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Research Matters Podcast
65 minutes | May 13, 2021
Dean McKay, Ph.D., A.B.B.P. on mental health in academia, getting into grad school, authorship, and personal planning
Dean McKay, Ph.D., A.B.B.P. is Professor of Psychology at Fordham University where he is a member of the clinical psychology doctoral program. His lab, Compulsive, Obsessive, and Anxiety Program (COAP) provides instruction to undergraduate, masters, and doctorate levels. Dr. McKay’s expertise is in anxiety and obsessive-compulsive behavior, with his current focus being on Covid-19 related stress and anxiety. He has further interest in anxiety pertaining to political conditions, and he has a passion for clinicians to receive ongoing continuing education. Dr. McKay conducts some private practice and does some consultation as well. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and he is the editor or co-editor of 19 books. He is board-certified in Clinical and Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology. Today Dr. McKay shares his thoughts about the obligation of people in academia having to do work that “may potentially raise some uncomfortable questions and allow us to advance topics that maybe people in other settings don’t have the luxury of doing.” Dr. McKay addresses the types of things mentors look for in students who are applying to their programs and offers tips on identifying and screening good candidates. It could be surprising to hear that a major thing he asks about in an interview is how they manage to relax. In a day when being accepted to programs is increasingly difficult, Dr. McKay sees this ability as an indicator of how the student will manage in the future. He addresses the intense struggles with stress that come from the benchmarks of performance students must achieve. His compassion for students and sound advice to regularly disconnect from work stem from personal experiences where he actually found himself bedridden from stress and at one point needing surgery for gastrointestinal issues at a very young age. While he is quite serious about his counsel to take vacations and guard weekend time for rest and non-work activities, he admits that during the past COVID-year the lines between work and home have become increasingly difficult to maintain. As he jokes with his colleagues, “every day is Blursday.” Time has little meaning, and schedules and organized events are difficult to maintain. Dr. McKay wishes to be a good example to his students and believes that, as a psychologist, it is important to do the things he would advise his clients to do. Protecting his down time in an environment where work is constantly in his space is vital. In addition to his recommendations to take time out for self-care, Dr. McKay discusses the tricky territory of defining what a “co-author” actually is. In a world where everyone needs to be published, he sees a need for mentors to be careful with balancing the desire to be generous with credits and making sure there is legitimate call to cite names. Allowing a student recognition is important, but the students must be able to defend work they contributed. Dr. McKay shares a personal anecdote in which he worked on a project with a litany of co-authors and two of the credited authors contributed only two sentences to the work. He sees situations like this as doing a disservice to students who, when faced with the real-world demands, won’t have the knowledge to back up their claims on their resumes. Finally, Dr. McKay shares some of his personal methodology for balancing writing time to make it more productive and his thoughts on taking stock of the “50,000 foot overview” of his future plans. He concludes with his ideas about his personal clinical work and suggests that, “researchers do themselves a little bit of a disservice by not actually seeing clients periodically.” In this episode, you’ll learn… The obligation academia has to advance causes that could raise some uncomfortable questions. Things to look for when screening students for a graduate program as well as things students should think about when picking a mentor. The importance of guarding personal time and taking vacations. The difficulties of disconnecting from work in Covid times. The importance of giving valid credit for co-authors on published works. How to manage writing time and maintain productivity. Mental tools for organization. About balancing a clinical practice while maintaining research work and how the two dovetail. Tips from the episode On finding good candidates for a research program… Students need to have a baseline ability to relax and destress. The rigors of the graduate program world are intense and will take a mental and physical toll if a student does not understand how to balance time and seek time disengaged from the work. Students should be able to back up their research work and defend their publications. Too often mentors are generous with credit, which does a student a disservice when they enter the real world and don’t have the actual background or knowledge to function well. While conducting a stress interview for the sole purpose of making students uncomfortable is not a good choice, asking the hard questions and requiring a student to defend their ideas is not unreasonable. How they respond is a good indicator of how they will handle other things in the future. On finding a mentor … Remember to look for someone who is genuinely nice and compliments your values. Remember that it is a six-year commitment and that is a long time to live with a person who wears you down instead of builds you up. On the balance of work and relaxation … It is vital to disengage from work to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Vacations should be enjoyed. Going off grid is advisable. Weekends should be protected as non-work times. The Covid year has made it increasingly difficult to separate work and home, but now more than ever a firm determination to be away from work for scheduled periods is advisable. On co-author credit… There is a delicate balance of mentor generosity in sharing credit and making sure the claimed acknowledgement is legitimate. Offering co-authorship to someone who has not contributed much paves the way for students to enter research programs and real life unprepared. On maintaining productivity in writing while balancing work and home… Take stock of your week in the beginning and plan for times to focus on writing. Have “protected time.” Stay away from emails and social media. Facilitate blocking out the world by maintaining your environment. Some people work well with music, some do not, for example. If you need to step away from the computer, go exercise or do something alone where you can think and work through ideas mentally. On maintaining a clinical practice while doing research … Seeing clients periodically is important to keep a perspective and learn. It is important to see procedures implemented rather than just talk about them. You need to know about clinical care if you’re going to teach people about clinical care. Links from the episode: Dr. McKay’s Fordham profile: https://www.fordham.edu/info/21660/psychology_faculty_and_staff/5430/dean_mckay Research Lab: https://www.fordham.edu/homepage/2789/coap Psychology Today profile and list of books: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/contributors/dean-mckay-phd Twitter: https://twitter.com/docmckay?lang=en LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dean-mckay-71b14310/ P.E. Meehl Article: http://www.dgapractice.com/documents/meehl_case_conferences_adapted.pdf Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. Reach out with suggestions, questions, or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
