Psychosocial Treatment Laboratory


Click on a name or a face to see that person's biographical sketch

Back Row, Left to Right:
Mark Rothkop, Maya Yutsis, Suzanne Wilson, Jacqui Worden, Oxana Palesh , Karni Ginzburg

Second Row, Left to Right:
Allyson DeLorenzo, Bita Nouriani, Manijeh Parineh, Kate Collie, Tasneem Ismailji

Front Row, Left to Right:
Lynne Wittenberg , Janine Giese-Davis, David Spiegel, Cheryl Koopman, Lisa Butler

Not Pictured:
David Arbulu, Xin-Hua Chen, Catherine Classen,
Jose Maldonado, Eric Neri, Karen Piemme, Irvin Yalom

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David Arbulu (

Lisa D. Butler, Ph.D. ( completed her doctorate in personality psychology and psychopathology in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University in1993. Her research interests include risk and resiliency in trauma, dissociation, the psychological sequelae of traumatic experiences (including medical illnesses), trauma and memory, and cognitive processes in paranoia (see Publications). From 1994-1997, Dr. Butler was a NIMH-NRSA postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Spiegel's laboratory. Currently, she is a Senior Research Scholar in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Butler oversees a number of research projects in the Psychosocial Research Laboratory, including: (1) Co-Principal Investigator on the Internet-based "Risk and Resiliency in Coping with the Stress of the Terrorist Attacks" study (see Coping Study); (2) Co-Investigator and Project Director for our ongoing study of the effects of group psychotherapy on adjustment and survival in women with metastatic breast cancer (see Effects of Psychosocial Treatment on Cancer Survival Study); (3) Co-Investigator and Project Director for a study examining the effectiveness of using two alternative treatments - meditation and hypnosis group therapy - in the treatment of long-term depressed mood (see Meditation/Hypnosis Study); and, (4) Project Director for a study of psychological interventions for children undergoing an invasive medical procedure (see VCUG Study). Dr. Butler is a member of the American Psychological Association's Task Force on Resiliency in Response to the Terrorist Attacks and she lectures part-time in the Department of Psychology and the Continuing Studies Program at Stanford.

Xin-Hua Chen ( Project Coordinator, received her B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University. She joined the lab in 1996 and has worked on research investigating the effects of psychosocial interventions with HIV-positive persons, adolescents with cancer, women with gynecological cancer, women with breast cancer, and persons experiencing long-term depressed mood. She is currently working on the ongoing study of the effects of group psychotherapy in women with metastatic breast cancer.

Catherine Classen, Ph.D. ( is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in the Psychosocial Treatment Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, at Stanford University School of Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from York University, Toronto, Canada in 1991. Her dissertation was an empirical and theoretical study of insightful moments in psychotherapy. She joined the Psychosocial Treatment Laboratory in 1991 as a postdoctoral research fellow. She is currently a Senior Research Scientist.

While in the Psychosocial Treatment Lab Dr. Classen has been project director of several studies. Currently, she is directing an NIH funded study on "Group interventions to prevent HIV in high risk women." Other studies she has directed include a study on a marital interaction task for women with metastatic breast cancer, a multicenter study examining the benefits of a brief supportive-expressive group therapy for primary breast cancer patients, a pilot study for women with gynecological cancer, and several pilot studies comparing trauma-focused and present-focused group therapy for women with histories of childhood sexual abuse. Dr. Classen is an expert in group psychotherapy, including supportive-expressive group therapy for the medically ill. She and Dr. David Spiegel have co-authored a book on Group Therapy for Cancer Patients, published by Basic Books in 2000. She has conducted numerous workshops locally, nationally and internationally on supportive-expressive group therapy for cancer patients. Dr. Classen has extensive experience in group therapy for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and is editor of a book on Treating Women Molested in Childhood, published by Jossey-Bass. Dr. Classen's publications are in the areas of trauma, acute stress disorder, childhood sexual abuse, psychosocial aspects of cancer, and psychotherapy outcome.

Dr. Classen also sees patients as part of the outpatient services in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. Her specialty is trauma and medical illness.

