Invited Speakers for the World Conference 16

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Sarah Cassidy, Ph.D.

Dr. Sarah Cassidy is an Educational, Child and Adolescent Psychologist. She completed her doctoral research on RFT interventions for intellectual deficit with Dr. Bryan Roche in 2009. She has been administering psychological assessments to evaluate learning and behavioural difficulties to children and adolescents as part of her private practice, and for the National Educational Psychological Services in Ireland for the last 18 years. In private practice, she works with children and families developing support plans for persons with learning and behavioural difficulties and treating children and adolescents in individual and group therapy contexts. She has extensive experience working in an educational psychology context and is trained in the use of several different therapeutic interventions for persons with educational and emotional/behavioural difficulties, including the use of ABA, ACT, CBT and Mindfulness Based Interventions to name a few. Dr. Cassidy also lectures to undergraduate and postgraduate students in educational psychology, child psychology, early childhood education, and guidance counselling at Maynooth University. She also trains parents, teachers and other clinicians how to deliver psychotherapeutic interventions within the ACT framework. She delivers individual and group therapy programmes to various populations in clinic and in schools throughout the country. She has published her psychological research in peer reviewed scientific outlets. She routinely speaks at schools and conferences, nationally and internationally, in relation to various aspects of child development and treatment of learning, behavioural and social/emotional difficulties. She has been invited to speak about her research on various Irish radio programmes and television programmes. She is the Chief Education Officer at She is also a professional member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science and a panel member of the National Educational Psychological Service (SCPA) in Ireland. Finally, Dr. Cassidy is a chartered member of the Psychological Society of Ireland.

Lisa W. Coyne, Ph.D. 

Dr. Coyne is the Founder and Director of the McLean OCD Institute for Children and Adolescents at McLean Hospital, and is on the Faculty of Harvard Medical School. She is a Research Associate Professor in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts, and is on the Faculty of the Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF). She is also a licensed psychologist and an internationally recognized ACT trainer with extensive experience using ACT with young people with OCD and their families.

Susan David, Ph.D.

Susan David, Ph.D. is one of the world’s leading management thinkers and an award winning Harvard Medical School psychologist. Her new #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Emotional Agility based on the concept Harvard Business Review heralded as a Management Idea of the Year and winner of the Thinkers50 Breakthrough Idea Award, describes the psychological skills critical to thriving in times of complexity and change. She is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and guest on national radio and television. Named on the Thinkers50 global list of the top management thinkers, Susan is a sought-after keynote speaker and consultant, with clients that include the World Economic Forum, EY, United Nations, Google, Microsoft, NASDAQ, and many other national and multinational organizations. Her focus is on defining and executing effective strategy, especially in the areas of engagement, high-performance leadership, and culture change. Susan is the CEO of Evidence Based Psychology, on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, a Cofounder of the Institute of Coaching (a Harvard Medical School/McLean affiliate), and on the Scientific Advisory Boards of Thrive Global and Virgin Pulse. Susan is also core faculty of the global Homeward Bound, an all-women leadership program that culminates in an expedition to Antarctica and aims at increasing the influence and impact of women in the sciences.

lore m. dickey, Ph.D.

lore completed his training as a Counseling Psychologist at the University of North Dakota in 2011. He completed his pre-doctoral internship year at Duke University in Counseling and Psychological Services. Following graduation, Dr. dickey completed a 10-month post-doctoral fellowship at the Morehouse School of Medicine in the Satcher Health Leadership Institute.

Dr. dickey served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA. In addition to teaching graduate courses in the fields of Counseling and Counseling Psychology, he also served as a research advisor for students and directed the Psychological Service Clinic. Currently he serves as an Assistant Professor and Doctoral Training Director for the Combined Counseling/School Psychology PhD program in the Department of Educational Psychology at Northern Arizona University.

Dr. dickey's love of advocacy began in childhood. Similarly, his love for research was sparked as an undergraduate. He is deeply committed to ensuring that all voices are heard both in research and in addressing social injustices that trans people are subjected to on a daily basis. He served as the co-chair for the American Psychological Association task force for the development of Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Clients. He has presented throughout the world on topics related to understanding the transgender experience and is considered an expert. He has been recognized with numerous awards for his work and is known as a pioneer in the field of transgender psychology.

Sue Johnson, Ed.D.

Sue Johnson, Ed.D. is the leading developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy (or EFT). She is a Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Distinguished Research Professor in the Marital & Family Therapy Program at Alliant University in San Diego, Director of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT) and Director of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute Inc. Sue received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 1984. She is a registered psychologist in the province of Ontario, Canada, and a member of the many editorial boards of professional journals.

Dr. Johnson has received a variety of awards acknowledging her development of EFT and her significant contribution to the field of couple and family therapy and adult attachment. Sue has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor recognizing outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to Canada. In 2016, she was named Psychologist of the Year by APA, and has been honored by AAMFT for her Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Couple and Family Therapy. Sue has numerous publications in the field of couple therapy and attachment. Her most recent research in her lab includes Changes in Relationship-Specific Attachment in Emotionally Focussed Couple Therapy (JMFT) and Soothing the Threatened Brain: Leveraging Contact Comfort through Emotionally Focused Therapy (PLOS ONE). This study included a brain scans showing how contact with a loving partner mitigates threat and fear responses. Sue’s most recent book, Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science in Romantic Relationships, outlines the new understanding of why and how we love based on scientific evidence and cutting-edge research. Sue is also the author of the bestseller, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. Sue’s other books include The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy: Creating Connection (2nd Ed, Routledge, 2004) - the basic text on EFT for couple therapy, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors (Guilford, 2002) and edited books such as Attachment Processes in Couples Therapy (Guilford, 2003).