76 minutes | Feb 8, 2021
Steven C. Hayes, PhD, on controversy, his lab culture, and how political organizing can help you in science
Dr. Hayes is a Nevada Foundation Professor of Psychology in the Behavior Analysis Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. An author of 46 books and nearly 650 scientific articles, he is especially known for his work on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is one of the most widely used and researched new methods of psychological intervention in the last 20 years. Dr. Hayes has received many national awards, such as the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy. His popular book Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life was, at one point, the best-selling self-help book in the United States, and his new book A Liberated Mind has been recently released to wide acclaim. His TEDx talks have been viewed by over 600,000 people, and he is ranked among the most cited psychologists in the world. In this wide ranging conversation, we discuss how Dr. Hayes started his work life as a political organizer and how this has influenced him to work behind the scenes to organize coalitions to get things done. We talk about how he has built his lab culture throughout the years. We discuss his tendency to get involved in important controversies in psychology, such as the prescription privileges debate, and how he has learned to navigate those subjects and attendant criticisms. We discuss the importance of acknowledging those who have helped you along in your life and career, including those critics who have helped you grow. Finally, we talk about he works with his students, including how he encourages an atmosphere of questioning each other with good humor and supporting students to seek after what brings them vitality and meaning. In this episode, you’ll learn… How Dr. Hayes is trying to redefine what evidence-based therapy means and why he wants to have it under the umbrella of evolution science How working in the political realm transformed his future in science and psychology About the controversial past of his work and how that has affected his teaching methods and philosophy About the vital role collaboration plays To appreciate those who helped to get you where you are Tips from the episode On politics and where change happens… Groups make a difference. People make a difference. You can lead from behind. You have to work as hard as anyone. Be willing to do anything. Take down the hierarchy. On micro steps... Be driven by a gut sense of connection. Watch what lifts you up, entertains, and interests you. Have confidence in your heart and what brings you bliss. What seems a chaotic mess to the outside is all connected. Have faith that the big picture is playing out. On the role of mentors and what they offer… Every person has brought something to the direction things went. Even our greatest critics can offer positive gifts. Always remember to have gratitude for those who encouraged and influenced you. On lab philosophy… Create cultural traditions that invite growth. Open the society to diversity of ideas. Never hide ideas from others. Be willing to talk about emotions. Invite critics to come in. Controversy is a good thing. Embrace criticism. It is not tearing down another person to make a bold statement. Celebrate each other’s accomplishments regularly. Keep your eye on the larger values-based purpose of having a research community in the first place. Have fun. Links from the episode: Dr. Steven Hayes’ website and blog Scholarly works of Dr. Hayes Dr. Hayes’ TEDx Talk Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. Reach out with suggestions, questions, or comments to email@example.com
62 minutes | Dec 10, 2020
Jessica Borelli, Ph.D., on Work/Family Conflict, Gender Roles, and Intervention Research with Diverse Communities
Jessica Borelli, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychological Science at the University of California, Irvine. She is a clinical psychologist specializing in the field of developmental psychopathology, and her research focuses on the links between close relationships, emotions, health, and development. Today Dr. Borelli shares her own experience with balancing her family life and her ambition and drive as an academic. Imagine the silence that would (and did) follow her announcement of “I want to be a mom,” when prompted to share her aspirations at a celebratory dinner among a group of academics. Yeah, that happened. Our discussion touches on the conflict with her herself and also the conflict that exists within academia regarding balancing work and family life. Dr. Borelli shares about the complex dance between work and home and how her husband has supported her, helping her to discover who she truly wanted to be. She also talks about the importance of women scientists and the disadvantages they must embrace and overcome. We also cover how she addresses gender and work-family conflict with her students, particularly at the intersection of various identities. Finally, we discuss the steps she took to develop a strong partnership with a community agency serving an underserved population. In this episode, you’ll learn… The unique challenges of being a woman in academia The influences of family on Dr. Borelli’s career and the clash between family and academia About conducting research in a diverse community as a white woman About the importance of investing in community and paying attention to community needs Tips from the episode On balancing work and family… Know who you are and what you want from your career and family Have confidence in your own ability to rise to challenges and achieve your goals Have courage to pursue opportunities despite messages that work and family are impossible to balance On engaging with a diverse community… Find out what the community needs and how best to implement intervention Be open to input from the people you work with; do not try to impose your own agenda Be invested in their needs and earn their respect and trust Links from the episode: Dr Jessica Borelli’s profile at UCI UCI THRIVE Lab Collaborators/Community Partners Latino Health Access Her excellent advice for students thinking about graduate school in a mental health field Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. Reach out with suggestions, questions, or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
