2020-2021 Board of Directors

2020-2021 Board of Directors

2020-2021 ACBS Board

Lisa Coyne, Harvard Medical School (USA)

President - Elect:
Miranda Morris, Ph.D., Founder, True North Therapy and Training (USA)

Past President:
Dennis Tirch, Ph.D., The Center for Compassion Focused Therapy (USA)

Secretary Treasurer:
Maria Karekla, Ph.D., University of Cyprus (Cyprus)

Member at Large 1:
Jenna LeJeune, Ph.D., Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, and Training Center (USA)

Member at Large 2 (basic science):
Diana Ferroni Bast, National University of Ireland Galway (Ireland)

Member at Large 3 (basic science):
Lance McCracken, Ph.D., Uppsala University (Sweden)

Member at Large 4:
Jill Stoddard, The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management (USA)

Student Representative:
Lam Ching Yee, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong)

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


Lisa Coyne, Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School (USA)

Lisa Coyne is a Founding member of ACBS, an ACBS Fellow, a former vice-president of the New England Chapter of ACBS, and currently serves as Member-at-Large. In 2014, after becoming a tenured Associate Professor at Suffolk University's Clinical Psychology Doctoral program, she joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School as Assistant Professor and founded the OCD Institute for Children and Adolescents at McLean Hospital. In 2017, she began the New England Center for OCD and Anxiety (NECOA). She is a licensed psychologist and a peer-reviewed ACT trainer. Her research and writing focuses on ACT with children, adolescents, and parents. She lives in Boston with her partner John, her son Rory, and two crazy dogs. Her daughter Josie studies Biology in college. Lisa enjoys making a difference in the world, one kid at a time, and a good laugh at herself.
ACBS is a loving, compassionate community of scientists and practitioners. As we grow and diversify, we have an opportunity to create a stronger organization. To do so, we must be strategic; grounded and visionary at the same time.
I want us to make ACBS an equitable, inclusive, global home that values and empowers all of its members. There is an Ubuntu saying – I am because we are. It is in our differences that we will discover our strength.
I want us to nurture young scientists by funding innovative science, and to support clinicians by developing standards for excellent practice. I want us to develop streamlined ways of giving scientists and clinicians better access to our collective resources.
I want us to better disseminate our science through expanding our digital presence and skill in technology, communication, and public relations. Fellow travelers, with kindness and admiration, let’s help ACBS thrive.


President- Elect

Miranda Morris, Ph.D.
Founder, True North Therapy and Training 

I am a psychologist in private practice just outside Washington, D.C. In 2010, after a few years of trying to build a private practice, I stumbled on my local ACBS community. Finding my tribe changed everything. Within a year, we had founded the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of ACBS. Committed to disseminating ACT, our chapter holds multiple workshops each year, provides free training to students, and has grown to well over 250 members. In 2016, I found the courage to step up and serve at the next level of ACBS and have since had the honor of serving on the Chapter & SIG and DEI Committees as well as the Women’s SIG Board. In 2018, I was honored to join our community of peer-reviewed ACT trainers, and I began service as Member at Large on the ACBS Board. My passion is building the ACBS community locally and globally.

Statement: In Improv, players start each show by patting each others’ backs and promising "I've got your back!” In this way, we let each person know that we'll be there to support them and make them shine. It’s not about the individual - it’s about the team and our collective power to lift each other up. On a larger scale, it is this promise, this commitment to one another that we need in order to realize the four pillars of our ACBS Strategic Plan: nurturing community, centering science, enhancing competency, and expanding our presence. The pillars are designed to grow ACBS and disseminate our science in the service of alleviating human suffering. To do this, we’ll need to have each others’ backs - all of them - the powerful, the published, the underrepresented, the disconnected, the disadvantaged. All of us. Let’s keep building an ACBS in which we all have each others’ backs.

Past President

Dennis Tirch, Ph.D.
The Center for Compassion Focused Therapy (USA)

Dr. Tirch is the Founder and Director of The Center for Compassion Focused Therapy, and President of The Compassionate Mind Foundation USA. Dr. Tirch also serves as an Associate Clinical Professor at Icahn Medical School at Mt. Sinai, NY. He is a co-author of 6 books, and numerous chapters and peer reviewed articles on ACT, CFT & CBT. Dr. Tirch is a Fellow of ACBS; Diplomate, Fellow & Certified Consultant & Trainer for The Academy of Cognitive Therapy; Founding Fellow and the Past-President of The NYC-CBT Association; Founding Past-President of The New York City Chapter of ACBS; and Founding Past-President of the Compassion Focused SIG of ACBS. Dr. Tirch is an Associate Editor of The Journal of Contextual Behavioral Therapy. He has served on the faculty of Cornell Weill Medical College and Albert Einstein Medical School. Dr. Tirch regularly conducts ACT and CFT trainings, consultation & workshops globally.

