After being introduced to psychology during my extraordinary liberal arts education at Hobart College in Geneva, New York, I went to the University of Georgia for my doctorate. At that time, UGA's clinical program was one of the first to be completely behavioral in orientation. This was my exposure to first wave CBT and has formed the basis for my thinking as a scientist practitioner. I went on to do my internship as a Clinical Fellow in Psychology at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Mental Health Center, where I learned about psychodynamic approaches to clinical work. I returned to the CBT world with the introduction of Cognitive Therapy in the late 1970's (2nd wave). Since then I have kept abreast of the developments of 3rd wave (ACT, DBT, MBCT, IBCT, etc.) and 4th wave (Compassion-Focused, Process-Based, Meditative/Spiritual, Positive Psychology) through attending ABCT conventions and continuing education. Currently I am the Clinical Director of Cognitive Behavior Associates in Beverly Hills and am a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychology at UCLA. At our practice I (we) see individuals, couples, and families from ages 5 and up. I specialize in the treatment of Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Insomnia, Adult ADD, and Couples Issues. I have a special interest in SGM (sexual and gender minority) clients. As I have aged, my interest and expertise in working with older individuals has expanded.
To read more, see my practice's website: www.cognitivebehaviorassociates.com
What are your personal strengths as a clinician?
I think the ability to think and use principles/mechanisms of behavior change and then draw from the various brands of CBT to provide an integrative and unique treatment plan for each individual.
What tips can you offer to colleagues just opening a practice?
Focus on offering the highest quality of care and the community and clients will respect you and send referrals your way. I am an advocate for a "customer-based approach to client hood"-a subject I researched for my dissertation and was shown to increase positive outcomes.
How do you remind patients of their strengths during the therapy process?
I use many strategies from positive psychology to change the attentional focus from the negative to the positive. I use Albert Ellis' formulation re: "self esteem" as a way to have clients have unconditional regard for themselves. Behaviors can be judged but "holding oneself in esteem" is not conditional. Integrating this humanistic and existential notion is very powerful. I sometimes use the "I AM" experience as described by Rollo May as a way to help clients be stronger. Dr. May used an example of a client with panic attacks who described themselves as "I am an illegitimate child." When Dr. May pointed out that they were no longer a child and it was the circumstances of their birth that was being described as illegitimate (a term that we no longer even use or think), the client was left with "I AM." The client reported back to Dr. May that for the first time they had the thought "I am there therefore I have the right to be." I have been described as a CBT clinician with an Existential/Humanistic philosophical bent-I did my master's thesis based on the work of Victor Frankel's focus on meaning in life. ACT's emphasis on values has brought me back to this important variable in clinical work.
Are you involved in other types of activities in addition to your private practice?
I am currently a Clinical Professor in the Psychology Department at UCLA where I supervise advanced graduate students and teach an occasional class. This activity ensures that I keep my pulse on what is happening in CBT. I supervise based on mechanisms of change and ensure that my students are scientist practitioners. I am active in ABCT, which I consider to be my primary professional organization. I am particularly active in the SGM SIG (I was chairperson in the 80's) and previously was chair of the Professional Issues Committee. I am on the membership committee of A-CBT and am concerned about the qualifications of persons who describe themselves as CBTers. I founded and currently direct the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Institute (an APA-accredited continuing education sponsor). We offer a wide variety of courses, including underlying principles from the science of psychology as they relate to therapy; new approaches (all waves); and working with specific populations and addressing cultural issues in treatment.
Who are your mentors?
My mentors are the scientists in academic settings who research and disseminate findings for our use as clinicians. I would also credit my graduate students, over the last 40 years, with creating the necessity for me to continue to be current and be aware of the newest developments in CBT. They have helped me to be sensitive to numerous clinical issues with minoritized populations.
When not practicing CBT, what do you do for fun?
I am an avid fan of the visual arts. I both make art and enjoy visiting museums and galleries (I owned a gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts, for a number of years). I love to cook and have a hobby of growing succulents.
Where do you see the field of the behavioral therapies going over the next 3-5 years?
