Emotion Regulation Therapy (ERT) is a recently developed and preliminarily supported manualized treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder that integrates components of cognitive-behavioral, acceptance, dialectical, mindfulness-based, and experiential, emotion-focused, treatments.
This mechanism-targeted behavioral intervention is based in an affect-science perspective, and focuses on the training of a number of regulatory skills including attentional flexibility, acceptance, cognitive distancing, and cognitive reframing as well as experiential exposure to contexts of perceived reward and risk.
To date, the efficacy of ERT has been demonstrated in recently concluded NIMH-funded trials including an open trial and a randomized clinical trial. Evaluation of efficacy and investigation of treatment mechanisms is on-going in clinics at CUNY Hunter College and Kent State University.
Douglas S. Mennin, PhD
Dr. Mennin received his Ph.D. from Temple University in 2001 and, after 9 years on the faculty at Yale University, joined the Department of Psychology at CUNY Hunter College where he has been a Professor of Psychology and Co-Director of the Health Psychology and Clinical Science Phd training program. Over the past fifteen years, Dr. Douglas Mennin has developed an active program of research in clinical trials and basic research into the nature of mood and anxiety disorders. While on faculty at Yale, he was also Director of the Yale and Anxiety Mood Services (YAMS), where he conducted trial research and supervised students in conducting empirically based treatments for refractory cases with mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Mennin has conducted a number of studies of the basic physiological mechanisms of generalized anxiety and major depression and has recently been examining the role of worry and rumination in maintaining and exacerbating gastric dysfunction and chronic inflammation. He has also developed and evaluated an emotion regulation-based intervention for generalized anxiety and depression that was funded through an NIMH R34 mechanism. In a series of open trials and RCTs, this approach has yielded very strong effects in treating typically refractory disorders. Further, this work has identified a number of cognitive, physiological, and neural mechanisms that may mediate symptomatic outcome. He has also recently adapted this approach to treat distressed caregivers of patients with cancer. In both applied and basic research, Dr. Mennin has trained numerous graduate students and post- baccalaureate research assistants on diagnostic and physiological assessment and mentored them on the development of independent studies that were routinely presented at national conferences or published. To date, in addition to publications listed below, this line of work has yielded an authored book with Guilford (Mennin & Fresco, under contract), one of the inaugural “spotlight presentations” at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and numerous invited addresses. He currently serves on the editorial board of six journals and on the executive boards of the APA Division of Clinical Psychology and the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, and is a member of the Scientific Council of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).
David M. Fresco, PhD
Dr. Fresco is Professor of psychological sciences at Kent State University and Adjunct Associate Professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He directs the Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation Laboratory (PERL) and is a Co-Director of the Kent Electrical Neuroimaging Laboratory (KENL). He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Temple University. His program of research adopts an affective science perspective to the study of anxiety and mood disorders. Working at the interface of cognitive behavioral and emotion regulation approaches, he conducts survey, experimental, and treatment research to examine factors associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) including metacognitive factors (e.g., explanatory flexibility, decentering, rumination, worry), peripheral psychophysiology, and emerging work from affective neuroscience, utilizing neuroimaging and electrophysiological techniques. Another focus of the PERL lab is the development of treatments informed by affective and contemplative neuroscience findings that incorporate mindfulness meditation and other practices derived from Buddhist mental training exercises. Much of Dr. Fresco’s NIH-funded treatment research has focused on the infusion of mindfulness into Western psychosocial treatments. He is presently Associate Editor for two journals, the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Therapy and Research. He is also a frequent reviewer for the Interventions Committee of Adult Disorders (ITVA) of the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the Merit Review Panel for Clinical Trials (CLNA) of the Veterans Administration.