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Remembering George Ronan

George Ronan has passed away, succumbing to the glioblastoma with which he was diagnosed last year. His last days were spent with his wife, Donna Ronan (who many here may also know from her own work and ABCT involvement), and their sons George Jr and Patrick at his side.

George’s involved in ABCT was extensive, and the organization was important to him, as were the many close relationships he had with so many here.

George served AABT and ABCT in so many ways over the years. He was the longest-serving editor of tBT in the late 90s/early 2000s. He also served as secretary-treasurer, multiple times on the program committee, and as an author/editor on two volumes (Depression; and Anger, Aggression, and Violence) of the Practitioner’s Guide to Empirically Supported Measures series, and in 2011 he received the Outstanding Service to ABCT award. George also served on the interorganizational task force spearheaded by ABCT that led to the Guidelines for cognitive behavioral training within doctoral psychology programs in the United States: Report of the Inter-organizational Task Force on Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology Doctoral Education, published in Behavior Therapy in 2012.

George’s impact has been enormous, especially at Central Michigan University. He almost single-handedly moved the clinical psychology program to a primarily cognitive-behaviroal PhD program from their previous clinical psychology program, a non-research-based, primarily psychoanalytically focused PsyD program of 25 years ago. As one of his colleague wrote, the CMU program is “almost entirely of George’s design, including fundamental principles, curriculum, and faculty recruitment. His quirky awesomeness will never be replicated.”

George was a dedicated and understanding mentor to numerous students over his decades at CMU and was regularly generous with his time and energy. He spent many years as the DCT, and as director of our training clinic, and he never hesitated to step up to help those taking over those positions, or when we needed someone to fill in. His violence-reduction program provided research and clinical training for many students over the years and needed services for many in the community, as did the private practice he began in the historic building he renovated nearby. George also contributed in numerous ways to CMU beyond the program, including many crucial leadership and service positions, and to the community, including most recently as an elected official on the city commission.

George had been moving toward retirement when he became ill, and he left us much too soon. He will be greatly missed by all of us who had the good fortune to know him.

Related Information

What Is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of treatment that is based firmly on research findings.  It places emphasis on changing your cognitions (thoughts) or behaviors (actions) in order to effect change in how you feel. These approaches help people in achieving specific changes or goals.

Changes or goals might involve:

A way of acting: like smoking less or being more outgoing;
A way of feeling: like helping a person to be less scared, less depressed, or less anxious;
A way of thinking: like learning to problem-solve or get rid of self-defeating thoughts;
A way of dealing with physical or medical problems: like reducing back pain or helping a person stick to a doctor’s suggestions.

Cognitive behavioral therapists usually focus more on the current situation and its solution, rather than the past. They concentrate on a person’s views and beliefs about their life. CBT is an effective treatment for individuals, parents, children, couples, and families. The goal of CBT is to help people improve and gain more control over their lives by changing behaviors that don’t work well to ones that do.

How to Get Help

If you are looking for help, either for yourself or someone else, you may be tempted to call someone who advertises in a local publication or who comes up from a search of the Internet. You may, or may not, find a competent therapist in this manner. It is wise to check on the credentials of a psychotherapist. It is expected that competent therapists hold advanced academic degrees. They should be listed as members of professional organizations, such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the American Psychological Association. Of course, they should be licensed to practice in your state. You can find competent specialists who are affiliated with local universities or mental health facilities or who are listed on the websites of professional organizations. You may, of course, visit our website ( and click on “Find a CBT Therapist”

The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) is an interdisciplinary organization committed to the advancement of a scientific approach to the understanding and amelioration of problems of the human condition. These aims are achieved through the investigation and application of behavioral, cognitive, and other evidence-based principles to assessment, prevention, and treatment.