64 minutes | Nov 11, 2020
James Kirby, PhD, and Jeffrey Kim, on incorporating physiological data in psychological research
James Kirby, Ph.D., is a researcher and senior lecturer at the University of Queensland in Australia, who studies the effects of kindness and compassion. Jeff Kim, a graduate student under Dr. Kirby, joins my discussion with Dr. Kirby on measuring and incorporating physiological data into their research. Today’s conversation is focused on measuring heart rate variability. Like many of us, Dr. Kirby didn’t take any psychology courses that incorporated physiology when he was in school. But when he became acquainted with the work of Stephen Porges, Julian Thayer and others, he was compelled to learn more. Eventually, collecting and analyzing physiological data became part of Dr. Kirby’s research on compassion. He’s quick to say he couldn’t have gotten where he is on his own. For others wanting to do something similar, he highly recommends connecting and collaborating with others who are already in the space. Being able to work alongside someone else and to be shown the ropes – preferably in person – makes for a smoother integration and a much quicker learning curve. Jeff Kim shares details regarding equipment and software they use, some of his findings, and best practice recommendations. In this episode, you’ll learn… About the influences on Dr. Kirby’s interests and developments How Dr. Kirby gained access to needed equipment About the equipment and software they use Why there is no substitute for meeting with other researchers in person About the most challenging parts of incorporating physiological data in research Tips from the episode On how to integrate physiological measurements in your work… Partner with others who are already in the space and who (hopefully) have the means to collect, analyze, and interpret data Attend workshops Meet, learn from, and collaborate with others in the space On staying abreast of the latest research in the space… Twitter has become Dr. Kirby’s “academic library” Follow those who study areas you’re interested in but don’t know much about Watch academic talks on YouTube and take notes Links from the episode: Dr. James Kirby’s profile at the University of Queensland Stephen Porges’ work on polyvagal theory Paul Gilbert – compassion-focused therapy Professor Julian Thayer and the vagus nerve Center for Compassion and Altruism Research Dr. James Doty and Dr. Emma Seppala, Handbook of Compassion Science Dr. Stacey Parker June Gruber Tor Wager Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. Reach out with suggestions, questions, or comments to email@example.com
62 minutes | Oct 2, 2020
Bethany Teachman, PhD, and Jeremy Eberle, on embracing an open-science mindset
Does the thought of practicing open science give you sweaty palms? That’s a normal reaction for those of us who weren’t formally trained in the open-science methodology. The sweaty-palm reaction is really not that surprising since most of us have gotten where we are today because we’ve been meticulous in our work and tried to put out the best work we possibly could. In a nutshell, we tend to be perfectionists. But science, like life, is far from perfect. It’s messy. And it often takes unexpected twists and turns. Once we embrace this reality and view research as a conversation starter, we’ll be able to move past the sweaty-palms stage. Part of getting comfortable with open-science practices is your mindset. It’s about valuing doing rigorous science, even when it gets messy. Open science is also about creating an environment where feedback is sought and embraced. It’s about learning along the way so that you can do even better science going forward. In this episode, you’ll learn… Why Dr. Teachman felt primed to embrace open science from her grad school experience, even though she wasn’t taught open-science protocol in school How to begin embracing open-science practices The barriers to embracing open science Why open science is about more than protocols and checklists -- it’s about a culture that supports transparency and is non-defensive to feedback About the documentation process within her lab About the benefits of using GitHub in addition to OSF Why doing science according to your values can ease the sting of rejected work by publications Dr. Teachman’s suggestion of putting a pre-registration section on your CV How Dr. Teachman approaches collaborations with other researchers who are unfamiliar with open-science practices Tips from the episode On how to shift a lab towards open-science practices… Incorporate visual reminders about your lab’s open-science goals. Set concrete deadlines and expect participation from everyone in the lab. Get over the idea that “it has to be as near perfect as possible before I make it public.” On incrementalism and where to start… Just start. It won’t be perfect, and you’ll get better at it. Embrace that science is about taking risks and figuring it out as you go along. As a first step, do a pre-registration of your hypothesis or share a data set. On the documentation process for open-science projects… Use plain language for your comments within your code Include a section on deviations from the pre-registration Include a guide to open-data and materials Use an internal wiki Links from the episode: RO1 trial – Mindtrails Alan Kazdin Center for Open Science PACT lab Pre-registration templates on OSF Twitter feed on CVs incorporating open science and related materials on OSF Tutorial on integrating Github and R ReproducibiliTea open science methodology reading groups Jeremy Eberle can be found on Twitter: @JeremyWEberle, and https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jeremy_Eberle2 or https://osf.io/nyqux/ Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. Reach out with suggestions, questions, or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
66 minutes | Aug 14, 2020
Jessica Schleider, PhD, on Open Science and Replicability Practices and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Academia