Katharine Collie, Ph.D., ( joined the Psychosocial Treatment Lab in 2003 as a postdoctoral research fellow. Dr. Collie has a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Her doctoral research was a qualitative investigation of the use of art making and art therapy by women with breast cancer. Dr. Collie also has advanced degrees in Counseling Psychology and Fine Art. Her research interests include: the use of the art and imagery in psychosocial care for women with breast cancer, disparities in access to health services, telehealth modalities for delivering care from a distance, war-related trauma, and disability arts. She is interested in innovations in qualitative research methodology and in the integration of qualitative and quantitative methods. She has published on the topics of telehealth, mediated communication, and online art therapy (curriculum vitae). Kate had a first career as a full-time artist, during which she exhibited nationally and internationally and taught art at colleges and universities in Canada and the US.

Allyson DeLorenzo

Janine Giese-Davis, Ph.D. ( received her Ph.D., in Clinical Psychology from the University of Illinois-Urbana in Champaign-Urbana in 1994. In 1992, she was awarded the Herman Eisen Award for Professional contribution to the field of Psychology for her work in establishing community cancer support and outreach programs. Since 1994, she has been awarded 2 independent postdoctoral fellowship grants (supported by the American Cancer Society and the California Breast Cancer Research Program), a project directorship on a MacArthur Foundation Mind/Body Network grant, and was lead writer on a newly-funded (by the California Breast Cancer Research Program) randomized trial comparing supportive-expressive group therapy with two community cancer group interventions (The Wellness Community and The Cancer Support Community).

Her primary program of research focuses on the impact of emotional expression in mediating physiological response and cancer progression. She has created a technology to code emotion and topic discussions in group settings and currently heads The Emotion Coding Lab--Stanford.

Her secondary program of research focuses on the efficacy of community-based psychosocial interventions for cancer.

She is an experienced therapist and currently sees individual clients and CO-leads groups.

For additional information, please refer to her curriculum vitae

Karni Ginzburg, Ph.D ( is a postdoctoral fellow. She received her BA degrees in Philosophy and Psychology, and her MA degree in Cognitive Psychology, at Tel Aviv University. She received her Ph.D in social work at Tel Aviv University in 2001. Her doctoral dissertation, "Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder following Myocardial Infarction: The Implications of Dissociation and Repressive Coping Style," deals with MI as a risk factor for acute and posttraumatic stress disorders. It explores the trajectory of PTSD, and the associations between dissociation, repressive coping style, ASD and PTSD.

Her research interests include the reciprocal relations between stress and somatic illness as well as the dynamics of adaptation to various sorts of traumatic events. In her work she aims to identify both risk and resiliency factors, that contribute to the quality of life immediately after exposure to traumatic stress, and in the longer term. Among these factors are coping and defense mechanisms, personality characteristics and various types of support systems (see curriculum vitae).

Tasneem Ismailji M.D., M.P.H. ( is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine. After practicing pediatrics for over twenty years, she attained a Master Of Public Health from University of California, Berkeley. For the past six years Dr Ismailji has been an educator in the field of Domestic Violence or Intimate Partner Violence. She is collaborating with Dr Koopman in initiating research in Intimate Partner Violence and the effects of expressive writing on the health of survivors of Intimate Partner Violence. She continues providing workshops to university students, high school students and healthcare providers.

Cheryl Koopman, Ph.D., is Associate Professor (Research) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine. Her primary research goal is to contribute to knowledge of psychosocial interventions to maximize health and quality of life, especially among persons facing difficult life challenges. She has over 135 publications on these and related subjects. For a summary see Dr. Koopman's biosketch.

She completed her undergraduate education at the University of California, Berkeley, earned an MA from UCLA and a Ph.D. from University of Virginia, and completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University and Columbia University. Prior to coming to Stanford University, Dr. Koopman was Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, at Columbia University.

Dr. Koopman is presently conducting evaluation research on psychosocial interventions for adolescents with cancer and their families, behavioral health services for children and families, HIV-positive men and women, women with breast cancer, adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and women with gynecological cancer. She lectures on psychosocial responses to traumatic life events and on interventions for medically ill populations and trauma survivors.

