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Featured Therapist Interview with Erica Rozmid
Erica Rozmid, Ph.D. (she/her) is Founder of Clarity CBT & DBT Center, a therapy, training, and consultation practice. As a Clinical Psychologist, she specializes in working with children, adolescents, parents, and adults using evidence-based therapies (CBT; DBT; DBT-C; HRT; PMT; SPACE). Based in Los Angeles, she also provides virtual therapy to residents of California, Colorado, and Rhode Island. She has been trained by international experts in anxiety disorders including selective mutism, OCD, separation anxiety, and body focused repetitive behaviors, as well as depressive disorders, including suicidality, self-harm, and emotion dysregulation. As a certified CBT therapist by the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, Dr. Rozmid continues to prioritize offering adherent evidence-based therapies while making therapy fun and interactive for youth. Due to her own experience with baby loss, she is beginning to work within the perinatal mental health loss community and plans to adapt behavioral therapies for this population.
First, we would like to know a little about your practice.
What are your personal strengths as a practitioner?
“You’re the first therapist out of the previous 10 to actually help me.” I have heard this quote (or something like it) quite a few times. I actually help, rather than just listen, by utilizing therapies that are proven to work!
I also truly believe in my patient’s ability to change/improve and am committed to implementing evidence-based therapies. These qualities set me (and this community) apart from most clinicians. I cheerlead my patients while challenging them to engage in their worst fears and most emotionally demanding behaviors. I have been told that my optimism, authenticity, and interventions, are what my patients appreciate.
What “tips” can you offer to colleagues just opening a practice?
If you are thinking about it, just do it! Imposter syndrome likely never fades, and you can continue to act in alignment with your values while having the worry thoughts and tolerating the uncertainty. Other than the typical logistics of finding a referral network, utilizing CBT, and setting up the business, I believe we need to focus more on marketing. Create a website with a clear message, give away free information (like writing a blog), and offer 15-minute free consultations so you can sell yourself.
On a side note- graduate schools should teach marketing skills, including how to price our services. Since insurance reimbursement is quite low, I always wonder who determines the hourly fees of our field and how we can continue to set appropriate and reasonable fees so that all of us can sustain our livelihoods and pay off student loan debt.
We would also like to know a little about you personally.
Who was your mentor?
Dr. Robert Friedberg was, and continues to be, my mentor. In graduate school, he taught me so much about research, evidence-based treatments, and working with youth. I remember him telling me that if I felt confused on what to do in the therapy room “don’t go rouge!” and that I can always rely on the behavioral principles to make clinically informed decisions. He also instilled in me how to make CBT therapy fun for youth.
We are now in the process of finalizing our book for clinicians (with invited chapters from expert clinicians and researchers across the nation), “Creative CBT with Youth: Clinical Applications Using Humor, Play, Superheroes, and Improvisation”.
When not practicing CBT, what do you do for fun?
Outside of my clinical work, I strive to be outdoors. In Southern California, I am lucky to live a couple miles from the beach and a few hours from the mountains. I enjoy taking my dog to the dog park, hanging out and bike riding by the beach, and skiing during the winter. After the pandemic, I look forward to traveling internationally again.
We are also interested in some of your views of CBT.
What do you think is the single most important thing CBT can do for your clients?
This is a hard question to answer as there are many factors. Dr. Michelle Craske’s inhibitory learning model has been ground-breaking for my anxious patients. Teaching patients that I don’t care whether their anxiety lowers during an exposure is freeing in a lot of ways. Even if their anxiety is still heightened, they are confident that they are learning a new pathway and that they can do hard things! It’s also a plus when after a couple exposures they report lessened anxiety as well as strengthening this new pathway.
For my depressed and suicidal patients, CBT and behaviorally based therapies help my patients work toward a life that they want to live. I am sometimes the 13th or 14th therapist for a patient after years and years of unsuccessful talk therapy. I love seeing my patients experience “aha” moments as they use skills, challenge their negative thoughts, and increase acceptance. CBT really works!
How do you use the local or social media to educate your community on the benefits of CBT?
With a very modest following, I do have an Instagram account @dr.rozmid. I post about evidence-based therapies and each month I highlight a different manual or self-help book that is based in behavioral therapy. Further, I am a huge proponent of increasing our community’s mental health literacy. I have a blog on my website that I share with others and have given various presentations over the years (USC Physician Assistant Program; Just Keep Livin Foundation; Campbell Hall School; various podcasts such as “Sanity,” “Help Keep a Life,” “Time to Talk TFMR,” etc).
After losing my baby at 6 months pregnant due to a Termination for Medical Reasons, I have seen a huge gap in mental health resources. I created a separate Instagram account (@TFMRpsychologist) and generated a community of followers to help others feel less alone. My next plan is to create therapist trainings on a 12-week protocol, using CBT and DBT principles to help this population.
Finally, we would like to know your opinions about ABCT.
How long have you been a member of ABCT?
I have been a member of ABCT since 2014!
How has ABCT helped you professionally?
Networking at the convention! Over the years and through my training, I have picked up colleagues along the way. As a first time attendee at ABCT, I was a third-year graduate student and quite nervous at first: “Who do I sit with at the presentations” and “Who do I eat lunch with?”
Years later, ABCT has served as a way to reconnect with my colleagues that I have had the honor to train or work with around the country. Plus, I love learning and always look forward to seeking out new workshops and symposiums that haven’t been featured in the past.
Further, the last in-person convention was a favorite. Dr. Friedberg and I met with Springer Publishing at the ABCT 2019 Annual Convention and now our book is almost complete!
What services do you consider the most valuable from ABCT?
ABCT has been an extremely valuable resource to me as a clinician, graduate student, and trainee. ABCT has been my home base- whether it’s the list serve [now the Forums], finding out about clinical job opportunities, or networking at the annual convention. While I rarely post in the list serve, I appreciate the rich clinical discussions and controversies that arise. Personally, I benefit most from the annual convention since it’s a time when all my focus is on learning and networking with like-minded colleagues.
What service(s) are missing from ABCT in your role as a practitioner?
As a psychologist who recently transitioned into private practice, I would love an option to find CBT consult groups, either locally or virtually, based on time preference. I place high value on consulting with peers and would appreciate an easily accessible option.