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AICT Staff Presentations 2017

AICT’s Dr. Maren Westphal will be presenting at this year’s Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies in San Diego. 

Dr. Westphal will serve as moderator and panelist for a panel titled "Multicultural research meets evidence-based practice: Treating mental health problems and promoting academic achievement in college students from underrepresented ethnic groups." Other panelists include Stefan G. Hofmann, Ph. D. (Professor of Psychology, Boston University Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences), Anne Marie Albano, ABPP, Ph. D. (Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry and Co-Director, Washington Heights Youth Anxiety Center, Columbia University Medical Center), Swati Desai, Ph. D. , LCSW (Director of Campus Relations, Mindfulness Teacher, Center for Mindfulness, University of California, San Diego), and Laura Knouse, Ph. D. (Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond). 

Research shows that matching therapists with clients from similar ethnic backgrounds is associated with better treatment outcomes in psychotherapy, in part due to positive effects on therapy alliance, treatment retention, and increased opportunities for modeling effective coping strategies. Ethnic minority students face many barriers to academic success and relatively few gain admission to selective clinical psychology programs in the United States. Challenges include socioeconomic disadvantages, acculturative stress, internalized racism, low self-esteem, and experiences of prejudice and discrimination that may interact with and exacerbate mental health related issues that are common in students (e.g., procrastination, perfectionism, identity conflict, and problems with sleep and concentration). This panel will integrate research and insights from clinical practice to inform selection, development and dissemination of evidence-based interventions that can help students from underrepresented ethnic groups graduate on time and thrive socially, emotionally and academically while pursuing a university degree. Panelists include experts in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for psychological disorders (attentional deficit hyperactivity disorder, social anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder), researcher-clinicians with expertise in CBT for ethnic minority groups, and a Director of Campus Relations who specializes in mindfulness interventions for college students. Panelists will discuss research on cultural factors that may affect establishment of a therapeutic alliance and treatment retention in CBT for ethnic minority patients and consider special issues in the assessment and treatment of psychological disorders such as social anxiety disorder that are likely to interact with cultural differences in emotion regulation as well as have implications for performance on course components that involve public speaking and social evaluation. Finally, the panel will discuss directions for future research and ways to establish interdisciplinary collaborations to promote academic success and emotional well-being of students from underrepresented ethnic and racial backgrounds. 

Dr. Westphal will also co-present with AICT's Dr. Melissa Horowitz at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Their workshop will be titled "Treating Emotion Dysregulation in Patients with Co-occurring PTSD and Eating Disorders Who Report a History of Childhood Trauma." 

Finally, Dr. Westphal will additionally present on "Addressing Language Barriers in the Treatment of Trauma-Exposed Latino Patients." 

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