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Robert D. Friedberg, Ph.D., ABPP, directs the Center for the Study and Treatment of Anxious Youth at Palo Alto University

Robert D. Friedberg is Head of the Child Emphasis Area at Palo Alto University. He is a Board-Certified Diplomate (ABPP) in CBT and a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Additionally, Dr. Friedberg is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Clinical Child Psychology) and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy. He has received teaching awards from Wright State University, Penn State University Milton Hershey Center, and the Spotlight on Mentor award from ABCT. He is the co-author of eight books, including Clinical Practice of Cognitive Therapy with Children and Adolescents, as well as chapters, journal articles, and conference presentations.

The Center for the Study and Treatment of Anxious Youth (CSTAY) is a research lab emphasizing a cognitive behavioral approach to childhood anxiety disorders, dissemination and training in CBT, school-based services, mental health literacy, integrated behavioral healthcare for children and adolescents, behavioral healthcare policy, and administration. The research group emphasizes Accountability, Affordability, and Accessibility in Pediatric Behavioral Health Care. Under the broad domain of accountability, CSTAY studies genuine evidence-based interventions and clinical training in anxiety disorders and other psychiatric conditions in youth. Measurement-based care is emphasized. Cost-effective, cost-offset, and physician-leveraging in pediatric behavioral health care delivery initiatives represent the affordability dimension. Increasing mental health literacy, dissemination of authentic evidence-based practices to professionals (Business to Business Marketing principles), direct-to-consumer marketing of EBPS to patients, and innovative service delivery designs (integrated pediatric behavioral health care; school-based prevention projects, etc) reflect our interests in accessibility.

How do you stay current with developments in the field, both research and practice? I utilize both traditional (journals, texts, conferences) and non-traditional (blogs, podcasts, twitter, you tube, etc.) informational platforms.

What conferences do you regularly attend and why? The annual ABCT is my "go to" conference because I consider it my professional home and the conference consistently offers sessions that translate state-of-the-science findings into interventions that help young patients and their families. I also attend the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers due to their educational offerings and opportunities for collaboration.

How long have you been a member of ABCT? I have been a member for approximately 30 years.

How has ABCT helped you professionally? ABCT has helped me in multitudinous ways. First, I have learned tons from going to conferences, reading the Behavior Therapist, Behavior Therapy and Cognitive and Behavioral Practice as well as through informal conversations with colleagues. Additionally, I find the annual conference warm and welcoming which facilitates important professional networking.

How do you see the future of ABCT for both you and your students? ABCT's role will become even more critical due to the evolving behavioral healthcare marketplace. Value will be rewarded more than volume and ABCT's focus on evidence based procedures and clinical accountability will be pivotal. Finally, ABCT should play a large role in the emerging area of integrated behavioral healthcare in both primary care and specialty care medical clinics.

Are your students members of ABCT? If so, what has been most useful for them? ABCT membership is STRONGLY recommended for the students in the Lab. As the students indicate below, the educational and professional networking opportunities offered by ABCT has been extremely influential for them.

For prospective students: Palo Alto University has a somewhat different application process to the Ph.D. program. Prospective students apply to the graduate program first and then in the middle of the first year apply to research groups: pediatric anxiety disorders, CBT for pediatric behavioral health disorders, integrated pediatric behavioral healthcare, dissemination and implementation of CBT, and behavioral healthcare policy and administration.

More information can be found on our website

Pictured: Front Row (L-R) Bob Friedberg, Hannah Toyama, Jeremy Joves, Anika Mehta, Courtney Giannini

Back Row (L-R) Sandra Trafalis, Krista Basile, Samantha Honnert

We asked questions of CSTAY's students:

   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?

Cameron Mosley, M.S.

I study childhood anxiety, economic principles applied to psychotherapy, psychology's place in integrated health care, and burnout in health care professionals.

ABCT has been helpful for networking with internship sites and learning from the current best and brightest researchers in the field of clinical psychology. I also enjoy reading the Behavior Therapist to keep current on psychological science.

