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2013-2014 Board of Directors

2013-2014 ACBS Board

Sonja V. Batten, Ph.D., United States Department of Veterans Affairs and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USA)

President - Elect:
Jason Luoma, Ph.D., Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center (USA)

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

Secretary Treasurer:
Daniel "D.J." Moran, Ph.D., Pickslyde Consulting (USA)

Member at Large 1:
Mary Sawyer, Psychologist, One to One Counselling and Education (Australia)

Member at Large 2 (basic science):
Michael P. Twohig, Ph.D., Utah State University (USA)

Member at Large 3 (basic science):
Ian Stewart, Ph.D., NUI Galway (Ireland)

Member at Large 4:
Louise Hayes, Ph.D., University of Melbourne (Australia)

Student Representative:
Rawya Al-Jabari, M.S., University of North Texas (USA)

The Bios and Platform statements for the new board members are below:


Sonja V. Batten, Ph.D.
United States Department of Veterans Affairs and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USA)

I began my Contextual Behavioral Science studies in Reno in 1994 and have served ACBS as a board member for the past 6 years. I hold a leadership position in an ACBS Chapter, serve on multiple committees and was the Director for the 2005 Conference. As an original board Member-at-Large, I participated in the creation of the founding policies and procedures for ACBS; as Secretary-Treasurer since 2009, I have worked extremely closely with our Executive Director and board to ensure financial stability, analyzing when to be fiscally conservative and when to take calculated risks for our society’s growth. In my day job, I lead national mental health policy development for the largest integrated health care system in the U.S. and have learned how to balance strategic thinking with ensuring accountability and successful execution of immediate plans. Based on my ACBS experience and my professional career, I believe that I am uniquely experienced to be able to move the organization forward. Now that our society has over 5,000 members, we must learn to foster expansion without losing what is special about ACBS – our values, community, and international connections. If elected, I will promote organizational development that provides ACBS with the structures to be successful in the long-term while encouraging processes that increase personal connections, commitment, and collaboration. I feel that I have more of myself to give to our community, and I would be honored to be chosen as President to serve the brilliant, creative members of ACBS who inspire me.

President- Elect

Jason Luoma, Ph.D.
Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center (USA)

Jason Luoma is a clinical psychologist, entrepreneur-scientist, and director of the Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center in Portland, Oregon, USA. His career has taken an unconventional path. After discovering ACT and behavior analysis toward the end of graduate school, he took a leap of faith in moving to Reno to become a member of Steve Hayes’ lab. He remained in Reno for four years as an intern and grant funded early-career psychologist. When he saw that federal funding possibilities for psychosocial research in the United States were drying up, he decided to use his entrepreneurial, business, marketing, and organizational skills to establish a stable line of research funding based on business revenue. The result was Portland Psychotherapy, a research and training clinic that uses an innovative business model to fund substantial clinical research and an ongoing postdoctoral research fellowship.

In terms of research, Jason’s interests focus on contextual behavioral science approaches to stigma, shame, self-compassion, and the training of evidence-based practices. This research has resulted in over two dozen articles and chapters related to ACT, a book on ACT (Learning ACT), and two successful co-authored NIH grants on stigma. He also is an internationally recognized ACT trainer and has traveled around the globe providing trainings, including Europe, Asia, and Australia, in addition to North America.

Jason has actively served ACBS since the organization began. He served as director (and instigator) of the first ACT Summer Training Institute, program director of the eighth ACBS World Conference, a founding member of the ACBS Training Committee, and past chair of the ACBS Training Committee. He currently serves as a member-at-large on the ACBS board, a member of the conference strategy committee, and president of the stigma SIG. Most importantly, he is a very active contributor to the ACBS follies where he most enjoys showing video and audio creations that he develops with other staff at Portland Psychotherapy.

Statement: We are at a very important time in the development of ACBS. As ACBS president, I will work to support ACBS in rising to the challenge of burgeoning public and professional interest in contextual behavioral science while maintaining the values that have allowed us to progress so far -- values of openness, scientific rigor, and collegiality.