Louis Lefebvre, Ph.D.

I have done a Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Montréal, an internship in neurophysiology at the CNR in Pisa, and a postdoc in zoology at the University of Oxford (with Richard Dawkins). I have been a professor in the Department of Biology of McGill University since 1980, and am Director of the Minor in Science for Arts. I am also an associate researcher at the ecology research center (CREAF) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. In addition to papers on innovation and cultural transmission, mostly in birds, I have published four novels and regularly show photo and object assemblages in galleries in southern Québec.

Christopher R. Martell, Ph.D., ABPP

Christopher R. Martell, Ph.D., ABPP is a psychologist and Clinic Director of the Psychological Services Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. He is board certified in clinical psychology and behavioral & cognitive psychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology and is a founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. The co-author of eight books, he has published widely on behavioral treatments for depression, couples therapy, and issues affecting gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals. He is first author of Behavioral Activation for Depression: A Clinician's Guide, and Depression in Context: Strategies for Guided Action. He was a research therapist on three RCTs of behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapies, and has been a research consultant on efficacy, training and dissemination studies of behavioral activation (BA) in the U.S., U.K., Sweden and the Netherlands.

Giovambattista "Nanni" Presti, M.D., Ph.D.

Nanni was trained as a Medical Doctor and attended a Clinical School in Psychotherapy as a post-doc, and received his Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis. As Associate Professor at Kore University in Enna, he coordinates the undergrad program in Psychology. Nanni has a broad experience of teaching and living outside Italy and helped establishing as Treasurer the European Association for Behavior Analysis. He founded and co-managed IESCUM, which has fostered the diffusion of CBS in Italy. He deepened his research interests in BA and ABA focusing on the early equivalence studies and then RFT. Alternating clinical and basic science interests, he encountered ACT at the turning of the millennium, after knowing its first steps. Nanni served ACBS co-chairing the meeting in Parma and serving on the Conference Committee for Washington. He has served on the ACBS Board as a member-at-large for the past two years and co-founded the Italian ACBS Chapter.

Jonathan Tarbox, PhD, BCBA-D

Dr. Jonathan Tarbox is the Program Director of the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program at the University of Southern California, as well as Director of Research at FirstSteps for Kids. Dr. Tarbox is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Behavior Analysis in Practice and serves on the editorial boards of several major scientific journals related to autism and behavior analysis. He has published four books on autism treatment, is the Series Editor of the Elsevier book series Critical Specialties in Treating Autism and Other Behavioral Challenges, and an author of well over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters in scientific texts. His research focuses on behavioral interventions for teaching complex skills to individuals with autism and applications of Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) to applied behavior analysis. 

Peter Turchin, Ph.D. 

Peter Turchin is an evolutionary anthropologist who works in the field of historical social science that he and his colleagues call Cliodynamics. His research interests lie at the intersection of social and cultural evolution, historical macrosociology, economic history and cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Currently he investigates a set of broad and interrelated questions: How do human societies evolve? In particular, what processes explain the evolution of ultrasociality—our capacity to cooperate in huge anonymous societies of millions? Why do we see such a staggering degree of inequality in economic performance and effectiveness of governance among nations? Turchin uses the theoretical framework of cultural evolution to address these questions. Currently his main research effort is directing the Seshat Databank project, which builds and analyzes a massive historical database of cultural evolution that enables us to empirically test theoretical predictions coming from various social evolution theories.

Turchin has published 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals that include Nature, Science, and PNAS. His publications are frequently cited and in 2004 he was designated as “Highly cited researcher” by Turchin has authored seven books. His most recent books are Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth and Ages of Discord: A Structural-Demographic Analysis of American History. Turchin is Editor-in-Chief of Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution.

Robert Whelan, Ph.D.

I obtained a 1st Class Honours degree in Applied Psychology from University College Cork in 2001, and I obtained my Ph.D. in Psychology from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth in 2004. I obtained a wide range of post-doctoral experience: in neurology, psychiatry and neural engineering. The vast majority of my research is directed towards answering clinically relevant questions, using both structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, high-density electroencephalography and behavioral assays. I am a strong advocate of the development of sophisticated methods to better understand brain systems in disease and in health, and many of my projects can be placed under the rubric of ‘Big Data’ approaches. Much of my work involves predicting clinical outcomes by applying machine learning to data including structural and functional neuroimaging, neuropsychological tests, genetics, social relationships and individual life history.
To date, I have published over 100 papers, including first-author papers in Nature, Nature Neuroscience, and the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. I have been awarded over €2.5 million in competitive funding in total, with over €2 million awarded since 2015 from sources such as the Health Research Board, Science Foundation Ireland, and a Young Investigator award from the Brain and Behavior Foundation.
My research has been covered extensively in the popular and scientific media, both internationally (e.g., Wall St. Journal, Voice of America), in Ireland (e.g., Irish Times, NewsTalk) and on the Internet (e.g.,
My laboratory homepage is , my ORCID is and my Google Scholar is