Experience Life To The Fullest: A Mindfulness Approach with Seth Gillihan
Seth Gillihan started his clinical training in The George Washington University’s community counseling program where he learned the fundamentals of human development, the therapeutic relationship, and how people make positive changes. While at GW he had the opportunity to work with individuals in a partial hospitalization program who were dealing with major mental illnesses and addiction, as well as with adolescents, college students, and adults in GW’s outpatient clinic.

After the first year in his master’s program he knew he wanted more specialized training in cognitive-behavioral therapy, which he had learned was the best-tested treatment for the conditions he wanted to treat. Seth also got excited about understanding the role of the brain in depression and anxiety. He decided to continue his education in the doctoral program in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, which is strong both in brain research and in evidence-based psychological treatments.

After he finished his clinical training and defended his dissertation at Penn, Seth completed his internship at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey. At Ancora, he returned to similar work as he had done while at GW, completing assessments and developing treatment plans for individuals with serious mental illness and drug addiction, this time on inpatient units. He also trained in the secure unit of the hospital which housed patients who were involved in various ways with the legal system. During his internship, he worked with Dr. Judith Coché in Center City Philadelphia for his outpatient placement, where he got additional supervised experience working with individuals and groups.

Seth considered going into full-time practice after his internship, but decided he wanted to pursue an academic track instead. He felt grateful for the evidence-based treatments he had learned about and was using, and wanted to contribute to their further development. He secured an Assistant Professor position at Dr. Edna Foa’s Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety (CTSA) in the Psychiatry Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Foa is a pioneer in the field of OCD and PTSD treatment, and he learned an extraordinary amount in his time at the center.

While he was there he did research on post traumatic stress disorder and smoking cessation, provided treatment for OCD, PTSD, anxiety, and depression, and supervised psychology trainees and psychiatry residents in the delivery of CBT for these conditions. He also was trained in mindfulness-based therapy for anxiety, especially for generalized anxiety disorder.

After he left his full-time position at Penn he pursued advanced training in CBT for insomnia (CBT-I) since so many of the people he was treating had sleep problems. Since summer 2012 he has been in independent private practice, delivering treatment in Haverford, PA, and by video conference.