Jessica Schleider, PhD, is an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Stony Book University and a graduate of the Clinical Psychology Program at Harvard University. When in graduate school, she learned about open science – not from her courses but from the Twitter-spere and later from The Black Goat Podcast. What she learned was compelling and unsettling and kept her up at night as she thought about the state of scientific research in general and her research in particular. Wanting to sleep better, she “made an inner commitment to myself that if I got the chance to build a lab, open science would be part of it from the start… Especially if someone was pursuing a relatively new area of research, I didn’t feel like there was any other way to go about it…The curtain had been pulled up, so I couldn’t trust my own work anymore unless these things were more clearly and rigorously incorporated.” In today’s episode, Dr. Schleider and I discus open science principles, how open science differs from run-of-the-mill research, and why it can feel daunting and intimidating to embrace open-science principles. Dr. Schleider is also a strong advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusivity in academia. We discuss the ways academia has traditionally favored those from privileged backgrounds. We also discuss specific steps she has used to ensure that her lab is a safe place for people from underrepresented groups, that opportunities in her lab are clear and transparent, and that a protocol has been set in place should there be any discriminatory behavior or remarks that originate in the lab over which she presides. In this episode, you’ll learn… How Dr. Schleider stumbled upon open science and the replicability revolution Why she decided to implement open science practices That Dr. Schleider thought she had been doing pre-registration because she had been registering clinical trials How open science pre-registration differs from traditional registrations Where Dr. Schleider registers her studies Why open science can be frustrating to implement Why open science requires a mindset change The stages of registered reports Tips from the episode On where to learn about open science… Improve Your Statistical Inferences Coursea course (see link below) The Black Goat Podcast (see link below) On the differences between regular registration and open science preregistration… Open science preregistration aims to make sure researchers don’t fall into biases, outcome switch, or p-hack. In open science, when you deviate from the plan, you’re transparent about it. Traditional preregistrations don’t require an analytic plan or explain how the data will be analyzed. On open science procedures she uses… Always file a preregistration Detail how effect size is computed Streamline process for double-checking data set preparation and analysis Document code Make all of your work accessible to the public On leveling the playing field in research and academia… Reconsider the GRE Make admissions more transparent Make education less expensive Formalize opportunities to get involved in research (so that those opportunities are not reserved for those who know to seek and ask for those opportunities) Links from the episode: Daniel Lakens’ Improve Your Statistical Inferences course The Black Goat Podcast Dr. Schelider’s lab Dr. Schelider’s lab manual As-predicted template Template for pre-registration for beginners (from her lab) Jamovi – easy to use R package Documents to guide those who are considering applying to her lab or grad school in general: How to apply to her lab Guide to applying to grad school in clinical psychology Find Dr. Schelider on Twitter Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
64 minutes | Jul 10, 2020
Maria Karekla, PhD, on wearables in research and getting a psychophysiology lab up and running
Dr. Maria Karekla is an assistant professor at the University of Cyprus where she studies anxiety and cravings and specializes in utilizing psychophysiological measurements in her research. I decided to interview her because she has one of the few labs in the world that has done research comparing consumer grade wearable physiological measurement devices to research grade stationary devices. I was alerted to this work when I stumbled across a paper that she recently published comparing these two methods for taking psychophysiology measurements. In today’s episode, she shares details about setting up her physio lab and research protocol and about the many setbacks she has faced -- switching faculty positions, economic crises which resulted in limited funds, using borrowed space and equipment. We walk through lots of details about how to set up a psychphys lab and the practicalities of doing so. We also talk about the pros and cons of using expensive and well-tested stationary equipment for measuring physiology vs cheap and less tested wearable devices that are growing in popularity and accessibility. Tips from the episode On what to expect a lab setup like Maria’s to cost… A $200,000 grant was sufficient to get one lab setup, including equipment and consumables. (If only equipment is needed, $50,000 may be enough.) Maintenance is ~2000 euros per year...if nothing breaks On getting up to speed with equipment and establishing a protocol… Be open and flexible. Know that a lot is learned through trial and error Review equipment manuals carefully Make sure you have technical support Software issues tend to be greater challenges than hardware issues Partner with an established physio researcher and visit their lab On setting up labs procedures and training process… Match younger students with older students to be trained Each study has its own protocol, developed by the team Assign reading assignments to the lab assistants Develop lab manuals On researching with consumer-grade wearables... Check if the wearable has been tested against laboratory equipment Consider if you will get the data in a form that you can use Will you be able to access the data once it’s collected? Consider how detailed you need the data to be Familiarize yourself with the company’s terminology and language and use their lingo in your discussions with them Links from the episode Dr. Karekla’s university website Dr. Karekla’s laboratory website (in Greek) Algea Project website Article: Comparing apples and oranges or different types of citrus fruits? Using wearable versus stationary devices to analyze psychophysiological data. Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
65 minutes | Apr 24, 2020
Todd Kashdan, on going against the grain, idea capture, and autonomy
Todd Kashdan, PhD, is a professor of psychology at George Mason University, where he’s senior scientist at the Center for the Advancement of Wellbeing. He’s been a leading researcher in positive psychology from when that area first started to blow up, but often plays the role of someone who challenges established wisdom in that area of research. When looking for the right job, Dr. Kashdan sought the one that would give him the most autonomy in his work. He’s delighted that at George Mason he’s been able to follow his interests. As he gleefully states, he “gets paid to read books, write articles, and study whatever he wants,” which includes but is not limited to gratitude, positive emotions, spirituality, purpose, curiosity, creativity, resilience, and anxiety – just to name a few. Dr. Kashdan doesn’t shy away from controversial, and that’s, at least partly, by design. His mantra is, whatever is the zeitgeist of the moment – be it mindfulness, positivity, etc. – there must be a psychological benefit to the opposite. That’s why you’ll frequently hear him arguing for the very opposite of whatever is the popular