My hope lies in research on dissemination. I see CBT approaches gaining more support and familiarity with the general public and medical community. As always CBT will continue to include empirically supported treatments under its umbrella.
How long have you been a member of ABCT?
I have been a member of ABCT since 1979 (42 years).
How has ABCT helped you professionally?
By being an active member and attending the annual convention I have expanded my network and increased my referral base. In addition, I have acquired a great deal of my continuing education through ABCT.
What services do you consider the most valuable from ABCT?
The annual convention and my participation in special interest groups.
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions!
Watch the first in a series of explorations of VA/DoD career paths.
The United States (US) Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) highly value mental health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists. In fact, VA and DoD are the single largest employers of psychologists, and the DoD currently identifies psychologists and social workers as its top two “mission critical occupations.” Mental health professionals throughout the VA and DoD systems deliver mental health care, conduct research spanning the translational science continuum, manage numerous national programs, and educate future generations of VA/DoD clinicians, investigators, and leaders. Yet despite the diverse array of Military and Veteran mental health careers paths, relatively few mental health trainees engage with the VA/DoD systems early in training (e.g., during graduate school).
This panel, co-sponsored by the ABCT Student Membership Committee and the ABCT Military and Veteran Psychology SIG, is the first in a multi-part professional development series highlighting VA and DoD mental health-related career paths. This session’s panel showcases investigators conducting VA- and DoD-funded research of direct relevance to military Veterans’ and Service members’ mental health. In addition to describing their career trajectories, expert panelists will describe research questions and methodologies suitable to various systems, the advantages and challenges of conducting mental health research within a federal government system, recommendations they have for trainees considering VA/DoD career paths, and more.
Dealing with Panic Attacks
The Washington Post offered some tips on Panic Attacks, recognizing them and dealing with them. Experts freely admit that they are unpleasant, but caution that rather than try to escape them, dealing with them in a more mindful way is much better, both short- and long-term. Because they often feel just like what we imagine a heart attack to feel like, some experts suggest getting medical advice the first time so that you’re better armed to tell them apart on subsequent occurrences.
We asked each of the CARE in Youth Mental Health Lab's ABCT members:
What is your area of research interest?
How has ABCT been helpful to you?
If a student were thinking about joining ABCT, what activities would you recommend they get involved in?
Resham Gellatly, M.A.
My research interests center around expanding access to quality mental health care for vulnerable youth and families through collaborating with local stakeholders to design and test interventions aimed at reducing barriers and increasing scalability. I am particularly interested in utilizing qualitative methods to understand how culture and context impact the adoption and sustainability of evidence-based practices implemented in under-resourced settings.
I have appreciated the opportunities ABCT provides to meet researchers at different stages of training with a range of interests and areas of expertise. Attending the convention has helped me improve my presentation skills, and it is always a fun time to catch up with the ABCT community.
I would recommend exploring the Special Interest Groups (SIG) and getting involved with one that aligns with your interests and values. The Dissemination and Implementation (DIS) SIG recently started doing informal online coffee breaks to create space for virtual networking, which is a great way to meet people and think through collaborations. Attending or presenting at the annual ABCT convention is another way to connect with others and get exposure to exciting new research ideas and presentation styles.
Tamar Kodish, M.A.
I am interested in strategies to improve reach and quality of mental health services for racial/ethnic minority and immigrant family youth, particularly those at risk for depression and suicide, who are served in the public care sector.
Attending the ABCT convention over the years has served as a great opportunity for me to grow my presentation skills. It has also facilitated new connections with peers and strengthened my relationships with existing collaborators. I have been fortunate to learn from the larger ABCT community.
I suggest attending the ABCT convention, presenting a poster or paper, and getting involved with a Special Interest Group that aligns with your interests.
Stephanie H. Yu, M.A.
I am passionate about mental health equity and policy-relevant research on reducing mental health disparities for marginalized racial and ethnic groups. My research focuses on the adaptation and implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in public systems of care serving diverse youth (e.g., schools, community mental health settings), and the cultivation of community partnerships to foster EBP implementation and sustainment. I am also interested in examining how risk and protective factors for mental health can be leveraged to inform culturally responsive interventions for minoritized youth.
