I had the pleasure of attending the 49th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies in Chicago over the past several days, and it was an excellent conference!
Four graduate students from the NDSU Psychological Clinical Science program presented their research.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Brooke Ammerman, who was a research assistant and honors thesis student in our lab when she was an undergraduate. She is currently doing important work on nonsuicidal self-injury as a doctoral student at Temple University.
I saw so many compelling presentations on groundbreaking research in the field, including two psychologists who have influenced me as a scientist, instructor, and clinician: Marsha Linehan and Scott Lilienfeld. They each have far too many contributions to list here, but Linehan is best known for creating, developing, and rigorously testing the revolutionary Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Lilienfeld is well-known for his prolific work identifying and calling out pseudoscience and articulating the importance of identifying and stopping harmful mental health practices, among many other contributions.
Some quotes from Linehan’s presentation (with the disclaimer that they are not exact, but rather paraphrased from the best of my memory and my notes):
- On understanding the perspective of a client who is experiencing suicidal desire so that you can effectively intervene,”Suicide is viewed as a problem by the therapist and as a solution by the client.”
- On dialectical thinking and the acknowledgement of multiple truths, “If you ask people what you get when you put black and white together, most will say that you get gray, but that’s not true. Black and white together makes plaid.”
- On her clinical trial that dismantled different components of DBT to see which components were most impactful (e.g., skills group vs. individual therapy), “I try not to go into research thinking I know the answers because that’s when I usually get the worst outcomes. I was confident that the DBT skills reduced suicide attempts, but I wasn’t going to let people die to make a point. We made sure every client in our clinical trial had the formal DBT system of suicide risk assessment and prevention, regardless of group condition.”
- A point that seems like it may be helpful for rumination prevention, “If your feelings fit the facts in a situation, you should use problem-solving. If your feelings don’t fit the facts, you should change the emotion through other methods.”
Scott Lilienfeld and NDSU graduate student, Alisson Lass
Some quotes from Lilienfeld’s presentation (with the same disclaimer that I had for Linehan’s quotes):
- On concern about certain branches of psychology reducing the number of statistics courses required in their graduate programs, “Statistics are the language of psychology.”
- On the importance of including multilevel analyses of mental disorders such as sociocultural factors, he quoted George Graham, “Mental illness may be ‘in’ the brain, but not ‘of’ the brain.”
- “Many people think the opposite, but a finding in a low-powered study is actually more likely to be a fluke than the other way around.”
- “Descartes was so tall, that when he died, he didn’t fit in the casket. They had to cut his head off. In his death, he literally had mind-body dualism.”
And last, but not least, we ate some delicious food while we were there.
the NDSU crew at Girl and the Goat