message of the day. In today’s episode, Dr. Kashdan and I dive deep into his controversial side. He shares the story of the impromptu speech for which he was “banished” as a speaker from a well-known positive psychology organization. He shares lessons he’s learned on softening his approach and explains why he’s not about to give up on speaking out. He also shares his card-based method for capturing and organizing his thoughts, ideas, and insights. If you want to read some more about the ways he’s organizes his work and his productivity tools, this blog post goes into a lot more details: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/curious/201701/essential-set-tools-productivity-work In this episode, you’ll learn… Why Dr. Kashdan chose a position at George Mason Why Dr. Kashdan often takes an opposing position from whatever is most popular How reading a Charles Spielberger chapter on curiosity in grad school inspired Dr. Kashdan’s life work How Dr. Kashdan captures and organizes his thoughts and ideas for his work Why Dr. Kashdan seeks no more than an 80% approval rating from audiences About Dr. Kashdan’s morning and evening routines Tips from the episode On choosing a job… Look for who will give you the most autonomy to study whatever you want. Don’t follow the trends or the money. Follow what is interesting. On stealing like an artist… Tinker with the ideas and theories others are developing Create a template or framework based on the work of others you admire On organizing and processing your work… Use index cards and keep a separate container for each book or project with a section for each topic. Have index cards in all the places where you read, think, and work. Jot down ideas as you think of them. Most ideas have to be thrown out. Kill your darlings, a la Stephen King. Remember that you don’t have the processing capacity to hold everything in your head. On dealing with controversy Be willing to be the counterpoint…and also be willing to have your mind changed. If you have the right temperament, it’s important to stand up to bullies in the field. Try to separate the person from their work. Try to bring people’s defenses down so you can have an open, civil, interactive conversation. Give context to the situation. Links from the episode Dr. Kashdan’s blog, Curious, where he blogs regularly The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera Curiosity and Exploratory Behavior by Charles Spielberger Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon Getting Things Done by David Allen Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant Robert Green’s 48 Laws of Power The Exceptional Presenter: A Proven Formula to Open Up and Own the Room by Timothy Koegel Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
68 minutes | Feb 12, 2020
Ken Weingardt, on personal mission statements and tech startups in the mental health space
How many people do you know who have a personal mission statement…and have it memorized…and actually live by it? Well, now you know of one more. Dr. Ken Weingardt’s personal mission statement is to “use technology to improve access to behavioral health services.” An addictionologist by training, Dr. Weingardt held various positions in academia and research -- from faculty appointments at major medical schools to leadership positions of federally funded organizations -- before deciding the grant-writing/publishing treadmill was not for him. He was burnt out. He also felt like the rewards were too small, the personal price was too great, and the impact he was having was too small to continue on that path. Surely, he thought, he could have a bigger impact elsewhere without having to sacrifice a meaningful work-life balance He instead turned to tech startups in the mental health space. He previously worked at Pear Therapeutics, which provides “prescription digital therapeutics for the treatment of serious disease.” Dr. Weingardt then went to a young startup, Emilio Health (he was employee number 6), as Vice President of the Clinical Department. Emilio Health seeks to develop technology-enabled behavior health clinics for children to facilitate care coordination between counselors, parents, children, and educators. My conversation with Dr. Weingardt is full of straight talk about personal values, work-life balance, making tough life decisions, inspiring books, and authority structures in academia versus in industry. Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
59 minutes | Jan 14, 2020
Kelly Wilson, PhD, on the importance of theory, chasing your interests, and giving away ideas
Dr. Kelly Wilson is a recently retired, emeritus faculty at the University of Mississippi. He is a leading researcher, theorist, and trainer of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and an important contributor to clinical behavior analysis. He has published nine very well selling books. Dr. Wilson’s path into research is certainly atypical. If you had seen him as a young adult, he would probably have been the last person you would have expected to have a successful research career. He had an active, severe drug addiction, had been placed in inpatient psychiatric care, and been in drug and alcohol rehab. He encountered behavior analysis at a pivotal point in his life and this helped transform his life path into something he would never have expected. He eventually went on to earn a PhD and was mentored by Steven Hayes at the University of Nevada, Reno and has since become a leader in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and behavior analysis. The bulk of his work has been in theory and meta theory of applied arenas, with a particular interest in clinical theory relating to behavior analysis. In today’s episode, we learn about Kr. Wilson’s interesting background and path. We discuss the importance of theory, the importance of understanding the “why” of your research, and why it’s better to give ideas away than to hide them. He also discusses how to have a career in academia that focuses on the importance of theory and meta theory and on finding the right fit between your interests and your work setting. He talks about how he organized his lab and the importance of having a good lab culture. In this episode, you’ll learn… The importance of the process of creating theories. The kind of theory that interests Dr. Wilson: deep [0:09:31] variables, which are directly observable, and independent variables, which are both directly observable and (in principle) can be manipulated. Why Steve Hayes selected Dr. Wilson as a grad applicant, in spite of a terrible interview objections from others on the panel Why you shouldn’t guard your ideas but give them away as quickly as you have them. Why Dr. Wilson would occasionally lecture with a baby on his knee. The importance of a good lab culture and guidelines on how to create it and why he says, ““The beginning of a research presentation in my lab starts with why this matters.” How to find the right person-environment fit for your research Why theory is particularly important and undervalued at this current time in science Tips from the episode On the types of environments that will let you focus on theory… Mid-sized universities, where you don’t have to have millions of dollars of grants (which are not awarded for theory construction) Evaluation not based on the amount of grant dollars produced but on other criteria Find a chair who “wants to take advantage of your enthusiasms.” On how to make decisions in relation to your strengths and weaknesses... Recognize that every weakness carries strengths with it. Know what you want. On fostering an environment that encourages chasing interests... Talk about “why” first – not “what.” Address “why this matters.” For new researchers: Ask, “What do I need to succeed?” Ask, “How can I make a kinder, better, richer process for the next generation of researchers?” Links from the episode: Wilson’s Lab manifesto Wilson’s training page Wilson’s publications Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
