Message Below from Dr. Vickers (Supervisor & Director of PsychoPhysiology Lab):

Congratulations to Clinical student Jennifer (Jen) Monforton, who this morning successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, entitled “Counterfactual Thinking and Repetitive Thought in Social Anxiety.”

Jen’s dissertation consisted of two complementary studies that examined upward counterfactual thinking (U-CFT) (i.e., a form of repetitive thought consisting of “If only…” cognitions that imagine a better outcome after a stressful event) and its relation to social anxiety (SA). Study 1 validated new measures of state and trait U-CFT in a student sample and determined that SA symptoms correlated with both measures. Study 2 compared patterns of U-CFT and emotions such as guilt and self-blame between a diagnosed Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) group and a Healthy Control (HC) group and piloted a brief, CBT-based, video intervention targeting maladaptive U-CFT. Results indicated that the SAD group evidenced higher amounts of U-CFT in response to the socially-based scenarios than the HC group and in response to social than non-social scenarios. The SAD group evidenced higher levels of unhelpful emotions (e.g., guilt) both pre- and post-CFT generation than HC participants. Finally, the CBT intervention was more likely to be effective among SAD than HC participants. Implications of this dissertation include the importance of addressing that those with SAD are engaging in maladaptive U-CFT and experiencing consequent guilt and self-blame and the direction of creating more comprehensive, brief interventions aimed at targeting maladaptive U-CFT.

Jen has been working in private practice part-time at the Mindfulness Clinic (700 Bay Street in downtown Toronto) and will now be transitioning to full-time supervised practice acting as the head of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Treatment Program at this clinic. Jen will also be working with individuals and groups for a variety of concerns including depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

A special thank you to Jen’s Examination Committee, including Dr. Elizabeth Trott (Philosophy) who chaired the defense; Dr. Colleen Carney and Dr. John Turtle who both served on Jen’s supervisory committee; Dr. Don Rose (Nursing); and Dr. Bethany Teachman (external examiner from the University of Virginia). Their thoughtful questions and comments were greatly appreciated.

Congratulations on a superb job, Jen!

Kristin Vickers