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2011-2012 Board of Directors

2011-2012 ACBS Board

President: Patricia Bach, Ph.D., lllinois Institute of Technology (US)

President-Elect: Joseph Ciarrochi, Ph.D., University of Wollongong (Australia)

Past President: Robyn Walser, Ph.D., National Center for PTSD (Dissemination and Training Division), VA Palo Alto Healthcare System (US)

Secretary-Treasurer: Sonja Batten, Ph.D., Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (US)

Member-at-large 1 (basic science): Akihiko (Aki) Masuda, Ph.D., Georgia State University (US)

Member-at-large 2: Jason Luoma, Ph.D., Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center (US)

Member-at-large 3: Rikard Wicksell, Ph.D., Karolinska Institute (Sweden)

Member-at-large 4: Matthieu Villatte, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno (US)

Student Representative: Amie Langer, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Iowa (US)


Patricia Bach, Ph.D., lllinois Institute of Technology (US)

Patty Bach is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology training doctoral students of clinical psychology. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Nevada. Research interests include exploring the role of verbal processes in the etiology and treatment of psychopathology, and especially relationships among core ACT processes and psychosis, obesity, and stigma; and understanding symptoms of psychosis in terms of relational frame theory. She provides applied psychological services at the Mid-American Psychological Institute conducting ACT therapy, supervision, consultation and training. Patty is a co-author of ACT in Practice: case conceptualization in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy "ACBS is special. I first became part of the ACT/RFT community while a student at the University of Nevada in the 1990’s. After moving far from the then heart of the ACT community I was thrilled to discover the ACT listserv and connect online with fellow travelers from around the world, and then to see the fledgling group grow into ACBS. I would like to see ACBS continue to innovate in disseminating ACT and RFT, providing web-based and live forums for scientists, practitioners, and students of functional contextualism to ask questions, share ideas and innovations, and provide and receive first-rate training. I’d like to further tap our collective enthusiasm and talent and see more of our membership involved in the functioning of ACBS as we continue to grow. ACBS is special; I’ve been privileged to serve as secretary/treasurer and to help organize and host an ACT summer institute, and I would be honored to serve our community in the role of president."


Joseph Ciarrochi, Ph.D., University of Wollongong, Australia

Dr. Joseph Ciarrochi is an Associate lecturer at University of Wollongong and has been extensively involved in ACT sense 2001. I have authored and edited five books, and over 60 peer reviewed articles related to the promotion of mental health and emotional well-being. I've written a book on integrating ACT with CBT, and am currently working with community members on three books related to adolescence, weight issues, and ACT and positive psychology. I am leading the push to form a new journal for ACBS, a journal that is intended to be of interest to both scientists and practitioners. My main mission is to build a community that can better support people in the field to conduct psychological interventions.

Past President:

Robyn Walser, Ph.D., National Center for PTSD (Dissemination and Training Division), VA Palo Alto Healthcare System (US)

Robyn D. Walser, Ph.D. is Associate Director of Dissemination and Training Division of the National Center for PTSD and Director of TL Consultation Services. As a licensed psychologist, she maintains an international training, consulting and therapy practice. Dr. Walser is an expert in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and has co-authored 3 books on ACT including a book on learning ACT. She has been doing ACT workshops since 1998; training in multiple formats and for multiple client problems. Dr. Walser is also an expert in traumatic stress and has authored a number of articles on this topic and has presented her research findings and papers at international and national conferences. She is invested in developing innovative ways to translate science-into-practice and continues to do research on dissemination of ACT and other therapies. As a member of the ACT/RFT community since 1991, I have been interested in its growth and committed to its values. Since the inception of ACBS I have been dedicated to supporting the organization, serving as Member at Large, serving on the committee to establish guidelines for the recognition of trainers, and serving as Ad Hoc Chair for the committee to develop bylaws for international chapters and SIGs. As president I would continue this service, focusing on growth and larger member involvement in the organization while also looking to address some of the challenges important to the organization such as training and dissemination needs. And, on a more personal note, I am dedicated to this important work that is about a progressive behavioral science that is working to more adequately address the challenge of human suffering…it would be a privilege to serve this community in that endeavor.