Students should definitely follow the ABCT listserv and submit an abstract for the annual conference.

Erica V. Rozbruch, M.S.

I focus on improving mental health literacy among children and their families as well as implementing and disseminating EBPs in community mental health settings.

Attending symposiums at ABCT allowed me to listen to the best researchers in the world challenge one another and have critical discussions about our field. I also attended the internship meet and greet which helped me network with internship sites and directors. Most importantly, I connected with a network of professionals who are passionate about improving the quality of life for individuals through CBT treatment and research.

I recommend students sign up for the ABCT list serve to learn more about available RA/job positions as well as follow conversations about where our field is heading. Students would greatly benefit from attending the ABCT annual conference to remain knowledgeable about current research and connect with like-minded professionals.

Andrea Wister, M.S.

I examine training in evidence-based treatments for youth, as well as mental health literacy and societal perceptions and attitudes towards psychology and mental health treatment for youth.

ABCT provides easy access to cutting-edge research. As a student, the journals and webinars are excellent ways to learn outside the classroom.

For students looking to get involved, I recommend they present a poster at the conference and use the chance to network and learn from the best of the best. If you can't go, check out the webinars series (they keep the recordings online if you can't attend live!).

Rebecca LaPrade, M.S

I look to understand clinicians' attitudes toward exposure therapy with youth, including therapist factors and supervision experience.

ABCT has been important in broadening my understanding of cutting-edge interventions for youth as well as providing the opportunity to network for professional development.

I would recommend presenting a poster and attending a SIG related to your clinical or research interests. I've also found the workshops offered to be helpful in developing new skills.

Nicole Wilberding, M.S.

I am studying attitudes of pediatric medical students towards mental health providers and patients with psychological disorders and how they inform their referral behavior.

Being a student member of ABCT has helped me to stay apprised of important research in the field and provided opportunities to contribute to the field by working on posters that were presented at the annual convention.

I would recommend presenting a poster at the annual convention and attending networking events.

Krista Basile , M.H.S

I work with anxious children and their caregivers to reduce impairment and family accommodation

ABCT has been helpful to me by disseminating information via their website, journals, and at conventions about providing evidence based care to patients.

I would recommend that students consider attending an ABCT convention, since it is an excellent opportunity to professionally network and gain knowledge of behavioral and cognitive approaches across various settings.

Anaid Atasuntseva, M.S.

I look at treatment of anxiety in youth, as well as how marketing research can help facilitate dissemination of evidence-based treatments, particularly with underserved populations.

ABCT has been essential in helping me build my career. Attending conferences has allowed me to make professional connections with amazing researchers and keep up to date with the latest findings.

My advice to new students joining ABCT is to get involved in as many activities as possible. I would highly recommend attending conferences and joining special interest groups. Reading the ABCT list serve is a daily must for me, as it helps me stay connected with issues in the field.

Szimi Mulati, M.S.

I am investigating existing measures and treatments for anxiety and depression for children and adolescents, examining dissemination of evidence-based treatments within the principles of recent health care reforms and increasing mental health literacy in the community.

ABCT has allowed me to share my research in a professional setting and establish connections with other students and psychologists. ABCT also provides great resources for staying current on research findings in the field of psychology.

I would highly recommend students attend the annual ABCT convention and view presentations of interest. It is a great opportunity to establish professional connections with other researchers and to stay informed regarding ongoing research.

Jeremy Joves, B.A.

I explore the development of mood disorders in adolescence and increasing the quality of care in integrated pediatric behavioral health settings.

ABCT has provided me with amazing resources for increasing my knowledge of research and treatment, as well as network connections which are beneficial to my field of study.

Attending the conference and participating in Special Interest Groups in order to connect with others in the field.

Hannah Toyama, B.A.

I study mood disorders in children and adolescents and psychosocial adjustment in children with chronic illness, specifically cancer.

ABCT has been helpful for me to network with other researchers and learn about research that will be relevant in my future practices.

I would recommend getting involved in presenting a poster, attending symposium talks, and networking to expand your brand in the field.

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