Much of her research involves community-based collaborations that include: Cheryl Gore-Felton, PhD, Medical College of Wisconsin; Dennis Israelski, MD and others working with the San Mateo County AIDS Program; Jason Flamm, MD, and others working at the Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services (CARES) in Sacramento; Michael Edell, Luther Brock, and others working with the AIDS Community Research Consortium, in Redwood City; Mary Anne Kreshka, MA, and other members of La Loba, a breast cancer support group in Nevada City, California; Ernie Bodai, MD, Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento, CA; Karyn L. Angell, PhD, Oregon Research Institute; Elizabeth Bowman, M.D., S.T.M., Indiana University; Luciana Laganà, Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawai'i; and Elizabeth McGarvey, EdD, University of Virginia. Her research collaborations also involve: David Spiegel, MD, and other faculty in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences; Carl Thoresen, Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology; Michael Amylon, MD and Lynne Huffman, MD in the Department of Pediatrics; James Roberts, MD in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics; and David Katzenstein, MD and others in the Department of Medicine.

Please refer to her Curriculum Vitae for further information.

Jose Maldonado, M.D. ( is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. There he is the Chief of the Medical Psychiatry Section, Director of the Medical Psychotherapy Clinic, and Medical Director of the Consultation/Liaison Service. He has Special expertise in the areas of Psychosomatic Medicine and Somatoform Disorders; Psycho-immunology; Dissociation; and Hypnosis.

Research interests include: Management of Delirium, Confusional States and Other Acute Organic Brain Syndromes, Neuropsychiatric Sequelae of Traumatic Brain Injury, Factitious Disorder & Munchausen's Syndrome, Cultural Diversity in Medical Care, Psychiatric Complications of Bone Marrow Transplantation, Effects of Residency Training in the Life of a Doctor, Conversion Disorder, Depression in the Medically Ill, Neuropsychiatric Sequelae of Cancer and its Treatment, Application of Hypnosis in Psychiatry and Medicine, and Diagnosis and treatment of Dissociative Disorders.

Dr. Maldonado received his bachelor's degree in biology at Catholic University of Puerto Rico, his medical degree at Ponce School of Medicine and his psychiatric training at Temple University. In addition he completed a fellowship in Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry at New England Medical Centers/Tufts University.

Eric Neri (

Bita Nouriani, M.S. ( Research Manager for the Mind Body Interactions Project received her M.S. in Clinical Psychology, San Jose State University, 1996; and her B.A. in Clinical Psychology, San Francisco State, 1983. She received computer programming and operations certification in 1995; & became a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist, 1990. Under Dr. Spiegel's supervision she has received training in conduction supportive expressive group therapy, as well as assessment of hypnotizability and inducing trance states.

Bita Nouriani has worked with Dr. Spiegel in the design and implementation of the psychophysiological research laboratory and has managed the following projects: Effects of Hypnosis on Mind Body interactions (visual, auditory, and somatosensory evoked potentials; and hormones); Effects of Psychosocial Treatment on Quality of Sleep (women with metastatic breast cancer); and Semi-Structured Interview of Goal Reappraisal (women with metastatic breast cancer).

Oxana Palesh, Ph.D. ( joined the Psychosocial Treatment Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow in 2002. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology of San Diego in 2002. Her doctoral dissertation examined the relationship between trauma, dissociation and recovered memories in Russian college students.

Her research interests are in trauma, child sexual abuse, dissociation, post-traumatic stress disorder, medical illness, traumatic amnesia and treatment outcome (see Presentations and Publications). For the past two years at the Psychosocial Lab her main focus was with the implementation of a large randomized trial examining the effects of two types of psychotherapy with female survivors of childhood sexual abuse at risk for HIV infection. In 2005 she was awarded a Supplemental Grant Award from the National Institute on Aging to investigate the relationship between childhood and adult trauma, physiological and psychological markers in women with metastatic breast cancer.

Manijeh Parineh, MSPH, MPH ( received her MPH, and a Gerontology Certificate in Public Health Specialty from San Jose State University, San Jose, California in 1993. During her internship at Stanford Patient Education Research Center, Stanford University in 1992 she became a trained course leader for Chronic Disease Self-Management and Arthritis Self-Help Training Courses. She has been teaching these courses in different locations of the Bay Area since 1992.

She has been involved as a social sciences research assistant in several research studies at the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Division of Gerontology, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Stanford University since 1993.

