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?
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.