I love attending and presenting at the ABCT convention every year to network, learn from others' exciting work, share the work I'm excited about, and see colleagues-turned-friends who I wouldn't normally see from all over the country.
I would highly recommend joining a Student Interest Group (SIG) to find your professional home and network. Shoutout to the Dissemination and Implementation Science Student Interest Group (DIS SIG), Asian American Mental Health SIG, and the Oppression & Resilience SIG!
Dana Saifan, M.A.
I am interested in the implications of holding multiple minority identities for mental health, particularly among individuals with marginalized ethnic and religious identities (e.g., Muslim American mental health). I am also interested in collective mental health among marginalized communities, understanding community mental health from a socioecological perspective.
Attending the ABCT convention and has provided the opportunity to network with other researchers and improve my presentation skills in order to disseminate research.
I suggest presenting at ABCT conventions and joining a SIG in order to get more exposure to research in line with your interests.
Anna Lau, Ph.D.
Anna Lau is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Psychology and Asian-American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA in 2000. Dr. Lau's translational research on risk and protective factors for youth in immigrant families and her identification of racial disparities in youth mental health services have informed her efforts to study the implementation of evidence-based practices in community settings. Her research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Lau trains doctoral students in delivery of evidence-based psychotherapy for youth and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses related to Asian-American Mental Health and the Psychology of Diversity. Dr. Lau is dedicated to inclusive excellence in higher education and is the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies in Psychology. She has Chaired the Academic Senate Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools, is a member of the Asian-American Studies Center Faculty Advisory Committee, and is the Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence in the Division of Life Sciences.
The CARE in Youth Mental Health Lab addresses racial/ethnic disparities in youth mental health services, risk and protective factors for youth psychopathology in diverse communities, and the community implementation of evidence-based practices for ethnic minority youth and families.
How long have you been a member of ABCT?
About ten years.
How often and why do you attend the ABCT convention?
I attend most years, these days primarily to take part in the Dissemination and Implementation Science Student Interest Group (DIS SIG) programming with my collaborators and students. I also relish the chance to connect with friends from graduate school.
How do you stay current with developments in the field, both research and practice?
For me, this is part and parcel of designing new studies when writing proposals, writing up our own findings once we have our data, peer reviewing papers and grant applications, preparing for my own classroom teaching, and attending brown bags and conventions.
How has ABCT helped you/your lab professionally?
ABCT and the ABCT DIS SIG have created a supportive network of folks that has been instrumental in helping me form relationships with greats in the field! I especially love the opportunities for trainees to present. I have to shout out the DIS SIG for being so development-focused and always thinking of new ways to lift each other up, and to press for greater interaction between community practitioners and intervention and implementation researchers.
Does your lab have any traditions?
We try to have social events each quarter. In the past we have had potlucks at my home (I'm known for dumplings and quiche - though not together). Pre-pandemic, we spent time together at fun LA spots, but most recently we did a virtual escape room since we cannot be in the same physical place. The most important tradition in our lab is to support each other in good times and bad. Celebrating big and small wins and normalizing setbacks or challenges is so important in grad school!
What advice would you give prospective trainees?
Applicants to our lab should focus on building an experience set that showcases their passion and progress in mentored, independent research that relates in some way to equity in youth mental health care. Many applicants to our Clinical Science program are excellent students and many have shown themselves to be dedicated research assistants, but the applicants who stand out are those who have completed a thesis or taken initiative in developing an independent study or analysis and seeing it all the way through. Of course, some clinical training experience and strong leadership on equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts are also highly valued in our lab.
Allowing Good to Be Good Enough, or Addressing Perfectionism
Emily Bilek and a host of others help propel a discussion of perfectionism, its ramifications, telling it apart from striving for excellence, and steps we might take to allow good to be good enough. Moreover, perfectionism can shift focus from self to others. Bilek said she commonly sees those with perfectionistic tendencies get to the point where it's not just criticism that stings, but an absence of constant praise. To feel better, she said, the sense of "good enough" has to come from within.
