related projects examine the heterogeneous symptom presentation of child and adolescent sexual abuse victims and factors that influence symptom presentation. Research also addresses maltreatment prevention in Head Start home-based and center-based programs. The lab's Head Start research investigates risk factors using an ecological model, explores relationships among risks and substantiated abuse and neglect, and examines the program's ability to identify and reduce risk.

How do you stay current with developments in the field, both research and practice?

Reading relevant research literature and attending conferences (like ABCT!) are valuable means of staying current. Collaborations and interactions with faculty and graduate students about research and practice are also helpful for learning updates and broadening exposure to recent developments. Providing consultation and clinical services in community settings offer valuable opportunities to understand the translational issues of research developments (e.g., implementation in real-world settings, impacting policy at the organizational level). Regularly engaging in editorial activities for journals and professional publications, as an editor and reviewer, are useful for thoughtful consideration of a wide range of research, clinical, and professional issues. In addition, working in interdisciplinary teams and centers, including recent work as Director of the UNL Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior, provides tremendous opportunities for broadening exposure to research methods and the latest findings from related fields.

What conferences do you regularly attend and why?

The conference I attend most regularly is the ABCT annual convention. (For those who don't recall, the acronym in the earlier years, when I started attending, was AABT.) I have attended and presented at the convention EVERY year since my fourth year as a graduate student in 1983. This November will be my 35th consecutive year! The annual ABCT convention is a terrific conference for keeping current with scientific approaches and issues in clinical psychology and the many advances in evidence-based practice.

I also regularly attend the annual conference of the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP). As Director of our Clinical Psychology Training Program that conference is very helpful for staying current on training and professional issues, and the association also leads efforts to shape policies and practices that support evidence-based practice and integration of scientific and clinical training.

How long have you been a member of ABCT?

I became a student member in 1983 and a full member in 1985.

How has ABCT helped you professionally?

ABCT has provided a valuable network and opportunities for connecting with others in research, as well as professional issues (e.g., journal and editorial activities, clinical training issues). I appreciate being able to include and collaborate with students in these opportunities.

A concrete example of professional impact is that getting an interview for my first faculty job was aided by my attendance at an AABT convention during my internship year. I got a chance to meet some of the faculty at West Virginia University and I was later told that those interactions helped when the search committee was selecting one more person to interview!

How do you see the future of ABCT for both you and your students?

I expect that ABCT will continue be a leader in advancing and disseminating effective evidence-based approaches for assessment, intervention, and prevention, and that lab students and I will continue to participate in and benefit from ABCT's many endeavors.

Are your students members of ABCT? If so, what has been most useful for them?

Student members of the lab are members of ABCT and regularly attend the ABCT convention. Lab members also participate in the ABCT Child Maltreatment and Interpersonal Violence Special Interest Group (CMIV SIG). Students benefit from the opportunity to network and share their research at the convention, and enjoy staying informed on a variety of research, training, and professional issues through the Behavior Therapist. The CMIV SIG provides the opportunity to connect and learn from others doing work in child maltreatment and provides opportunities for service and leadership. Alumni from the lab regularly attend the ABCT convention as well, so it is also a great place to catch up with friends and former colleagues!

For prospective students:

For more information about the UNL Child Maltreatment Lab please see our webpage at http://psychology.unl.edu/childmaltreatmentlab.

Graduate student members of the lab are students in the UNL Clinical Psychology Training Program (UNL CPTP).

Details about the CPTP, including application information, can be found at http://psychology.unl.edu/clinical-psychology-training-program.

We look forward to recruiting students with interest in advancing clinical research and practice for addressing and preventing child maltreatment!

Jessie Pogue

1) What is your area of research interest?

My research interest is child sexual abuse (CSA) and more specifically how to identify children at highest risk for CSA.

2) How has ABCT been helpful to you?

ABCT has offered great networking opportunities with psychologists across the world.

3) If a student was thinking about joining ABCT, what activities would you recommend they get involved in?

I would recommend joining a Special Interest Group (SIG) that matches their interests to help them connect with others in the field.

Kelsey McCoy

1) What is your area of research interest?

My area of research interest is focused on factors associated with risk and resilience in maltreated children and the evaluation of early childhood intervention and prevention programs for at risk children and families.

2) How has ABCT been helpful to you?

ABCT helps me expand and maintain my professional network and exposes me to research areas outside of my own.

3) If a student was thinking about joining ABCT, what activities would you recommend they get involved in?

I recommend getting involved in a Special Interest Group (SIG), so that you have opportunities to interact with and learn from individuals that are within your field.

Kate Theimer

1) What is your area of research interest?

My research interest is child maltreatment, specifically child sexual abuse.

2) How has ABCT been helpful to you?

The ABCT convention is an excellent chance to network with others and a great way to disseminate my research projects.

3) If a student was thinking about joining ABCT, what activities would you recommend they get involved in?

I would recommend the student attend the annual convention and participate in a Special Interest Group (SIG) to get to know others with similar research interests.

Brittany Biles

1) What is your area of research interest?

I am interested in examining abuse attributions following child sexual abuse (e.g., self-blame, guilt), and the factors associated with these attributions, to further understand the heterogeneity of abuse outcomes and examine how interventions implemented at the level of abuse attributions influence outcomes.

2) How has ABCT been helpful to you?

The ABCT annual convention is great for sharing my own research and seeing others' research within child maltreatment, as well as learning about other research I am not as familiar with from different fields.

3) If a student was thinking about joining ABCT, what activities would you recommend they get involved in?

The Child Maltreatment and Interpersonal Violence SIG and all of the activities associated with the SIG have been great for me because it is an excellent way to network with people within the field of child maltreatment.

UNL Child Maltreatment Lab

Pictured (Left to Right):
Brittany Biles, Jessie Pogue, Mary Fran Flood, David Hansen, Kelsey McCoy, Kate Theimer

 

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