By 2020, ACT can be a household word throughout the world. ACT is arguably the most advanced and comprehensively researched form of evidence based psychotherapy, yet it remains little known outside of psychological science. My aim is to help our community to radically expand public awareness of CBS, ACT & related technologies like CFT, FAP & RFT, so that people the world over will know there is a wiser and scientifically stronger way to address their suffering. We face a global mental health crisis, and political movements that threaten pro-sociality, compassion and altruism. The CBS community is uniquely well armed with the tools, talent and heart needed to address these problems. We can no longer afford to keep these advances out of the public eye. The successful realization of this mission will generate exponential growth of public awareness of CBS through a coordinated and international media, implementation and dissemination effort

Secretary Treasurer

Maria Karekla, Ph.D.
University of Cyprus (Cyprus)

Maria is a licensed clinical psychologist, Assistant Professor, chairing the Clinical Psychology Doctorate program and the “ACThealthy” laboratory at the University of Cyprus. She completed her doctorate from the University at Albany, SUNY and her residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Her research focuses on health promotion and the investigation of individual difference factors as they relate to the development and maintenance of behavioural difficulties. She examines the treatment of these difficulties utilizing CBS interventions and innovative delivery methods (e.g., digitalized interventions, virtual reality). Her research received awards from: European Council and Pompidou’s group, ABCT, and Society of Behavioral Medicine; and grants from national and EU funds. She is chairing the Cyprus Bioethics Committee, is a member of the Psychologist Licensing Board, and the European Federation of Psychology Associations’ Psychology and Health and e-health task forces. In the past two years she served as a member-at-large of ACBS.

“As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery…” (Kavafis)
Growing up in the island of Cyprus, I had Kavafis’ poems and his allegorical meanings deeply influencing my choices in life. These same meanings I have found in the ACBS community, which drew me to this work, the organization and its people. I have been a part of ACBS almost from its inception and I have tried to serve the association through various capacities: serving on conference committees, boards of various SIGs, becoming an ACT trainer, starting the Cyprus-Greece ACBS chapter, and serving on the ACBS executive board as member-at-large. My experiences, my drive and love for this association and the group of individuals who constitute it, will enable me to continue to serve ACBS from the post of secretary/treasurer, with continued fervor towards excellence.

Member at Large 1

Jenna LeJeune, Ph.D.
Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, and Training Center

I have been an active member of ACBS since its founding in 2005. I am a peer-reviewed ACT trainer, a supervisor, and co-founder and President of Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, and Training Center. I am also co-author of the book Values in Therapy. I am the founding President of the Oregon Chapter of ACBS and serve on the ACT Training Committee. And at my heart, I am primarily a therapist. But if you know me, hopefully you will know me as someone who is guided by my values. Those values tell you more about who I am than any list of accomplishments or roles. I am committed to being someone whose actions are in the service of welcoming connection, inclusivity, open-hearted generosity, compassion, gracious warmth, and kindness. These are the things that matter most to me about who I am and what I do in this world.

Statement: As a clinician, I have seen ACT transform lives. However, ACBS is broader than ACT, and we have an opportunity to harness our diversity of perspectives and talents to have a much larger impact on the world. If elected, I would work toward inclusive connection as part of implementing the board’s three-year strategic plan. I believe we can improve the effectiveness and productivity of our committees by connecting members who want to be involved but haven’t found a way to contribute or maybe haven’t felt welcomed. I want to help ACBS become more connected with the broader professional and public community by expanding and improving our digital presence. And as more people around the world become trained in ACT, I want to ensure that those trainings remain connected to the science underlying our technologies while also honoring diversity. I would be honored to help serve our community in these ways.

Member at Large 2 (basic science)

Diana Ferroni Bast, Ph.D.
Trinity College Dublin

I’m a Brazilian/Italian BCBA, clinical psychologist, and researcher presently living in Ireland. I started my career working and researching in the psychiatric hospital of São Paulo University. In 2011, I did my doctorate in Maynooth University under the supervision of Professor Dermot Barnes-Holmes and then did postdoctoral research under the supervision of Dr. Celso Goyos (UFSCAR, Brazil) in collaboration with Dr. Ian Stewart (NUI Galway). Recently, I’ve become course director of the Applied Behavior Analysis Masters program in Trinity College Dublin. I’m interested in the dynamic interaction between basic and applied research and have worked in a number of areas of RFT/ACT focus including the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), hierarchical relational framing, Prosocial, RFT analysis of ACT processes and translational research. My work has been funded by various agencies (FAPESP, BEPE, CAPES, Enterprise Ireland) and has involved collaboration with a variety of international researchers and a multidisciplinary team.