She has recently started working at Dr. David Spiegel lab on program project. She is presently working on "the stress hormone (cortisone) affect on recurrence of breast cancer study". Her primary responsibilities are recruiting recurrent breast cancer patients, interviewing, conducting the questionnaires, gathering the cortisol samples, and working with the study team on different aspects of the project.

Karen Altree Piemme ( is a professional actor/educator, and has devoted the last fifteen years to serving the community. Ms. Piemme graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University with a BFA in Acting & Directing and a Minor in Women's Studies. She spent 4 1/2 years with the Living Stage Theatre Company, the social outreach company of Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and is currently in her ninth season as Associate Director of the Red Ladder Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre's award winning improvisational outreach company. Her experience as an artist/educator and her commitment to the community and to women's issues makes her uniquely suited for her position as the Emotion Coding Trainer in the Coding Lab. Providing insight into the recognition of emotional expression, Ms. Piemme works to ensure the quality and consistency of the coders in the lab. Ms. Piemme has been delighted to be a part of the lab since May 2000.

Mark Rothkopf (

Suzanne Marie Wilson (, Coding Lab Liaison for the Emotion Coding Lab, recently returned to school to pursue her passion and complete her B.A. in Psychology at San Francisco State. Her primary responsibilities in the lab involve recruitment of coders, training topic coders, participating as a coder, offering technical support within the lab, and acting as the key contact person for our student volunteers. She would ultimately like to pursue a career in Psychology Research with an emphasis on early childhood development.

Lynne Wittenberg, M.P.H., ( received her Master of Public Health degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has nearly 20 years of professional experience in the health promotion field, primarily in adolescent and women's reproductive health. She has extensive experience in family planning, perinatal health and HIV/STD prevention. More recently, she has been involved with evaluation research, including school-based adolescent pregnancy, STD and HIV prevention programs.

Lynne is the Project Coordinator for the Peer Navigator Program, a randomized clinical trial aimed at expanding access to resources and improving quality of life for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. The three-year clinical trial - a collaborative research effort involving Stanford University and WomenCARE - is being conducted in Santa Cruz and Northern Monterey Counties. Newly diagnosed women in the treatment group are matched with breast cancer survivors ("navigators") who provide peer support and counseling.

Lynne's primary responsibilities include overall project coordination, recruitment of participants, training of peer navigators, outreach to the Santa Cruz medical community, and fiscal management of the grant. In addition, Lynne will assist with data analysis as well as preparation of related publications and presentations.

Jacqui Worden (, Administrative Assistant to David Spiegel, joined the lab in January 2003 after moving to California from London. Jacqui comes from a business environment in the U.K. where she worked supporting the Chairman and CEO of BPP Plc, a large professional education company. Jacqui manages David's complex diary and the many administrative needs of the lab.

Irvin D. Yalom, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Stanford University, is the author of several quasi-fictional novels about Psychotherapy, including the popular Lying on the Couch, When Nietzsche Wept, Love's Executioner, and his Momma and the Meaning of Life. He has also written several classic textbooks on the subject, including Existential Psychotherapy and The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. Visit his personal web site at

Maya Yutsis, ( Research Assistant, received her BA in Clinical Psychology from San Francisco State University in 2000. She is planning to attend Pacific Graduate School of Psychology starting the Fall Semester of 2004 to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

She is currently involved in the Clinical Peer Navigator Program and a pilot study "Assessing the Impact of Shame and Guilt on Recovery". She joined the Emotion-Coding Lab in 2000 as an emotion coder and has been involved in Stress, Diurnal Cortisol and Breast Cancer Survival Project as a stress task panel member. Maya's primary responsibilities include data management, training of peer navigators, emotion coding, participant recruitment, interviewing, conducting assessments, overseeing the fiscal management of the pilot study, and collaboration in reviewing the literature.

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Allyson DeLorenzo Karni Ginzburg Maya Yutsis Tasneem Ismailji Kate Collie Bita Nouriani Oxana Palesh Mark Rothkoph Jacqui Worden Cheryl Koopman Manijeh Parineh Lynne Wittenberg Lisa Butler Suzanne Wilson David Spiegel Janine Giese-Davis