Elections 2015 Candidates

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Maarten Aalberse, PsyD, for President: 

"I'm a clinical psychologist, practicing as psychotherapist since 1976, first in Holland and from 1995 onwards in France, and have during that time very frequently experienced the richness, importance and at times challenges of working together with physicians. One of my saving graces has probably been that my therapeutic approach has always been « body-oriented » and relied heavily on the application of recent findings in psychophysiology and neuroscience, - so the docs and I had at least in part a common language. Because before I encountered ACT I have been deeply involved in a Paris-based « Institute of Environmental Medecine », where I taught and practiced neuro-cognitive behavior therapy as well as noticing and utilising shifts in prosodic, postural/gestural and breathing-patterns, it was only « natural » that I got involved in the Contextual Medicine SIG, almost from its beginning.
As other members of the CM-SIG know, it felt at first less « natural » to present my candidature as president, but when I learned that other candidates for the board have the skills that I lack, this hesitation evaporated. I will continue to work closely together with Ellen Lewis and the other SIG-members, in the hope that this SIG continues to grow as a supportive and stimulating community, which welcomes a « grounded » diversity in perspectives and practices.
One of my dreams is to facilitate the co-creation of a reader on Contextual Medicine."


Thomas Holmes, MSW, for Member at Large: 

"Who I am:
I am 47 year old father, spouse and social worker. I have been working in psychiatry for the past 16 years as a social worker and therapist. For the past 11 years I have been doing this role in a first episode psychosis program in Montreal, a clinic with a large output of research, most of which I am indirectly involved in. Prior to my career as a social worker I studied at the Master’s level in anthropology, specifically transcultural psychiatry and anthropology of psychiatry at Université de Montréal and McGill University.

Why I am interested in CM SIG:
I have been interested in health (especially nutritional health), public health, and services, as well as understanding social and cultural contexts that shape these areas for a very long time. My position has always been to emphasize areas that can be changed such as personal sense of meaning, caring families and communities, economic and social inclusion, and democracy, as opposed to the less changeable determinants, such as genetics.
I have found in the contextual medicine special interest group an interesting forum for open discussion and contribution that contextualizes socially, psychologically, biologically aspects of health and health care. What I find most significant in that is that it is a community of practitioners who are also grappling with these questions and try to do so in an open, safe attitude where all can share with, care for, and hear each other. To do so with this common set of values as well as a common conceptual tool kit is very helpful and engaging.

What I hope to contribute:
I hope to contribute is a great range of interests and knowledge, and a love for productive, welcoming dialogue that moves us all forward. This comes from a place of valuing the contributions of all and the enthusiasm of learning from everyone. I also have a number of interesting contacts whomI hope to bring into our conversations."


Trym Nordstrand Jacobsen, PsyD., for Member at Large: 

"I'm 38 years old, living with my two daughters in Molde, Norway. My work has mainly been clinical for several years, but over the last few years I've done more and more implementation and training/supervision work as well. I've mainly worked within mental health/psychiatric settings (in and out patient), but also within chronic pain rehabilitation settings and habilitation settings. One of my main interests is in implementing and integrating a shared collaborative functional contextual understanding and approach within multidisciplinary treatment settings and across treatment systems. Developing inpatient psychiatric treatment programs where the milieu-therapy and social/family network focus is front and center (as opposed to being just a supplement or practicality for standard psychotherapy and/or medical treatment) is one example.

I would like to help CM SIG to further evolve through fruitful conversations on the Listserv, and I would love to see written work about CM being done, especially some first attempts at clarifying what kind of functions we would like the term CM to have- what is it/what are we trying to get at under that umbrella/term?"

Adrienne Lapidos, PhD, for Member at Large: 

"I'm licensed clinical psychologist and an Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. One of my roles here is to direct the University of Michigan certificate program in Integrated Behavioral Health and Primary Care. My clinical practice background includes community-based primary care and recovery-oriented psychosocial rehabilitation through the Veterans Health Administration. My clinical and research interests include integrated primary care, recovery- and wellness-oriented systems of care for people living with Schizophrenia, and adaptation of ACT principles and values for use by peer providers. One of the strengths of this SIG is its ability to bring together a multidisciplinary group of professionals in discussion of complex and sometimes controversial issues. Over the years, being a listserv reader (mostly lurker, occasional contributor) has tremendously enriched my own teaching, research, and practice. I welcome the opportunity to give back by serving this community as member-at-large and to help support an open, rigorous, and intellectually omnivorous dialogue."


Ellen Lewis, MD, continuing as Past President:

“I’m a psychiatrist, semi-retired after 32 years in private outpatient practice, in Denver, Colorado, USA. Originally boarded in pediatrics, I then did a combined residency/fellowship in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry, all at the medical center in Denver. Early on, I worked in a community mental health setting using alternative homes for seriously ill patients instead of hospitalization. I was the psychiatrist in University of Denver Student Health Service, doing medication eval. and management, and also supervising PsyD students. I’ve been involved in liaison work with primary and medical specialists, and in training communication skills with early medical students. In my practice, my interest is in iatrogenic harm of psychiatric over-pathologizing, and in anxiety disorders of all kinds, especially body-focussed repetitive behaviors. My model is CBS, since I discovered ACT in 2005.

