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The Mindful Way to Well-Being Lab, located in the Department of Psychology at Suffolk University, is directed by Sue Orsillo, Ph.D.

Trainee Lab Members

  • Alexandria Miller
  • Alison Sagon
  • Anna Larson
  • John McKenna
  • Virginia McCaughey

We asked each of the Mindful Way to Well-Being Lab's ABCT members:

  1. What is your area of research interest?
  2. How has ABCT been helpful to you?
  3. If a student were thinking about joining ABCT, what activities would you recommend they get involved in?

Alex Miller

  1. I have two predominant research interests: (a) Multiculturalism and the adaptation and development of empirically supported, culturally sensitive treatments, and (b) Mindfulness and acceptance-based behavioral therapies for individuals with anxiety disorders.
  2. ABCT has been incredibly helpful. I've made many professional connections through the organization and grown in my scholarship through convention presentations. Additionally, I am a co-chair for the Oppression & Resilience: Minority Mental Health Special Interest Group (SIG), which has brought many opportunities for connection, collaboration, and mentorship.
  3. I would recommend students submit abstract proposals every year to moderate/chair convention presentations. Organizing presentations can broaden your professional connections and showcase topics you're passionate about during the convention. Additionally, I recommend getting involved in a SIG that matches your interest(s), and also getting involved in a leadership position. Some of the greatest professional and personal connections I've made in the field are due to my participation in SIGs.

John McKenna

  1. My primary research interests focus on gender and sexual identity development, sexual consent negotiation, and the dissemination of acceptance-based behavior therapy to LGBTQ+ and gender-diverse populations.
  2. The ABCT annual convention has provided me with many opportunities to present my own research, connect with leading investigators, and expand my own knowledge of evidence-based behavioral therapies.
  3. I would strongly recommend submitting your research to the annual convention, joining a SIG, and taking advantage of their internship application resources.

Sue Orsillo, Ph.D.

Sue Orsillo is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor at Suffolk University in Boston. She received her Ph.D. from University at Albany, State University of New York, and completed her internship and post-doctoral training at the Boston VA Healthcare System. In collaboration with her colleague Liz Roemer, Dr. Orsillo developed and studied an acceptance-based behavioral therapy for anxiety and related disorders. Together, Drs. Roemer and Orsillo have written several books, including Acceptance-Based Behavioral Therapy: Treating Anxiety and Related Challenges, Worry Less, Live More, and The Mindful Way through Anxiety.

The Mindful Way to Well-Being Lab explores how acceptance-based behavioral therapy-informed strategies can help buffer against contextual stressors, build resilience, improve psychosocial functioning, and enhance quality of life. They explore how invalidation, experiential avoidance, and disengagement from personally meaningful activities contribute to psychological distress (particularly anxiety and associated depression) and study how prevention and intervention programs can target these processes and help people cultivate the skills they need to enhance their well-being and quality of life.

How long have you been a member of ABCT?

I have been a member for 20 years.

How often and why do you attend the ABCT convention?

I haven't missed the ABCT convention since the first year I attended, in 1990. Attending the annual convention definitely helps me to stay current with the science and practice of clinical psychology and to connect with friends, colleagues, and students - past and present.

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

I definitely use a range of strategies to stay up to date on new developments in the research, practice, and teaching of clinical psychology. Most recently, I have come to deeply appreciate the ways in which social media can help keep me informed. For example, I find it incredibly helpful to follow a number of organizations (including ABCT, APA, SSCP, and the Association of Black Psychologists) and special interest groups (like the ABCT Sexual and Gender Minority SIG) on Twitter. I also learn from participating in email list serves, including those hosted by ABCT, the ABCT Oppression and Reslience Minority Mental Health SIG, and CUDCP. But I also rely on several tried-and-true methods, such as attending the annual ABCT convention, participating in CE workshops, and serving on journal editorial boards.

How has ABCT helped you/your lab professionally?

As noted above, for much of my career, ABCT has been my professional home and the place where I connect and network with other psychologists who share my passions and interests. ABCT has also provided multiple opportunities for my students to present their work though posters and symposia, to organize their own panels, and to become involved in organizational governance.

Does your lab have any traditions? Does your lab do anything together for fun?

The composition, needs, and interests of my lab shifts with each new student I admit and so our activities and traditions have changed depending on the members. Our most long-standing tradition is probably our Saturday night ABCT convention dinner - that has always been a time for current lab members and alumni to come together to share stories and laughs, enjoy excellent food and drink, and nurture our local and long-distance relationships.

What advice would you give prospective trainees?

My strongest advice to people applying to graduate school, and to students currently pursuing their doctorate, is to define your personal and professional values and let those values guide your behavior. As a first generation college student, I had no road map to follow when it came to pursuing an academic career. So I turned inward and reflected on what mattered to me most personally and I have tried my best to enact those values throughout my career. I would also advise those in training to nurture your relationships. My close friendship and collaboration with Liz Roemer, forged when she was an intern and I was a postdoctoral fellow, has brought tremendous meaning to my work.

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