PBS welcomes Lecturer Carolyn Davies

Carolyn DaviesCarolyn Davies received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and completed her postdoctoral training at the Anxiety Disorders Center at Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital. Her research focuses on the assessment and treatment of anxiety and trauma-related disorders, with the goal of improving treatment outcomes for these disorders.

Her most recent projects involve using multimethod approaches (e.g., psychophysiological, subjective, behavioral) to examine predictors and mechanisms of treatment outcomes. In addition to research, Carolyn is passionate about teaching and advising students in clinical psychology. She will be teaching two courses this fall (Clinical Psychology Lab and Anxiety and Related Disorders), and she is looking forward to meeting with students who are interested in pursuing careers in mental health.

We asked Carolyn how she began her academic career:

How did you first get interested in psychology?

I had always been fascinated by how brains work and was initially thinking of studying neuroscience. When I got to Johns Hopkins (where I did my undergrad), I found that I was actually most drawn to psychology courses—courses where we learned about the human experience from the level of behavior and cognition rather than neurons and circuits. Then when I took a psychology lab course and designed my first study, I was inspired by how creative the process was and decided that I wanted to get more involved in research. That is one reason that I am so excited to teach the clinical psychology lab course here at UMass—I hope to foster that same creative process that I experienced as an undergrad!

What made you decide to focus on your particular area of research?

After getting involved in research as an undergrad, I realized that I was most drawn to the practical applications of research in clinical psychology. In particular, I was interested in anxiety because it is an emotion that is universal and necessary for our survival, but it can also become so frequent and intense that it significantly interferes with people's functioning—in fact, anxiety and related disorders are the most common type of mental health disorders in the country. How is it that this natural, necessary emotion can become so problematic? After undergrad, I worked as a research coordinator at the UCLA Anxiety and Depression Research Center with Dr. Michelle Craske, where my interests in anxiety disorders further solidified, and I went on to pursue my graduate studies there as well. I look forward to talking with students who want to get involved in research or clinical experiences—getting hands-on experience is the best way to figure out what your interests are!