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University of Cyprus - Maria Karekla (ACT; MS, PhD; Cyprus)

Maria Karekla received her doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from the University at Albany, SUNY. She completed her residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Veterans Administration Hospital. Currently holds the position of Lecturer of Clinical Psychology at the University of Cyprus and is a licensed clinical psychology. She actively and systematically participates in psychological research projects that have received awards by (among others) the European council and Pompidou’s group, and the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy. Her research focuses on areas of health promotion and the investigation of individual difference factors (especially psychological flexibility parameters) as they relate to the development and maintenance of various behavioural difficulties (especially anxiety, eating, and health related problems). Additionally, she examines the treatment of these difficulties utilizing process-based and Contextual Behavioral Science-based principles and innovative delivery methods (e.g., digital interventions, virtual reality). Her research (>100 scientific peer reviewed publications) received numerous local, European and international grants, and awards by (among others) the European Council and Pompidou’s group, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy. She is the chair of the clinical psychology and a member of the school psychology program committees at the University of Cyprus. Maria is currently the president of ACBS, from where she received the status of “Fellow” in 2019. She is also a peer-reviewed ACT trainer. Further, she is the convenor of the European Federation of Psychology Associations’ Psychology and Health committee and a member of the e-health task force. She recently completed terms in chairing the Cyprus Bioethics Committee on Biomedical Research and being a member of the Cyprus Psychologist Licensing Board. A number of her research projects have received local, EU and other funding. Dr. Karekla’s “ACTHealthy: Anxiety disorders and Behavioral Medicine” research laboratory ( has cooperated with other institutions, business and bodies both in Cyprus and abroad on numerous projects. In 2021 she became a fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, whereas in 2018 she was nominated as Cyprus “Woman of the Year: Academic/Researcher category.” Her first psychotherapeutic children’s story book was nominated in 2017 for the National Literary Awards in the category Children/Adolescents and also for her illustrations for the book. She is a TEDx speaker and she has been hosted and interviewed for her work by numerous podcasts, newspapers, TV and radio stations nationally and internationally.

Research Interests
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Individual difference factors (e.g. Experiential Avoidance, Emotional Coping) and development of Anxiety Disorders and problems associated with medical diagnosis (e.g., Chronic Pain, Asthma, Diabetes)
- Assessment and Treatment (especially in the use of innovative methods, e.g. Internet-based interventions, use of virtual reality technology)
- Enhancement of health behaviors and promotion of self-management of health-related conditions (including addictive behaviors such as smoking)
-Processes and Mechanisms of action in treatment
-Digital assessment and interventions

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(This webpage was updated on November 9, 2022)

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