It is the year of the locust (ok, the cicada) who have been underground for 17 years waiting to emerge. And, for some of us, that’s how it might feel as we begin to encounter people beyond the confines of our house and Zoom, with pre-set agendas. Luckily, some ABCT members, Larry Cohen and Stefan Hofmann, chatted with the New York Times, which put together lots of tips for us to make our re-entry easier, feel less strained or painful. Dr. Hofmann notes that establishing commonalities is how we connect, so shared experiences are always a good starting point.
And, for information on social anxiety, something more difficult than what the Times addresses, see
Radical Acceptance Can Keep Emotional Pain From Turning Into Suffering
Jenny Taitz, recently one of ABCT’s Featured Therapists, guides New York Times’ readers through Radical Acceptance as a means to better navigate emotional and worldly difficulties we confront daily. She uses a five-step program. In one of the steps, she uses an example featuring Zoom, which resonates big time with us. We’re looking forward to a more rewarding Zoom call.
In summer 2019, the ABCT Board of Directors commissioned a Task Force for Equity, Inclusion, and Access (EIA). The goals for this Task Force were to examine how well ABCT was supporting historically marginalized groups, and to provide recommendations to the Board about how we can promote EIA in our organization. The Task Force sent a survey to the membership of ABCT and completed their review this fall, presenting the Board with their final report for the November 13, 2020 Board Meeting. There is much to address in this report from the Task Force. President Martin Antony touched on the issues of discrimination, equity, and inclusion in his columns last year. I will continue to share the Board's, ABCT governance, and staff response and progress to the recommendations over the coming year. Inclusive and sustainable change takes reflection and time. As an organization we are devoted to becoming more inclusive. That takes all of us working together, being accepting of different viewpoints, and understanding. Let me conclude by expressing my thanks to Task Force co-chairs Sandra Pimentel, Shireen Rizvi, and Laura Seligman, and members RaeAnn Anderson, Anu Asnaani, Sierra Carter, Christine Cho Laurine, Ryan DeLapp, Brian Feinstein, Cristina Lopez, and Jae Puckett for their hard work and dedication to making ABCT a more welcoming place for all.
David F. Tolin, Ph.D., ABPP
President, Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
Stabilizing Chaos: Fostering Psychological Resilience in the Wake of Adverse Events
Presented by Lata McGinn, Ph.D.Yeshiva University
Cognitive & Behavioral Consultants
In ABCT's continued effort to support our members, we are offering a free 1-hour podcast, "Stabilizing Chaos: Fostering Psychological Resilience in the Wake of Adverse Events." It is our hope that this information will be of assistance as we partner to meet the increased mental health needs of our community. The COVID-19 pandemic, the economic downturn, and the racist killing of George Floyd have led to national crises and have impacted all of our lives in unprecedented ways. For many in our communities, including essential workers and those who have lost family and friends as a result of the virus, the risk for trauma exposure is high. This podcast will offer practical strategies rooted in Psychological First Aid (PFA), an evidence-based approach for fostering resilience, helping people effectively cope in the aftermath of a trauma, and preventing the development of pathological symptoms. The webinar will also describe maladaptive coping that increases the chances of developing pathological symptoms, and present CBT strategies that prevent onset of symptoms and help individuals adaptively cope with chronic stress. The goal of this webinar is to support clinicians to feel prepared to navigate the increase in trauma exposure and chronic stress that their clients may soon be, or already are, experiencing. Participants will learn common trauma reactions, risk and resilience factors, the components of PFA, how to apply PFA and other CBT principles during these crises in a virtual setting.
Please note that this webinar will not be eligible for CE credit.
Have you visited ABCT’s YouTube channel
ABCT’s YouTube channel has great information, including how-to demonstrations giving you immediate nearly anxiety-free competency with starting telehealth in your own practice or getting tips on how to teach a class online, or, if you want to be on the receiving end, tips for getting into graduate school.
There’s also a slew of videos celebrating the pioneers who have shaped CBT theory and practice. Profitable, enjoyable, easy-to-digest material.
