Student Spotlight Award Recipient - Amanda Rhodes

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Congratulations to Amanda Rhodes on being selected as one of the Student Spotlight Award recipients!

The purpose of this award is to highlight students who are doing important work in the CBS community whether for research, clinical, and/or volunteer-humanitarian efforts.

This is a way to highlight their achievements, let the ACBS community know important work students are doing, and possibly provide a platform for mentoring/collaboration/professional development/conversations around highlighted areas.


Learn more about Amanda:

Background of CBS Research/Clinical/Volunteering efforts/achievements:
I became involved in the CBS community during the first year of my doctoral program in Combined Clinical and School Psychology at Kean University in the Greater New York City Area. I began my journey by researching psychological flexibility and emotion regulation in undergraduate students. In addition, my interest in CBS sparked my applied ACT work with clinical populations. In the past few years, I have expanded my use of ACT and other mindfulness-based approaches (ERT) to in clinical populations including college students, adult outpatient, adult inpatient, and medical populations. Through my doctoral work, I have become increasingly interested in co-occurring psychological and physiological difficulties. My doctoral dissertation examined how risk of opioid misuse is affected by pain severity, pain interference, and early aversive histories in patients with noncancerous chronic pain. My data analysis suggested that psychological flexibility (examined by the AAQ-II) plays a significant and specific role in many of these pathways, providing important information on the developing opioid crisis in the United States and around the world. I look forward to presenting this data in an accepted symposium at ACBS World Conference 16 titled “ACT for People with Pain: What We Still Have to Learn.” Next year, I am continuing my CBS journey through an APA-accredited internship at Brattleboro Retreat (Vermont, US) rolling out ACT for trauma in uniformed service personnel and a Mind-Body Pain Management program.

Three sentence summary of CBS research/clinical/volunteering efforts/achievements: 
My interest in CBS sparked my applied ACT work through my doctoral program with clinical populations including college students, adult outpatient, adult inpatient, and medical populations. In research, my doctoral dissertation examined how risk of opioid misuse is affected by pain severity, pain interference, and trauma in patients with chronic pain and suggested that psychological flexibility plays a significant and specific role in many of these. Next year, I am continuing my CBS journey through an APA-accredited internship at Brattleboro Retreat (Vermont, US) rolling out ACT for trauma in uniformed service personnel and a Mind-Body Pain Management program.

Autobiography:
I was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City. I am currently a 4th doctoral candidate in Combined Clinical and School Psychology at Kean University. Before my doctoral studies, I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. I’ve been developing my theoretical orientation in contextual behavioral science my whole life, but just didn’t know it. Long hikes with my dad to remote mountain peaks were exercises in mindfulness -- tuning into the beauty of nature while observing, with curiosity, variations in my inner human experience. Growing up with the freedom to pursue my dreams and take responsibility for my own life was existentialism before I even knew how to spell it. Ultimately, I was drawn instantly to ACT with its blend of mindfulness- and acceptance-based behaviorism and values-based existentialism. I have been studying, exploring, and applying ACT since the day it was introduced to me and I look forward to a life time of inquiry and curiosity in the CBS community. Now that my dissertation is defended, I have been able to shift my attention towards other important life values like yoga, hiking with my dog, Karl, and spending time with family, friends, and husband.

Future goals:
In the near future, I have two main goals. The first is to conduct more research on the underlying mechanisms influencing the subjective experience of physical pain and become certified in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in order to expand my applied clinical work with pain populations. My second goal (value) is to lean in to the 'full catastrophe' of everything that life as to offer and the many challenges ahead as I develop my professional identity as a future clinical health psychologist.