61 minutes | Dec 13, 2019
Lynette Averill, PhD, on moving from counseling psychology to neuroscience, getting a Fulbright, and ketamine research
Dr. Averill is an assistant professor in the Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and research fellow in the clinical neurosciences division of the National Center for PTSD VA Connecticut Healthcare System. Her research focuses primarily on studying the neurobiological mechanisms involved in ketamine as a treatment for PTSD and suicidality. Although Dr. Averill originally got her degree in counseling psychology, she later made the switch to neuroscience, which is her current passion. In today’s interview, we discuss Dr. Averill’s career path and how she changed research focus, how she decides whether to spend time writing grants or publishing papers, why collaboration is so important, and why getting involved in professional organizations is worth it. We also learn about her research of ketamine. Finally, we discuss why it’s important to tell compelling stories…but to make sure you’re telling the story of the data and not making the data fit your story. Abbreviations mentioned in the episode:ISTSS – International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies MIRECC – Mental Illness Research Education Clinical Center of Excellence In this episode, you’ll learn… The personal story on how Dr. Averill became interested in PTSD The backstory on how Dr. Averill landed a Fulbright Scholarship How to build collaborations About research on ketamine Why it pays to be a storyteller Tips from the episode On how to have a chance at a Fulbright Scholarship or any other career opportunity… Take a shot. Apply. Ditch your fear and reach out in the areas of your interest. It helps if your area of interest is a ‘hot’ topic politically and/or socially Approach and collaborate other researchers whose work you admire Don’t underestimate the benefits of getting involved in professional organizations On how to prioritize your time and energy… Keep an eye on the practical. Is there enough money to stay afloat? Are there funding opportunities too good to pass up? Get a big-picture view. Recognize when you need to push out publications versus write grants. Keep an eye on what you need to continue and/or expand your work – a research assistant, a piece of equipment, etc. On storytelling… The reviewers of grants are real people who get tired and bored. Your grant proposal – or whatever you write – needs to be compelling and engaging. Be strategic with your storytelling. Be authentic to yourself and stick to your story. Look at the data and tell a story of what the data says rather than going into the data with your story already written and forcing the data to fit it. Links from the episode: Dr. Averill’s bio at Yale School of Medicine The Emerge Research Program “The Match” for neuropsychology postdocs Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
64 minutes | Nov 12, 2019
Shannon Wiltsey Stirman, on embracing the messy and dissemination and implementation science
Shannon Wiltsey Stirman, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University Medical School and is Acting Deputy Director, Dissemination and Training Division, National Center for PTSD. She’s a leading researcher in the area of disseminating evidence-based therapies. As part of this, she juggles two RO1 research grants from NIMH, working with multiple teams, and having team members scattered across the US and Canada who are conducting research in various settings. She balances all of that with being married with three kids…and carves out time to keep up her running. In today’s episode, we dive into how stays organized with her various projects and how she deals with the messiness of dissemination research that involves intense involvement with front line providers and sites. She also talks about how to vet collaborating organizations in the community and how to look for win-win collaborations for those you work with. We also discuss her perspective on open science and the need to stay nimble when it comes to data collection. You’ll also hear Dr. Wiltsey shares tips for squeezing in time for writing, her tips for finding work-life balance, being led by what is exciting for you, and her advice for graduate students. The opinions expressed by Dr. Stirman on this podcast are solely her own and do not express the views or opinions of her employers. Some abbreviations mentioned in the episode: CPT – cognitive processing therapy IPV – intimate partner violence DBT – dialectical behavior therapy CBT – cognitive behavioral therapy In this episode, you’ll learn… How Dr. Wiltsey manages various groups and teams across multiple settings How she deals with bureaucracies from multiple organizations How to form teams and foster win-win collaboration How to determine if a site is a good match for your study How to deal with the messy realities of research Wiltsey’s perspective on open research Tips for getting your writing done Tips on work-life balance Wiltsey’s advice for grad students Tips from the episode On how to how to stay organized across project and teams… Distribute the work. Host once-a-week team calls. Take detailed notes and document all decisions made. Reach out when you need something. Don’t be afraid to tap into the expertise of others. Respect team members’ time. Only pull them in when they’re really needed. On writing... Utilize time on flights. During your writing time, don’t turn on Wi-Fi. If you need to look something up, make a list or leave a comment and do it later. Utilize time in the evenings if the rest of the family is occupied or asleep. Take advantage of the times in the margins of your day. On work-life balance... Prioritize family dinner. In general, don’t schedule activities for the kids around dinner time. Carve out time for exercise. Only work on weekends if the rest of the family is busy. Take a day or a half-day off Delegation is critical.