David A. F. Haaga, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, American University
Anne Marie Albano Early Career Award for the Integration of Science and Practice
Emily L. Bilek, Ph.D., ABPP, University of Michigan
Sobell Innovative Addictions Research Award
Christopher Correia, Ph.D., Auburn University
Distinguished Friend to Behavior Therapy
Andrea Petersen, Wall Street Journal in-house writer, who consistently takes a CBT approach when covering mental health
Outstanding Service to ABCT
Lata K. McGinn, Ph.D., Yeshiva University and Cognitive Behavioral Consultants
Virginia A. Roswell Student Dissertation Award
Alexandra Werntz Czywczynski, M.A., University of Virginia and University of Massachusetts Boston
Leonard Krasner Student Dissertation Award
Nur Hani Zainal, M.S., Pennsylvania State University
John R. Z. Abela Student Dissertation Award
Christopher J. Senior, M.A., Catholic University of America
Student Research Grant
Kelsey Pritchard, University of Toledo
Honorable Mention: Christina L. Verzijl, B.A., University of South Florida
President's New Researcher
Joseph McGuire, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Student Travel Award
Katherine Venturo-Conerly, Harvard University
Elsie Ramos Memorial Student Poster Awards
Danielle Weber, M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: "Patterns of Emotional Communication in Same-Sex Female Couples Before and After Couple Therapy"
Gemma T. Wallace, B.A., Colorado State University: "Personality and Emotion Dysregulation Dimensions Differentially Predict Engagement in a Wide Range of Self-Injurious and Health-Risk Behaviors"
Rachel Weiler, MSc, PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium: "Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy a Good Fit for Transgender and Gender Nonbinary Patients?"
This award recognizes outstanding individuals who are not members of ABCT but who have shown exceptional dedication, influence, and social impact through the promotion of evidence-based interventions and who have thereby advanced the mission of ABCT.
Visit our Champions page for full details on how to nominate and for a full listing of champions
photo courtesy of Geralt
The Clinical Directory and Referral issues committee is highlighting the large number of SIGs that cover racial and ethnic diversity within ABCT:
ABCT is delighted to announce a new partnership with PsyberGuide.
Please watch these pages for an expanding list of CBT-relevant apps being reviewed by the staff at PsyberGuide and the editors at Cognitive and Behavioral Practice.
PsyberGuide (PsyberGuide.org) is a non-profit website reviewing smartphone applications and other digital mental health tools. Its goal is to help people make responsible and informed decisions about the technologies they use for management of mental health. PsyberGuide is committed to ensuring that this information is available to all, and that it is free of preference, bias, or endorsement.
PsyberGuide is funded by One Mind, a leading non-profit organization supporting collaborative brain research to provide patients who suffer from brain disease and injury better diagnostics and treatment. With over 325,000 emerging digital health technologies, and an estimated 15,000 of those designed for mental health, One Mind recognized the lack of advice or guidelines to help people navigate the expanding marketplace of mental health apps. Thus in 2013, One Mind established PsyberGuide to address this growing problem.
In 2017, One Mind welcomed Dr. Stephen Schueller as Executive Director. Dr. Schueller is an Assistant Professor of Psychological Science at University of California. Irvine. His work focuses on expanding the accessibility and availability of mental health services through technology.
PsyberGuide & ABCT established this partnership with the aim of disseminating reviews of digital mental health tools to a broad audience of researchers, psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental-health practitioners who are interested in using these tools in their practice of behavioral, cognitive, and biological evidence-based principles.
In the coming months, app reviews from both PsyberGuide and Cognitive and Behavioral Practice will be integrated on both sites to expand the reach of information on available apps. ABCT will be developing a dedicated app review page which will host a sample of relevant PsyberGuide reviews. PsyberGuide will also link to C&BP reviews on their site, where relevant.
PsyberGuide Executive Director, Dr. Stephen Schueller, said "ABCT has been a leader in advancing the use of innovative behavioral and cognitive treatments. Technological behavioral and cognitive treatments will play a role in the future of mental health care and we're excited to team with ABCT to ensure researchers and practitioners are equipped to effectively use technology to help improve people's lives."
Cognitive and Behavioral Practice's apps are reviewed with the idea of providing guidance to clinicians in choosing apps that allow them to best serve the needs of their clients. Reviews will often cover cost, targeted clients, basic purpose, the research data behind them, as well as quick overviews of their utility.