Sonja Batten, Ph.D., Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (US)

Sonja Batten, Ph.D., serves on behalf of the Department of Veterans Affairs as the Deputy Director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. She studied ACT with Steve Hayes at the University of Nevada Reno, applying ACT to posttraumatic problems in living, substance abuse, and depression. She was a collaborative study member on the grant evaluating the efficacy of ACT for opiate addiction. She has continued treatment development of ACT for PTSD and PTSD comorbid with substance abuse, and has been fortunate to conduct ACT trainings internationally over the past decade. Statement I have been delighted to serve on the Board of ACBS since its inception in 2006. As Member-At-Large for the past three years, I have had the fun task of working with my esteemed contextual behavioral colleagues to develop a scientific organization like no other. Contributing to the decisions to adopt values-based dues and challenging ourselves to come up with a trainer recognition system that we hope is valid and engaging, being part of this Board of Directors has been a unique opportunity to give back to the community that has given me so much over the years. As Secretary-Treasurer, I would welcome the opportunity to bring my skills at being organized and detail-oriented, as well as my institutional knowledge of ACBS from its roots, to the ongoing collaboration with my ACBS colleagues in bringing our organization to its next levels of development in training, education, research, and practical applications.

Member-at-large 1:

Akihiko (Aki) Masuda, Ph.D.

Aki Masuda is an Assistant Professor at Georgia State University (2007-present). In 2006, he received a Ph.D. in Psychology (Clinical) from University of Nevada, Reno under the supervision of Dr. Steven C. Hayes. To date Aki has published over 40 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters on ACT and related topics. His current research/clinical interests are broad, including the applicability of ACT to ethnically, culturally, and cross-nationally diverse groups of people, stigma and prejudice, disordered eating problems, Zen and Buddhism, and psychological flexibility as a corner stone of behavioral and physical health. Statement: If elected, I would like to primarily focus on two things. First, I will work for ACBS to fill in the gap between applied work and basic work within ACBS. I would like to do so by facilitating and promoting open dialogues among practitioners and researchers. Second, I would like to expand our understanding and practice of ACT within the diverse cultural and cross-national contexts. To date, ACT has been studied and practiced with diverse languages under various cultural contexts (i.e., verbal community). I think this second 2nd focus is important because Understanding ACT in diverse contexts is likely to elucidate the very essence of ACT, and such understanding is likely to bring us into one as a whole. 

Member-at-large 2:

Jason Luoma, Ph.D., Private Practice

Jason Luoma, Ph.D., is Director of Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center. After discovering ACT in 1997, he moved to Reno where he trained with Steven Hayes as an intern and early career psychologist. He has published over a dozen articles related to ACT, a book on ACT, and co-authored two successful NIH grants on stigma. His current research focuses on stigma and shame in addictive behavior along with a secondary focus on training and dissemination. As director of a center dedicated to promoting evidence-based practice, he supervises a postdoctoral fellowship in ACT and provides training locally and internationally. He also maintains an active clinical practice.

Statement: The ACBS community has inspired me like no other professional community I have ever participated in. I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to contribute to ACBS as director of the first ACT Summer Training Institute and the 8th ACBS World Conference, a founding member of the ACBS Training Committee, and current chair of the ACBS Training Committee. I hope to continue my service as member at large. As both a researcher and clinician, one of my priorities is to support conversation and sharing between basic researchers and clinicians who apply basic principles in their work every day. As a business person, I hope to be more involved in the financial decisions of ACBS, to help this relatively new organization utilize its money wisely and efficiently. And as a human being (and enthusiastic contributor to the follies), I will work to foster a sense of community where all can feel they are contributing to something larger than themselves.

Member-at-large 3:

Rikard Wicksell, Ph.D., Karolinska Institute (Sweden)