Statement: My experience as a researcher and clinician, and as a member of different overlapping scientific communities (Behavior Analysis and ACBS), as well as of diverse national chapters within ACBS (Brazil and UK) gives me extensive perspective on the challenges faced by researchers in terms of research priorities, conference attendance, community involvement, and issues of inclusion. The future of our community lies in actively working on creating bridges between basic and applied science, and between different communities and in fostering a democratic science. I will help achieve this through support of members and sponsors via several initiatives including (i) developing an accessible online conference (ii) developing programs for assistance in writing funding grants (iii) promoting members’ participation and discussion, especially of those from developing countries (iv) promoting new online channels to support international cooperation and collaboration (v) promoting greater accessibility of RFT to a broad public including especially investors.

Member at Large 3 (basic science)

Lance McCracken, Ph.D.
Uppsala University (Sweden)
I have been a member of ACBS for over 13 years and have been involved in the work of CBS for more than 20 years. My current position is as Professor of Clinical Psychology at Uppsala University. I am also visiting professor at King’s College London and Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist the INPUT pain management centre at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. I sit on the editorial boards for numerous journals in the fields of pain and clinical health psychology, including The Journal of Pain, Health Psychology, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Journal of Behavioral Medicine, and European Journal of Pain, where I am Psychology Section Editor. My main work is clinical research and have published over 250 scientific articles and chapters, and two books, most of these on treatment development for chronic pain, and most based on CBS and psychological flexibility.
ACBS is an organization made up of many related parts, including those who are clinical researchers employed by universities. This part I particularly wish to support and represent within the organization. From 25 years’ experience as a clinician, researcher, and educator, and having worked and lived in the US, the UK, and Sweden, I believe that I have experience to share and useful perspectives to offer. This is to address such challenges as how to keep an organization such as ours, with its many parts, integrated, true to its principles and its commitments, and evolving, through science and research. I would like to see more young scientists and clinical academics within ACBS succeed, produce high impact research results, receive promotions, and move up the academic ranks within universities, become leaders within their institutions, and then support others to do the same.


Member at Large 4

Jill Stoddard, Ph.D.
The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management (USA)
Jill Stoddard is the founder and director of The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management, a multi-site outpatient psychotherapy clinic specializing in ACT and CBT for anxiety and related issues. Dr. Stoddard received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Boston University where she trained at the highly regarded Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders under the leadership of Dr. David Barlow and mentorship of Dr. Stefan Hofmann. She completed her APA accredited internship and post-doctoral fellowship at UCSD’s School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. She is an award-winning teacher and peer-reviewed ACT trainer. She has coauthored articles on ACT, CBT, anxiety, trauma, and pain. She also coauthored The Big Book of ACT Metaphors: A Clinician’s Guide to Experiential Exercises and Metaphors in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; her second book, Be Mighty: A Woman’s Guide to Mastering Anxiety, Worry, and Stress Using Mindfulness and Acceptance, will be published in January 2020.
Though I have been a burgeoning ACT nerd since 2002, I didn’t discover ACBS until 2014, when I attended my first ACBS World Conference. This experience opened my eyes to the way a professional organization can and should be—welcoming, egalitarian, cutting edge, and FUN! Since that time, I have looked for opportunities to get more involved: I became a recognized ACT trainer, volunteered for the Awards committee, joined the Women’s SIG and SoCal chapter, and agreed to review conference submissions. I have also seen the community grow and, at times, struggle to maintain its spirit of inclusivity. I would be honored to serve as MAL in hopes of giving back to the organization that has given so much to me. I would like to help revitalize our sense of connection, caring, equality, and community while building our public presence so we may continue to grow and share CBS and practice.


Student Representative

Lam Ching Yee
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Ching-yee Lam is a doctoral candidate in School of Nursing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Also, she is a senior lecturer in the School of Nursing and Health studies at The Open University of Hong Kong. She got her Bachelor of Nursing from La Trobe University, and Master of Nursing and Master of Philosophy at The University of Hong Kong. Her PhD thesis focuses on developing and evaluating ACT applications for promoting mental wellbeing in university nurse learners. With raising rates of stress in people and resulting human suffering, she is interested in researching ACT as an intervention for general public at primary care setting. She has been a member of ACBS for over four years and has attended three previous World Conference. Also, she is a member of Asian Culture and CBS SIG, China Chapter and Hong Kong Chapter.

Statement: I am passionate about researching and translating theoretical knowledge into applied practices. Apart from attending the World Conference, while there are experts of contextual behavioral science in the community, I always curious about what student members could learn more from them. Also, I wonder how to bring CBS more accessible and relevant to people of different background. To achieve this, my goal is to build networks and supports for student members to collaborate on researching and to share resources amongst members. With a dual identity of a university teaching faculty and a part-time PhD student, as a student representative, I hope to facilitate students’ growth in the field of contextual behavioral science and to help increase students’ engagement 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.

ACBS staff