As someone who has been intimately involved in ACBS operations for many years, I understand the organization from the inside and believe I have a good sense for where the organization needs further development. As both a researcher and clinician, I have the skills to support ongoing collaboration and conversation between basic researchers and applied professionals who use these principles in their work every day. As a small business owner, I have the financial and organizational skills to help guide the growth of the ACBS central office and help our organization be effective and efficient with the use of our growing budget. As an entrepreneur, I have the skills in marketing needed to develop effective and reliable campaigns that can increase the reach of contextual behavior science and bring more people into ACBS. And as a human being, I am persistently working to foster a sense of community where all have the opportunity to contribute to something larger than themselves. I will bring all these skills to bear if I am elected ACBS president.

I thought long and hard about whether I would be willing to set aside the substantial time it would take to be the kind of ACBS president I want to be. I only decided to run after I concluded that I am ready and willing to make the kind of time investment that matches the responsibility of the position. I am ready to serve and would be honored to be president of the organization that I see as my professional home.

Past 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.

Secretary Treasurer

Daniel "D.J." Moran, Ph.D.
Pickslyde Consulting (USA)

Since 1994, I have dedicated the heart of my work toward the Contextual Behavioral Sciences. I served in volunteer and appointed positions aimed at our organization’s mission, including elected Member-At-Large for the ACBS Board. Other highlights include serving on the inaugural Recognized ACTrainer committee, co-directing the 2008 ACT Summer Institute, and currently serving on our Continuing Education Board. I’ve held leadership positions in related organizations, including President of the Behavior Analysis Society of Illinois. My career prepared me to significantly contribute to ACBS as Secretary-Treasurer. Because I value helping people, I founded the MidAmerican Psychological Institute and Pickslyde Consulting. I also directed a non-profit community center for five years and staffed it with ACT practitioners. These enterprises provided services for thousands of people, and income and opportunities for ACBS members. These ventures succeed because I commit time to accounting, balancing books, paying therapists and the various financial concerns of these ACT-based businesses. I actually enjoy quarterly meetings with my accountant, read Harvard Business Review as avidly as Behavior Therapy, and get a geeky rush of excitement when QuickBooks tells me that my company ledgers reconciled! If elected, I’ll blend my ACT skills and business acumen to optimize ACBS’s financial status so we can actively broaden our mission to more fully address the challenges of the human condition. I will investigate the feasibility of getting Developing Nations Fund donations to be tax-deductible, oversee the growth of student scholarships, and contribute my ideas for reducing operating costs to preserve our organization’s future.

Member at Large 1

Mary Sawyer, Psychologist
One to One Counselling and Education (Australia)

I am a psychologist working in private practice in Sydney Australia since 1997. I was a Registered Nurse in a former life with years of clinical experience in critical care in Sydney hospitals. Later I completed my Psychology qualifications at Macquarie University. Before setting up private practice, I lectured in psychology and psychosocial care at University of Western Sydney (UWS) and Australian Catholic University ACU National in Australia and Hong Kong. My portfolio of duties included research, curriculum development, teaching and administration of offshore teaching in Hong Kong. In the past, I have been successfully contracted to a range of New South Wales (NSW) state government organisations to develop and facilitate curriculum using ACT based processes for drug and alcohol programs. Since 2003, I have been facilitating introductory ACT workshops, and conduct ACT talks for Mental Health Professionals and General Practitioners across Sydney. I am well known for my work in the local community of ACT practitioners and have hosted an ACT discussion group for several years and give free public lectures to large audiences on ACT. My latest challenge is teaching Relational Frame Theory (RFT) to our monthly ACT group. By being part of the ACBS board, I would continue to promote my passion for training and the professional development of others, especially those regions that are disadvantaged by distance and resources, such as country areas of Australia and developing nations in the South East Asian regions. I see role as a promoter of quality ACT training in collaboration with the latest research and RFT.