To see Cognitive and Behavioral Practice's review apps, click on the app that most interests you:
MMFT Review Summaries
Anxiety Coach is an app for iOS devices ($4.99 at time of publication; Mayo Clinic, 2016) marketed as a self-help program for anxiety for children and adults. The primary focus is to help individuals understand and identify anxiety symptoms, create a hierarchy, and develop plans for exposure tasks. The program was designed by clinical researchers with expertise in CBT for anxiety. There is potential to support ongoing therapy, such as to allow patients to provide real-time data when reviewing between-session anxiety and exposure details with a therapist. Whiteside and colleagues (2014) have published case studies and reported feasibility/acceptability data which are promising. Our expert reviewer felt that the focus of the app on helping users conduct exposure tasks is unique and valuable, and the program had good navigation and an easy to follow user interface.
SuperBetter is an iOS app and website that is marketed to help users pursue goals, which can include mental health goals. The app was developed using game theory and mechanics that mimic "behaviors and techniques that have been clinically shown to give individuals more control over their thoughts and feelings" according to the developer, Jane McGonigal, who has authored books on the subject of leveraging gaming to increase well-being. There are video-game features like "power-ups," "quests," "Power Packs" and a "Community" where individuals can join in to engage in forums or play together as "Allies." Our reviewer found a strong development team and breadth of content, but felt the overall quality of the content lacking in terms of potential to promote clinically significant levels of improvement without active or guided practice with real-world behavior change. Preliminary RCTs have shown feasibility, though attrition rates continue to be a concern. Our reviewer recommends caution if considering this as a stand-alone option for depression or as an adjunct to face-to-face therapy without further data on effectiveness and further development of human safety plans.
Sleepio is a 6-week treatment program for insomnia delivered online and through mobile app. The program includes evidence-based components including psychoeducation, relaxation techniques, cognitive thought challenging sleep scheduling and sleep tracking compatibility (with other wearable trackers). Our reviewer felt the navigation was easy to use and the platform engaging. The program has been tested in a large RCT and smaller trials with promising results. The program is more costly than online competitors ($300 for a 1-year subscription). Our reviewer felt it was a good option as stand-alone first-line intervention and a model internet-based CBT intervention.
TicHelper.com is an 8-week online treatment program for Tic Disorders in youth (8-adolescence) based on the empirically-supported Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT) protocol and developed in collaboration with experts who developed and tested CBIT. The program includes evidence-based components including psychoeducation, training in developing competing responses and multiple videos to illustrate concepts. There is also some parent-focused content. Our reviewer felt the program was age-appropriate, appealing and easy to navigate. While the online program does not offer the tailoring allowed in face-to-face individual therapy, there are branching structures which allow some tailoring of content. There is pilot feasibility data on the prototype but no research trials published at the time of this review. Our reviewer notes that the strengths outweigh the weaknesses and the program is unique in the market of targeting this condition and using evidence-based treatment components.
Triple P Online is an online self-help parent training program aimed at reducing child behavior problems through evidence-based "positive parenting practices." The program is available through the website, www2.tripleponline.net, at time of review for $79.95. The program is comprised of 8 video-based modules. Our expert reviewer found the program to include high-quality content with relevant and easily locatable resources, and felt the navigation was easy-to-use and appealing. The program's main weakness lies in its lack of monitoring and adaptation to the user's state (e.g., child's and parent's behaviors), and real-time reminders for desired actions. Overall the program was found to be a valuable parent training resource for addressing child behavior problems by our reviewer.
Psychotherapy.net is an online magazine and video library and production company targeting clinicians, educators, and clinical trainees. At present, the website offers two video steaming subscription plans for individual use: 1) a "Choice plan", which allows access to 2 monthly videos for a fee of $39 each month; and 2) an "Unlimited plan" for $79 monthly, which allows unlimited access to the full online library of over 200 training videos. The primary strength of the website is the breadth of available psychotherapy training videos, which cover several major theoretical orientations, modalities, and clinical populations. However, our expert reviewer notes that the resource is limited by the current absence of information related to evidence-based practice recommendations.