Rikard K. Wicksell, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist, a clinical researcher at the Behavioral Medicine Pain Treatment Service, Karolinska University Hospital and Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm, Sweden. Since 2001, he has, in collaboration with colleagues, developed a treatment approach based on ACT for children, adolescents, and adults with chronic pain. Today, clinical activities involve both therapeutic work and supervision of psychologists, physicians, nurses, and physiotherapists. Ongoing research is primarily focused on further development of the clinical model, and includes treatment evaluations, measurement development, and analyses of change processes, as well as RFT-oriented lab-research (IRAP). He also spends time writing empirical papers and book chapters. Rikard is frequently running lectures and workshops in various settings, such as the clinical training programs for psychologists and physicians, and is continuously presenting research findings at international and national conferences. "ACBS is important for future progress within the science of psychology in general and behavior therapy in particular. The aspiration and efforts seen among those who formed this community has been reflected in the growth of clinical and empirical work conducted in clinics and departments worldwide. During the last decade, a theoretical and empirical platform has been established. Nevertheless, the ACBS community should take an active role also in further development, requiring more, larger, better, and different studies. This includes studies to clarify the relationship between RFT and ACT processes, large RCT’s with cost-effectiveness analyses and long term follow-up, and identification of predictors, moderators, and mediators. Psychological inflexibility represents a barrier for valued living and effective behaviors in many different settings. ACBS should work to increase research and development in subgroups less attended to, including children. Furthermore, we should encourage international collaborations for several reasons: multi-center studies are eagerly awaited, more ideas will be shared and created, and it will be fun. As member at large, I hope to contribute to the organization by discussing strategies to support ACBS members in conducting more and better research, implement clinical interventions, as well as receive and provide good training."

Member-at-large 4:

Matthieu Villatte, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno (US)

Matthieu Villatte, PhD, is a French post-doctoral fellow at the University of Nevada, Reno, in Steve Hayes’ lab. He conducted his doctoral research in Relational Frame Theory on deictic relational responding in psychosis and has published a series of papers and chapters in RFT and ACT. Among his current interests are the use of perspective-taking to enhance mindfulness, empathy and self-compassion, and the use of ACT processes in prevention interventions. He is also dedicated to the linking of RFT to ACT in research and clinical settings. Also trained as an ACT therapist, Matthieu currently co-writes a French ACT Handbook and conducts workshops in France and in the USA. "As a member-at-large, I will work at building links between ACT and other approaches to clinical psychology. ACT is a good candidate for integrating other models by remaining open and providing solid empirical analyses. However, this requires flexibility in our way of speaking with fellows coming from different traditions. I will use my experience in research and clinical practice with professionals coming from various orientations (CBT, Behavior Analysis, psychoanalysis, neuroscience, etc.) to help at spreading contextual behavioral science outside our association. As both a basic researcher and a clinician, I will also contribute to linking relationships between basic research in RFT and ACT applications. Fantastic studies are being conducted in different labs all over the world and can be directly relevant to clinicians’ practice. I believe it is crucial to improve exchanges between these two branches of ACBS."

Student Representative:

Amie Langer, University of Iowa

Amie Langer is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Iowa where she has received training in ACT, DBT, and FAP under the supervision of Dr. James Marchman. She will be starting a one year clinical internship in the Adult CBT track at Duke University Medical Center in the summer of 2011. Her interests include examining the processes of change in third-wave therapies, particularly as they relate to social and interpersonal functioning in treatment-resistant populations, and engaging in research, consulting, and teaching efforts to promote the development and dissemination of effective interventions. She is currently examining the ability of ACT-based group interventions to reduce psychological and physical aggression in clinical and forensic populations. She is collaborating with the Judicial Branch, the Coalition against Domestic Violence, and the Department of Corrections in the state of Iowa to apply ACT to the development of a new, empirically-supported intervention for court-mandated domestic violence offenders. She will continue training facilitators, collecting process and outcome data, and disseminating this new program over the next several years.

I am committed to the purpose and philosophy of contextual behavioral science in my life and work. I hope to become more involved in the ACBS learning and research community as Student Representative. ACBS has been an invaluable source of support and inspiration throughout my graduate training, and I aim to facilitate student involvement and connection to this outstanding community and all it has to offer.


The ACBS bylaws say:

The officers of the Association shall consist of a President, President-Elect, Past-President, Secretary-Treasurer, a student representative, and four Members-at-Large of the Board of Directors. Each shall perform the usual duties of the respective office and specific duties provided elsewhere in these Bylaws or as assigned by the Board of Directors. Elections for officers shall be held every year. The President, President-Elect, Past-President, and student representative shall each serve a one-year term and may not hold any other offices within the Association. The Members-at-Large shall be elected every two years. In each two-year cycle one of the Members-at-Large shall have a strong background and interest in basic science relevant to the purposes of the Association. The Secretary-Treasurer shall serve a three year term.

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