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David Moscovitch

Professor; Executive Director of the Centre for Mental Health Research

head shot of Dr. David MoscovitchBSc (University of Toronto), MA, PhD (Boston University)

Contact information

Anxiety Studies website

2006-2016 Canada Research Chair in Mental Health Research (Tier-II)

Research interests

My research examines the nature and treatment of adult anxiety, with a particular focus on cognitive-behavioural models of social anxiety. The broad research questions that are currently of interest to me and my students include the following:

1) How do socially anxious individuals view and appraise themselves and others, and how do such appraisals impact emotion regulation, information processing, and social behaviour?

2) What are the emotional, behavioural, and interpersonal correlates, causes, and consequences of negative self-perception in social anxiety, and how might these relate to physiological events in the brain and body?

3) How are appraisals of self and others represented in the thoughts, images, and autobiographical memories of socially anxious individuals and what are the specific cues that may activate or inhibit their retrieval across contexts?

4) What are the mechanisms of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder and is it possible to improve treatment outcomes by customizing CBT interventions to target idiosyncratic symptom profiles of individual patients?

Much of my current research on social anxiety is guided by (and geared toward testing) the theoretical framework proposed in Moscovitch (2009). What is the core fear in social phobia? A new model to facilitate individualized case conceptualization and treatment. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 16, 123-134. Copies of this paper and other  representative articles from our lab can be accessed by clicking on the hyperlinks imbedded in the publication list below.

Recent and representative publications

Anxiety Studies Division of the Centre for Mental Health Research

In 2009, my colleague Dr. Christine Purdon and I founded the Anxiety Studies Division (ASD) at the Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR). The ASD consists of University of Waterloo Clinical Psychology faculty members and graduate students whose research is dedicated to investigating the nature and treatment of anxiety and its disorders. The primary function of the ASD is to develop and maintain a pool of valued members from the surrounding community with and without anxiety problems who are willing to participate in our research studies. Please visit the ASD website for more information.

My Lab

My lab is typically comprised of several students in our clinical psychology graduate training program, one or two undergraduate honours thesis students, a number of research assistants and volunteers and, occasionally, a postdoctoral fellow. Please visit our Anxiety Studies Division (ASD) website to view specific profiles of the researchers in the lab.

The physical space of the lab is generous and includes an array of specialized facilities, resources, and work spaces that can be accessed by trainees engaged in research at all levels. Within this infrastructure, I aim to foster a stimulating and collaborative learning environment in which students are supported in their acquisition of fundamental knowledge and technical skills in areas germane to the research agenda of the lab and the field of clinical psychology. My research has been generously funded by the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and the Ontario Research Fund.

Teaching and Clinical Training

At the undergraduate level, I teach Psychopathology (Psych 257), which provides an introductory overview to the field of abnormal psychology. At the graduate level, I currently teach Ethics, Diversity, and Professional Issues in Clinical Psychology (Psych 719).

I am actively involved in the clinical supervision and training of graduate students in Clinical Psychology within our Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR). In my current role as the Executive Director of the CMHR, I oversee the mission of our Centre and work in close collaboration with my Clinical Area faculty colleagues and our CMHR Director, Dr. Ian Nicholson, to develop and implement our vision for its future development and growth.

Clinical interests and expertise

I am a registered clinical psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. My specialization is in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and I am certified as such by The Canadian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies. My clinical work is both informed by empirically-supported methods of assessment and treatment and guided by attention to therapeutic process and adaptability to the individual differences of my clients and patients. In addition to supervising and training students in our doctoral training program at the University of Waterloo, I maintain an independent private practice one day a week, in which I provide CBT assessment and treatment to adult outpatients with anxiety and related disorders.

University of Waterloo

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