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Beck Spotlight on Antonette Zeiss

At a 90th birthday party for Dr. Aaron Beck, given by Pearson Assessment at the American Psychological Association annual conference in Washington, D.C., we had the opportunity to catch up with our colleague, Dr. Antonette Zeiss, Ph.D., whom we have known for many years. We are so pleased that she, a very prominent cognitive behavior therapist, has been appointed to be Chief Consultant for the Office of Mental Health Services, in the Veterans Health Administration at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Dr. Zeiss was already the highest ranking psychologist in the VA, and is now the first psychologist, and first woman, to hold the role of Chief Consultant.

In 2007, Dr. Zeiss received an American Psychological Association (APA) Presidential Citation recognizing her leadership contributions both in APA and the VA. And last year, Dr. Zeiss won a Distinguished Career Award from the Association of VA Psychologist Leaders for her continued efforts to improve mental health services.

We applaud Dr. Zeiss’s accomplishments in the field of psychology and cognitive behavior therapy, and we appreciate the efforts of the tens of thousands of health and mental health professionals who treat active duty and veteran military service members and their families. To learn more about a scholarship initiative to help train these professionals in cognitive behavior therapy please visit www.soldiersuicideprevention.org.

Beck Institute Scholar Meets with Dr. Aaron Beck

Marcus Huibers, Ph.D., a former Beck Institute Scholar, visited us last week. He has conducted important research in the field of Cognitive Therapy and Depression in the Netherlands and followed up his visit with this message:

When I was first invited to become a Beck Institute Scholar in June 2006, I initially thought someone was pulling a prank on me. It was late at night when I received the email from Drs. Aaron T. Beck and Judith Beck, inviting me for the extramural training program in Philadelphia for the upcoming academic year, and it felt like I had just won the lottery. At that time, I was an assistant professor at Maastricht University, fortunate to have been awarded three large research grants in the previous years, but also struggling with the responsibilities that came along with it and the theoretical directions my work was about to take. The year before, I had met Dr. Steven Hollon for what turned out to be the start of a long and fruitful collaboration on depression research in the Netherlands, and he had nominated me for the Scholarship, which in itself was a great honor. The academic year that followed (2006-2007), I visited Philadelphia three times on overseas trips that were a tremendous learning experience, and great fun at the same time. I felt I already was a pretty good cognitive therapist, but coming to Philadelphia made me realize there was so much more I could learn on the art and wonders of state-of-the-art cognitive therapy. Not surprising, of course, since it was the founder of cognitive therapy that stood in front of the classroom to pass on his infinite knowledge.

I learned so much, talking (and even role playing) with Dr. Beck, but also from Judy Beck and Leslie Sokol, my all-time favorite CT supervisor. It also opened up the (international) world of CT research for me, with many new friends and colleagues I made during my many stays in Philly, the undisputed CT capital of the world. Since then, the depression research program we are doing in the Netherlands has expanded, with treatment studies on Internet CT, CT and interpersonal therapy (IPT), CT and behavioral activation, schema-focused therapy for chronic depression, mechanisms of change studies and experimental lab studies on cognitive theory in depression., This month, I am on a ‘mini-sabbatical’ visiting with Dr. Robert DeRubeis at the University of Pennsylvania, another one of my ‘heroes’ in the field of cognitive therapy. It has been so great to interact with Rob, his students and colleagues at the Department of Psychology, and meet Dr. Beck, Judy and many others at the Beck Institute again. Coming back here, I realize what a strong impact the Beck Institute Scholarship has had on my professional career as a researcher and therapist, and I am very grateful for that. My time at the Beck Institute has been most rewarding, and I can recommend the training program to anyone who is interested in CT. Here is where you learn from the best.

Marcus J.H. Huibers, PhD,
Professor of Empirically Directed Psychotherapy
Chair of the Department of Clinical Psychological Science
Maastricht University
The Netherlands