I started the Contextual Medicine listserve, then this SIG, to encourage nonviolent communications for bridging across widely different paradigms, and sometimes divisively opposed perspectives, between CBS and medical/biological fields. I’ve been thrilled to see these conversations developing already, and I’m keen to help as I can, to support the SIG as you continue to strengthen and travel these bridges, toward improved integrated care by all disciplines, clearer science, and global dissemination.“

Josephine Loftus, MD, for Vice President/President-Elect:

"I have been working as a psychiatrist in a mood disorder unit in Monaco, situated in the South of France since 2000. Prior to that, I practiced in several different countries in different health settings. I work within a multidisciplinary team which has been very motivated and enthusiastic about integrating ACT into the day to day routine of the unit alongside more biological approaches. One of my objectives has been to foster a more humane approach to care and integrating ACT has been extremely beneficial in this sense , both for staff and patients , through its egalitarian approach and emphasis on values and compassion. Increasing specialisation and economic pressures with protocol driven practices are squeezing the human element out of health care and ACT through it humanistic, contextual approach provides a great counterbalance to this tendency. From my personal and professional experience and also from messages posted on the CM site, it is evident how important it is to be considered as a whole person and not just a diseased organ when unwell.

I have been a member of the CM SIG since 2012 and have been amazed and left breathless by the diversity of subjects, perspectives and disciplines within this group. Although diverse, I have also been impressed by the processes that are common to what seem like very different disciplines.
As vice president I would be delighted to continue the work of Ellen Lewis in building an open, safe and stimulating community where members share experiences and views without hesitation. I am also very interested in drawing out common processes that run through the CM posts and eventually with interested members from different areas, work at publishing a book on contextual medicine. Most of all I am very interested in emphasising the importance of the human element in medicine and I feel that the CM SIG is a wonderful place in which to do that.
I would be very happy if SIG members consider me (or not) as vice president for the CM SIG."


Staci Martin, PhD, continuing as Programs Chair: 

"I am a licensed psychologist who specializes in using mindfulness and ACT in treating adolescents and adults with chronic pain at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, US. For more than 15 years, I have worked with chronic illness populations including cancer, HIV, neurofibromatosis, and sickle cell disease. In 2014, I completed a pilot study using ACT with adolescents with chronic pain, and recently obtained funding to develop a randomized controlled trial of ACT with adolescents and young adults with chronic pain at the NIH. Since 2012, I have been on the board of directors of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of ACBS, and currently hold the office of President-elect. My research and clinical work on ACT has been presented at the ACBS World Conferences in 2012 and 2014, as well as various medical conferences and educational events around the United States.

As I continue in my role as Programs Chair, I hope to contribute to the process of supporting and promoting the excellent work that so many of our SIG members do at ACBS conferences and other ACT-related events."


Direnc Sakarya, MD, for Member at Large: 

"After becoming a specialist in psychiatry in 2010, I have worked at several settings (both research and clinical) in different countries including Turkey, USA and Sweden. I am now working at Uppsala University Hospital, Affective Disorders Unit, in Sweden. I think that working at psychiatry in different cultures helps me progress in flexibility and reinforces skepticism.
I am particularly interested in phenomenology of mental experiences, evolutionary origins of mental processes and classification systems in general. I am willing to contribute as far as I can to spread the knowledge of ACT both in psychiatry and medicine in general, and even discuss possible conflicts in a stimulating and supportive environment."


Sarah Staats, MA, continuing as Student Representative: 

"I'm a licensed master's level psychologist in Wichita, Kansas, currently working on my PhD in Clinical-Community Psychology. My graduate work has centered largely on acceptance- and mindfulness-based approaches and how they might be applied to instigate change in health-related behaviors. For example, my dissertation is examining outcomes from a brief "ACT to promote physical activity" intervention which augmented an existing doctor-prescribed weight management program. I am also interested in the potential of acceptance and mindfulness to spark other health-supporting behaviors and improve other realms of treatment adherence. I feel like one of the greatest challenges to all our health and well-being is to make our moment-to-moment choices more intentional and value-full.

As I continue in my role as Student Representative, I want to voice the needs of students, learners, and trainees to the Contextual Medicine SIG. I hope to be a part of this important conversation of how to best unite medical and psychological practice under the joint purpose and practice of promoting the whole well-being of those we serve. I would also like to continue to develop the database that we have recently started--the one that lists practica, internships, and other learning opportunities relevant to contextual medicine."


Mirjam Tanner, MD, for Member at Large:

"Specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy focusing on the psychotherapeutic work since 2000. Working in own practice in Zurich, Switzerland. Main interest is the integration of CBS and modern mindfulness-based practices with bodypsychotherapeutic approaches and clinical relevant conclusions of modern neurobiology, attachment theory and evolotionary science. The current challenge I see is the development and presentation of a more precise and body-related understanding of compassion and sympathetic joy in the medical and psychotherapeutic context. In automn 2015 will be published my first own book in german language: „ A practical guide to work with CFT “. In collaboration with the ACT-Werkstatt Winterthur in Switzerland I am organizing workshops / retreats with international experts on mindfulness, compassion and psychotherapy. I have lead several workshops on the theme of ACT and compassion in Switzerland.

For the CM SIG I would like to actively contribute to the development of an online peer group for people who are interested in studing, developing and deepening their academic and clinical understanding and skills together by reading, watching, discussing and sharing different views on book, articles, videoclips or films.
I also offer to serve as one of the moderators for the CM listserv."