53 minutes | Sep 27, 2019
Alan Kooi Davis on Getting Started in Psychedelic Science, Collaboration, and the Source Research Foundation
Dr. Alan Kooi Davis is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at The Ohio State University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Psychedelic Research Unit at Johns Hopkins University. He’s a researcher in the area of psychedelics, especially psilocybin, and how psychedelics can be used in treatment. He has also done research on harm reduction and drug use more generally, but in this episode we decided to focus on how he got into research on psychedelics for people who are interested in doing work in that area. Dr. Davis was ahead of the curve in his interest in exploring the use of psychedelics as a component of treatment. As a graduate student, he felt alone in his research interests, and so he sought opportunities to connect with others who were passionate about this potentially viable treatment option. He harnessed opportunities at conferences and online connections to build collaborations in the field of psychedelics. Seeing the need for an organized space in which to bring together researchers and resources, and wanting to build the structure that he wished had been available to him, he also formed the Source Research Foundation, which provides grants to and facilitates collaboration among students and researchers interested in psychedelics. Dr. Davis writes...a lot. Check out his published works and you’ll see what I mean. Tune in to hear his tips and tricks for staying motivated and disciplined in your writing. In this episode, you’ll learn… How to get involved in psychedelic science About the scenarios in which you’re most likely to get support for research in the psychedelics realm How to foster collaboration About Source Research Foundation Why he decided to pursue a second postdoctoral position His advice to graduate students who are studying or have an interest in psychedelics His tips for structuring the writing process and staying motivated Tips from the episode On how to find support for research in psychedelics (or other areas of interest)… Try to find a supportive graduate advisor/mentor Publish and present as much as possible. If you are a clinical psychologist, get trained in the latest evidence-based methods for the disorders that you might want to work with using psychedelics Develop the skills you need to be a good scientist in general. You’ll never know what will make you competitive for a job in the future. Publish studies on psychedelics to build your vitae Connect with people at psychedelic science conferences (e.g., psychedelic science, Breaking Convention) Look for opportunities online to help out researchers, particularly the MAPS graduate student listerv/Facebook On building collaborations and connections... Proactively look for others with similar interests Look for remote opportunities within your area of interest Connect with other students in master and PhD programs with similar interests Attend conferences and make connections, and don’t overlook connecting with other grad students Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
61 minutes | Sep 3, 2019
George Bonanno on Unconventional Research, Being Led by Curiosity, and How to Deal with Setbacks
Dr. Bonanno is chair of the department of counseling and clinical psychology at Columbia University’s Teachers College. He is a world leader on research around trauma, bereavement, and resilience. His interest in how people cope with difficult events and circumstances has led to studies around grief, trauma, acute medical situations, and other unpleasant events. In this episode, you’ll learn… The rewards and consequences of pursuing controversial questions What to do when your work is published...and then ignored About the weak basis for many assumptions within psychology How to protect your curiosity from being squelched by the day-to-day Why it’s especially easy for those young in their careers to stay within the safe realm of the conventional Why Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi encouraged him to look for employment with a small school and why you might too How to deal with disappointments and setbacks How to keep the pragmatic details of work from encroaching on your mental space Tips from the episode On how to maintain motivation when doing something unconventional… You have to be internally motivated by the questions Begin with “What do we know and how do we know it? How solid is the evidence?” When you find something counterintuitive and trust your methods, it’s usually easy to stay motivated If you believe you’re on the right track, that’s rewarding in itself Follow your own interests On dealing with setbacks and the parts of your job that you don’t enjoy Remember that the unusable finding of today might be usable in the future Hang in there. Keep pursuing the ideas that motivate you. Be creative with the tasks you have. Put your own spin on things. Modify things so they’re more amenable to your goals. Be open to failure and admit when something has failed. Links from the episode: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz Expressive Flexibility Dr. Bonanno's bio page at Columbia
62 minutes | Aug 8, 2019
Joanna Arch on Disciplined Time Tracking, Grant Writing, and the Blending of Passion and Profession
Joanna Arch is an associate professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is also a member of the Cancer Center in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. Her research initially focused on anxiety disorders, but she’s recently added a focus on cancer patients. Being married to an oncologist and having a personal interest in existential issues helped her embrace her initial reservations about entering work on cancer, which can be very emotional and challenging. Once she braved the waters, though, she found increased meaning, drive, and satisfaction in her work. An avid runner and trained as a classical musician, Joanna understands the power of discipline, and she brings structured discipline to her work day. In today’s episode, you’ll hear how Joanna stays focused and maximizes her time at work, whether it’s with students, in the lab, or writing grants. Speaking of grants, Joanna’s favorite part of writing grants and papers is -- wait for it -- editing. The hardest part for her is getting started. When it comes to grants, she’s tasted both success and failure, and she understands that rejection is just part of the grant-application game. That said, she’s determined to learn from each failure, each bit of criticism, every line of feedback. She’s also keen on recognizing her own weaknesses and getting help when needed. In this episode, you’ll learn… How things changed for Joanna about a year ago after she received tenure How Joanna stays healthy and productive as a faculty member About the “zone of genius” and how Joanna monitors her time and plans her week How to stay connected to your purpose and avoid burnout How to deal with rejection in academia Joanna’s grant writing tips How Joanna transitioned her career from a focus on treatment of anxiety to including psychological issues unique to cancer patients Tips from the episode On structuring and tracking time to increase productivity… Use an Excel spreadsheet to track every minute of the workday Review tallies at the end of each week Brain dump at the end of each week and create a list of what you want to accomplish in the coming week Schedule small tasks for when you’re a passenger in transit Create writing goals and block/schedule writing time Track your mood throughout the day to understand what tasks most light your fire and then plan accordingly On writing and applying for grants Understand that applying for grants is a hyper-competitive space and have realistic expectations about the odds Be responsive to feedback Don’t give up. Keep hitting. When a paper is rejected, write responses (for yourself) to each point made by the reviewer, even if you aren’t going to resubmit to that journal Be honest about your weaknesses and get help in those areas Break down the writing process into small parts Links from the episode: How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing by Paul J. Silvia The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity About Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Arch Lab Joanna’s bio at Colorado.edu Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
