I was born and raised in New York and in Minnesota. My family life and early experiences instilled in me a respect of the complexity of life and for the many ways in which people find their way forward through all sorts of difficulties. My early family life also gave me a strong desire to make the world a better place.
I received a Bachelors of Science degree in 1989 from the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus). I then attended the University of Texas (Austin), where I had the good fortune of working Josh Holahan, a leader in the study of stress and coping, and with Michael Telch, a pioneer in the treatment of Panic Disorder. There I earned my Masters degree in 1992 and my Doctoral degree in 1994. I completed my pre-doctoral internship at Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute in the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, where I had the opportunity to train with, among others, Edna Foa, a pioneer in the treatment of Obsessive compulsive Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I had two years of post-doctoral training at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, where I worked with Judy Garber, a major contributor in the field of developmental psychopathology, and Steve Hollon, a leader in the treatment of depression using cognitive therapy. I have been blessed with an opportunity to learn from some influential contributors in the field of clinical psychology.
In 1996 I moved to the DeKalb area where I have worked as a core faculty member in the APA-Accredited PhD program in Clinical Psychology at Northern Illinois University. As a Professor, my primary professional activities are teaching and conducting research on anxiety disorders and related conditions. This teaching includes the training of future therapists in the use of evidence-based treatments for anxiety disorders and related conditions. I have authored or co-authored numerous publications in professional psychology journals and presented numerous papers at regional, national, and international conferences. I also provide assessment and therapy services to a small number of clients.
Areas of Clinical Specialty
Clients control the direction and pace of change. My role is to provide information to help my clients make informed decisions. My clients decide if, how, and when they want to try new behaviors and seek out new experiences that might help them bring about changes in their lives. The decision about which approach to use is one that should be made by the client and the therapist together, informed by whatever research results are available and by the values and preferences of the client.
As a scientist-practitioner, I stay current on the latest developments in the field. I rely upon evidence-based approaches whenever possible. Some problems have been studied and are relatively well understood, and others have been less studied and are less well understood. I share what is known and the limits of that knowledge. Because most of my clinical work involves anxiety disorders, I rely heavily upon behavioral, cognitive, and cognitive-behavioral clinical approaches, including acceptance and commitment, mindfulness, functional analytic psychotherapy, and dialectic behavioral approaches. Although I am well-versed in a variety of approaches, I believe it is best to use one approach one at a time.
For anxiety disorders, I typically recommend exposure-based approaches as these are the most extensively supported treatments. These approaches include interoceptive exposure or panic control therapy for panic disorder, cognitive therapy for social anxiety disorder, a worry exposure approach for generalized anxiety disorder, and graded exposure for specific phobias. Also, acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness approaches can often be helpful.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
For obsessive compulsive disorders, I typically recommend exposure and response prevention. Again, acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness approaches can often be considered.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
For post-traumatic stress disorders, I typically recommend an exposure-based approach, such as prolonged exposure, or an exposure-based approach that incorporates cognitive interventions, such as cognitive reprocessing therapy.
Therapeutic Assessment using the MMPI-2
Therapeutic assessment offers clients an opportunity to learn more about themselves and their problems, especially problems that involve they feel about themselves and how they get along with others. Therapeutic assessment using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory – 2 (MMPI-2) is an evidence-based approach. Like traditional assessment approaches, therapeutic assessment is useful for diagnosis and treatment planning. Unlike traditional assessment approaches, therapeutic assessment aims to bring about change.
This approach may be particularly helpful to individuals who are looking for a brief intervention to stimulate personal growth and development, and would like to learn something about themselves and their behavior, how they are seen by others, and how they can be more effective in their personal relationships. Therapeutic assessment can be useful to therapists and clients who are currently working together, but are not making as much progress as they would like.
Other Areas of Clinical Focus
I also help clients who have a variety of other problems (such as depression) and conditions that are often associated with obsessive compulsive disorder, including trichotillomania (hair pulling, skin picking), misophobia, Tourettes, etc,
American Psychological Association
Anxiety Disorders Association of America
Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
Association for Psychological Science
The International Obsessive Compulsive Foundation
National Register of Health Care Providers
Society of Clinical Psychology, Division 12 of the APA