Susan Orsillo, PhD

Department of Psychology

Phone: 617-305-1924
Fax: 617-367-2924
Office: Donahue Building, 636E




  • PhD, University at Albany, SUNY
  • MA, University at Albany, SUNY
  • BA, University at Albany, SUNY

Internship: Tufts University School of Medicine/Boston Department of Veterans Affairs Psychology Internship Consortium; Postdoctoral fellowship: National Center for PTSD: Behavioral Sciences Division Boston VA Healthcare System; Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Health Services Provider MA.

Specialty Areas

Acceptance and mindfulness; acceptance-based behavior therapy, anxiety disorders, evidence-based therapies, dissemination and implementation.

I am interested in developing, refining and disseminating acceptance-based behavioral approaches to improving psychological functioning, health and quality of life. Acceptance-based behavior therapy (ABBT) involves integrating acceptance and mindfulness-based approaches (such as ACT, MBCT, DBT and MBSR) with more traditionally behavioral approaches to therapy (e.g., psychoeducation, skills training, exposure therapy).  With funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, my colleague Liz Roemer and I developed an ABBT to treat generalized anxiety disorder and examined its efficacy in a randomized control trial comparing ABBT to applied relaxation.  We are currently examining the efficacy of a self-directed version of the treatment and developing more effective methods of training and dissemination.  In collaboration with graduate students in my lab, I have also develop acceptance-based behavioral approaches to target other problem areas.  For example, we have developed programs aimed at decreasing depression in first year college students, decreasing relational aggression among middle schoolers, reducing the risk of sexual assault among college students, decreasing procrastination and improving body dissatisfaction.  My second research interest involves experimentally examining the nature and parameters of the constructs we target with ABBT, including emotional avoidance, suppression, and the strategic withholding of emotion across several channels of responding including self-report, facial expression, psychophysiological responding and narrative expression. 

View the Acceptance, Mindfulness, and Emotion Lab's Research Web Page.

Selected Publications

Orsillo, S.M., Danitz, S., & Roemer, L. (2016). Mindfulness-based approaches. In A.M. Nezu & C.M. Nezu (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies (pp. 172-199). New York: Oxford University Press.

Millstein, D.J., Orsillo, S.M., Hayes-Skelton, S.A., & Roemer, L (in press). Interpersonal problems, mindfulness and therapy outcome in an acceptance-based behavior therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.  

Danitz, S.B. & Orsillo, S.M. (2014). The mindful way through the semester: An investigation of the effectiveness of an acceptance-based behavioral therapy program on psychological wellness in first year students. Behavior Modification.

Hayes-Skelton, S. A., Calloway, A., Roemer, L., & Orsillo, S. M. (2014). Decentering as a potential common mechanism across two therapies for generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.  

Orsillo, S.M. & Roemer, L. (2011). The mindful way through anxiety. New York: Guilford.

Courses Taught

PSYCH 326 - Abnormal Psychology
PSYCH 340 - Professional Development in Psychology
PSYCH 350 - Psychology Internship
PSYCH 711 - Writing for Psychological Science
PSYCH 721 - Evidence-Based Principles in Psychotherapy
PSYCH 741 - Clinical Supervision and Consultation (Clinical Practicum)
PSYCH 779 - Acceptance & Mindfulness in Psychotherapy