As a scientist-practitioner, I use scientific findings to guide my clinical treatments. Additionally, my experiences with clients influence my research. This approach to clinical psychology not only ensures that my clients are receiving cutting edge treatment but it also infuses my scientific research with real world applicability.
One example of this interaction is my professional experience with trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder). When I first started working with clients suffering from hair pulling, I read the corresponding scientific literature and realized that relatively little was known about this disorder. Specifically, I was surprised to see only a few articles about the development of hair pulling and limited findings regarding effective psychological treatments for this disorder. Recently, when an opportunity arose to empirically study hair pulling, I seized it, hoping to not only contribute to the gaps in science but also to improve the quality of my clinical services.
Thus, I am currently working on two studies related to hair pulling. The first, which also serverd as my doctoral dissertation under the mentorship of Dr. Sandra Barrueco, is focused on understanding how hair pulling changes as we age. The second study, in which I am collaborating with American University psychology masters student Kate Rogers, is evaluating the efficacy of Dr. Charles Mansueto’s Comprehensive Behavioral Model as a treatment for hair pulling. Both studies utilize StopPulling.com, an internet-based self-treatment for hair pulling. Findings from both studies will not only contribute to the increasing research on hair pulling, but will also help clinicians deliver better treatments for hair pulling.