As a clinical and evolutionary psychologist, I work from a biopsychosocial perspective. My theory is based on an understanding of the fundamentally adaptive human mind that places prosocial or altruistic motivation as central. In accord with contemporary neuroscience, we know that conscious and unconscious empathy serve to hold groups together but, when excessive and associated with self-sacrificial behavior, may also contribute to numerous psychological problems.
Merging clinical work and research, I serve as the Director of the Emotion, Personality & Altruism Research Group and am Professor of the Wright Institute. Research with my students on emotion and addiction has expanded into studies of survivor guilt, altruism and empathy, excessive worrying about others’ feelings and basic psychopathology. The results have been published and translated widely in scientific journals, and I’ve presented at numerous conferences.
A lifelong learner, I’m committed to expanding my understanding of human behavior, and how we can help our clients. As a student of Buddhism for the last decade, I’ve merged a tradition of mindfulness meditation into my work. Now I’m writing my first book, How to Think Like a Clinician: Essays in Prosocial Psychotherapy, and am frequently published in Psychology Today and on Medium.