60 minutes | Jun 5, 2019
Evan Forman on Nurturing Collaborations, Finding Stellar Project Coordinators, and Healthy Skepticism
Dr. Evan Forman is a professor of psychology at Drexel University and a director of the University’s “WELL Center” (Center for Weight, Eating and Lifestyle Science), an interdisciplinary clinic, research, and training center dedicated to developing and sharing innovative solutions to treat obesity, poor diet, sedentariness and disordered eating. In this Episode you'll learn: How to create fertile environments for collaboration How to hire stellar project coordinators How to incorporate behavioral tasks into interviews How to have your values guide your research decisions What Evan does to start and end a productive day How to think about research at a meta-level
65 minutes | May 30, 2019
Matthew McKay on How to Write More than 30 Professional Books
Today’s interview is with Dr. Matthew McKay. Dr. McKay is a co-founder of New Harbinger publications and a professor at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. For those who don’t know, New Harbinger is one of the largest publishers of mental health related books. Through New Harbinger, he pioneered the very idea of client workbooks and has written many himself. In addition to being an active researcher, the main thing I wanted to interview Matt about was how he has been able to write more than 30 professional and self help books, which have sold more than 3 million copies. My goal in this interview was to learn how he can write so many books and also to get an insider’s view on how to get a book published in the mental health space. Dr. McKay began his career publishing a range of books (e.g. business manuals, children’s books) for a small publishing company he created with a friend. He accidentally stumbled into the world of self-help books when helping his then-girlfriend turn her pamphlet on stress reduction into a book. This book went on to sell over a million copies, underscoring the big demand for accessible, evidence-based, skills building workbooks. Since then, Dr. McKay has written prolifically (usually in hotel rooms, trains, or his country house), authoring more than 30 professional psychology and self-help books which have sold, combined, more than 3 million copies. His motivation stems from a simple principle: he only writes books for people he understands and cares about. For 25 years, he was the clinical director of Haight Ashbury Psychological Services. Now, he is a professor of psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, co-founder of New Harbinger Publications, and the current director of the Berkeley CBT Clinic. Dr. McKay clearly has a knack for writing (fun fact: he is an accomplished novelist and poet to boot), and in this episode, he shares numerous writing tips, ranging from how to sustain motivation, to how to cater your book to the audience you’re striving to help. If you are a scientist who wants to translate their work into either a professional book or a book for the public, you will want to hear what he has to say. What you’ll learn: How to write self-help books well (that are accessible and helpful to a specific audience) How he determines co-authorship When to put a body of research into a book How to get things done (Hint: outlining and commitment) Writing Tips: Be clear about your audience—how do they think, and what do they care about? Begin by writing a table of contents, and save writing the introduction for last When presenting a skill, present it in three ways: explain the precept, include an experiential task, and provide an example To sustain motivation, have commitment (not just to the project, but to the reason behind the project) Commit to a particular time or place when a specific task (e.g. chapter) will be completed Links from this episode: ACT on Life Not on Anger Berkeley CBT clinic Bay Area Trauma Recovery Clinic The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook New Harbinger’s Publications When Anger Hurts Your Kids: A Parent's Guide The Wright Institute Matthew McKay’s good reads profile
69 minutes | Apr 10, 2019
Jonathan Bricker on Creating Research Teams and Life at an Independent Research Center
I’m pretty sure that Jonathan Bricker has more research funding to study Acceptance and Commitment Therapy than any other researcher (it’s hard to confirm this as there is no central database). For this alone he’s a person worth interviewing. He’s also interesting as a researcher who deeply considers how research can help us scale psychosocial interventions to reach millions of people, and thus apps and websites feature prominently in his research. If you are interested in learning how to do clinical research that scales, then this is a guy you want to pay attention to. If you don’t trust me that he has ideas worth spreading, then maybe you’ll trust the over three million views of his TEDx talk on the science of self-control. Meet Dr. Jonathan Bricker Dr. Jonathan Bricker received extensive training in helping people who struggle with anxiety and substance use addictions, through his PhD program at University of Washington, and through serving as a research therapist in a large National Institute of Health (NIH) trial. Now, he has his own private practice, is the President of the Washington Association of Contextual Behavioral Science, and is a full-time researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he leads a research team conducting cutting-edge clinical trials on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and smoking cessation.
71 minutes | Mar 22, 2019
Kelly Koerner on Finding the Edge of What is Known in Research
Dr. Kelly Koerner is currently the Creative Director of the Evidence-Based Practice Institute, a company she founded. Her work combines technology, design thinking, and science to improve mental health care and help clinicians implement evidence-based practices. After graduating from University of Washington, she was one of the earliest pioneers of Dialectical behavior therapy as the first CEO of Behavioral Tech, the main organization responsible for research on DBT and it’s training. After this, rather than going into academia, she instead decided to found a company that could use science to develop products that would allow for scale and public health impact. Part of what I am aiming to do with this podcast is to interview the outliers, the people who take a different approach to their research and career. It’s the outliers that often are the ones from whom we can learn the most groundbreaking strategies and approaches. Kelly is certainly an outlier in terms of how she approaches her research and in terms of her productivity. She is one of my mentors and I love the way that she thinks about research and how to approach it in a way that can make an impact. There’s so much richness in what she says in this episode and I am glad to be able to share it with you.
60 minutes | Feb 15, 2019
E1 - Mike Twohig on Producing Tons of Research While Biking Hundreds of Miles a Week and Having a Family
For this show I interview Dr. Mike Twohig, a professor at Utah State University. I’ve known Mike since the end of graduate school where I first observed the remarkable ways in which he goes about his research. One thing I have always admired is that he somehow manages to be extraordinarily productive, while at the same time living a balanced life. For example, in addition to being an incredibly productive researcher, he’s a devoted family man and has some hobbies that take up many hours of his time each week. I also know that he rarely works on weekends.
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