Member at Large 2 (basic science)

Michael P. Twohig, Ph.D.
Utah State University (USA)

I received my B.A. in Psychology and M.S. in Behavior Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno, and completed my clinical internship in the CBT track at the University of British Columbia. I am a licensed psychologist in Utah and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Utah State University. I run a research laboratory and a university based clinic that focuses on using ACT and exposure therapy to treat anxiety disorders. I also do translational research on basic behavioral principles. I have published over 70 scholarly works including two books. My research is funded through multiple sources including the NIMH and International OCD Foundation. I have participated in ACBS since its beginning and watched it grow at an amazing rate. Two of the things that I believe makes ACBS special are its openness to new members and ideas and its strong scientific foundation. I feel that if we keep an open mind, allow new and contradictory ideas to exist within this organization, but hold scientific ways of knowing high regard, that ACBS will grow in a sound way for many years. I am proud of many of the new things that are occurring in ACBS such as the journal and the research grants. I am offering my services to help the organization grow in similar ways that are consistent with the values of the organization.

Member at Large 3 (basic science)

Ian Stewart, Ph.D.
NUI Galway (Ireland)

I've been a member of faculty at NUI Galway since August, 2002. A core area of my research has involved developing and evaluating behavior analytic and especially Relational Frame Theory based procedures for training and assessing derived relational responding in children and adults and in both typically developing as well as developmentally delayed populations. I'm a member of several behavioral science associations (e.g., Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group) in addition to the ACBS.

I share the values of ACBS and I've gotten a lot from membership down through the years and hope I've contributed too. If given the opportunity to contribute in terms of decision making I'd push for more promotion of RFT and empirical work in ACBS meaning more RFT research at ACBS conferences and more emphasis on supporting international collaboration in terms of both research and teaching of RFT.

Member at Large 4

Louise Hayes, Ph.D.
University of Melbourne (Australia)

My involvement in ACBS has been life changing. I love that we have this incredible model for helping humans find their way -- one that it is based on science. I am an academic at Orygen Youth Health Research Centre at the University of Melbourne, an ACT peer reviewed trainer, private practitioner, and co-author of an ACT book for teens. I am committed to our future generations and supporting our young people to achieve their potential. I was introduced to ACT in 2003, and became a member of ACBS shortly after its inception. Within ACBS, I am the President Elect of the Australian and New Zealand Chapter, a member of the Training Committee, the Conference Strategy Committee, the Developing Nations Committee, and Program Chair for the Sydney World Conference.

Statement: I would be humbled and honoured to serve on the ACBS board, and would focus on developing our community within our scientific framework. ACBS has seen wonderful growth in membership and I see this as a major challenge for the board. Our rapid growth can bring disconnection, and yet I know we value our community connection so much. It seems timely to me that evolution science has become an important influence within ACBS, I would seek to use our knowledge of group behaviours to focus on how we can stay connected as a community, while we grow SIGs and Chapters, while we grow our scientific interests, and while we expand our training and networking.

Student Representative

Rawya Al-Jabari, M.S.
University of North Texas (USA)

I am in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of North Texas. I was born in Palestine, but grew up in Texas. Mental health was (and is) a taboo topic in my culture; yet, I was drawn to this profession despite the disproval of my family and relatives. At first, I wanted to “fix” and take away pain and suffering. Then, my mentor Dr. Murrell introduced me to functional contextualism and ACT and I learned that people do not need “fixing,” they have everything they need within themselves to attain their desired life. ACT has made a difference for me and I hope to make a difference for others through ACT.

Statement: In order to spread the functional contextualism and ACT philosophy there needs to be open communication between the future consumers (i.e., students) and those in charge. I hope to help facilitate the communication between the two bodies in order to meet the needs and concerns of the ACBS student members. I have done something similar to this as the clinical student representative at UNT, where I serve as the intermediate container of information between the clinical students and the clinical faculty to help bring forward changes and improvements in our program. I am confident that I can give a voice to concerns to enhance student involvement in the ACBS community.

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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