JOHN P. FORSYTH is Professor of Psychology at the University at Albany, SUNY, and Faculty Director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program (ADRP) in Albany, NY. He received his B.A. in psychology from Providence College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from West Virginia University. He completed his pre-doctoral internship training at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Jackson VAMC Consortium, where he served as Chief Psychology Resident within the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior.
He has received several national and international awards for his scholarly work in the areas of behavior analysis and therapy, anxiety disorders, and experimental psychopathology. In 2000 he received the B. F. Skinner New Researcher Award from Division 25 of the American Psychological Association for innovative and important behavioral research by a new investigator. In 1999, he was the recipient of the Dissertation Award from the Society for a Science for Clinical Psychology for excellence in research. In 1996 he was awarded the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy. Upon completion of his graduate training, West Virginia University recognized his scholarly contributions to behavioral science with the Don Hake Award.
He is past Associate Editor of Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry and the Behavior Therapist, and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, Cognitive & Behavioral Practice and the Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy. He functioned as a contributing Editor of a two-part special anniversary issue of the journal Behavior Therapy titled Thirty Years of Behavior Therapy: Promises Kept, Promises Unfulfilled (vol 28, 3; 28, 4).
He has authored and co-authored over 90 articles, five books (many of which appear also in Dutch, German, Korean, Polish), several book chapters, routinely leads professional workshops on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and has presented numerous papers at professional meetings. He is co-author of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: A Practitioner's Treatment Guide to Using Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Value-Based Behavior Change Strategies, a guide for professionals using ACT with their anxious clients. He is also the co-author of three popular self-help books, The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias & Worry Using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, ACT on Life, Not on Anger: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Approach to Problem Anger, and Your Life on Purpose: How to Find What Matters and Create the Life You Want. He just completed the 2nd edition of The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook. His latest book, Anxiety Happens, is for anyone who gets tripped up now and then by anxiety, stress, and fear.
Dr. Forsyth's research, some of which has been funded by NIMH and more recently by the Department of Defense, focuses on restoring lives that are not working by getting at the root of human suffering. His research program, spanning basic experimental psychopathology and treatment-oriented research, aims to elucidate processes that move people from a normal to a disordered experience of anxiety and fear and how to alter such processes in therapy. He and his lab group are doing this from a contextual, behavioral perspective, with an eye on how emotion regulation feeds and maintains suffering. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Relational Frame Theory are approaches that we think offer a way to unpack this suffering and help people move forward on the path toward creating a more vital life.
He routinely teaches classes at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and provides clinical supervision at the University at Albany's Psychological Services Center. In 2006, Dr. Forsyth was recognized for his teaching with two awards -- the University at Albany Excellence in Teaching Award and the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. John also serves as a senior consulting Editor for the ACT book series with New Harbinger and is a member of the teaching faculty at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY. John is also a highly sought after ACT trainer and regularly offers professional workshops and training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
John spends his free time writing, hiking, camping, Telemark skiing (though not often enough), and fly fishing in the Adirondacks and Maine. He also enjoys playing guitar and Irish fiddle, and spending quality time with his children.
Current Project(s):A list of projects that John is supervising can be seen on our Research Page.
Representative Publications and Presentations:
* denotes student author
*Berghoff, C. R., Forsyth, J. P., *Ritzert, T. R., Eifert, G. H., & Anderson, D. A. (in press). Evaluation of the contribution of values clarification to a brief mindfulness meditation intervention for anxiety. Journal of Clinical Psychology.
Forsyth, J. P., & Eifert, G. H. (2018). Anxiety happens: 52 ways to find peace of mind. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.
Forsyth, J. P., & Ritzert, T. R. (2018). Cultivating psychological acceptance. In S. C. Hayes & S. G. Hoffman (Eds.), Process-based CBT. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.
Forsyth, J. P. (Discussant) (2018, July). In C. Wetterneck (Chair), Examining the impact on ACT processes of ACT and exposure-based treatments for OCD and PTSD. Symposium presented at the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science World Conference, Montreal, CA.
Forsyth, J. P. (Chair) (2018, July). Cultivating self-compassion and its relation to ACT intervention processes. Symposium presented at the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science World Conference, Montreal, CA.
*Tifft, E. D., *Ritzert, T. R., & Forsyth, J. P. (2018, July). Clarifying relations among self-compassion and ACT processes in the treatment of anxiety disorders: A test of several mediational models. In J. P. Forsyth (Chair), Cultivating self-compassion and its relation to ACT intervention processes. Symposium presented at the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science World Conference, Montreal, CA.
*Berghoff, C. R., Wheeless, L. E., *Ritzert, T. R., Wooley, C. M., & Forsyth, J. P. (2017). Mindfulness meditation adherence in a college sample: Comparison of a 10-min versus 20-min 2-week daily practice. Mindfulness, 8, 1513-1521.
Eifert, G. H., McKay, M., Forsyth, J. P. (2017). Mit Ärger und Wut umgehen: Der achtsame Weg in ein friedliches Leben mit der akzeptanz-und commitment-therapie (ACT). Berlin, Germany: Hogrefe. [Second German translation of ACT on life not on anger: The new Acceptance and Commitment Therapy guide for problem anger].
Forsyth, J. P., & Eifert, G. H. (2016). The mindfulness and acceptance workbook for anxiety: A guide to breaking free from anxiety, phobias, and worry using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, 2nd ed. [plus guided meditations]. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.
*Ritzert, T. R., *Anderson, L. M., *Reilly, E. E., *Gorrell, S., Forsyth, J. P., & Anderson, D. A. (2016). Assessment of Weight/Shape Implicit Bias Related to Attractiveness, Fear, and Disgust. The Psychological Record, 66, 405-417.
*Ritzert, T. R., *Artzschwager, T., *Berghoff, C. R., & Forsyth, J. P. (2016, June). Transforming fear: The impact of a brief values-based intervention on avoidance behavior in an exposure context. In E. B. Lee (Chair), How does ACT enhance our understanding of exposure? Symposium conducted at Association for Contextual Behavioral Science World Conference 14, Seattle, WA.
*Ritzert, T., Forsyth, J. P., *Berghoff, C. R., Boswell, J., & Eifert, G. H. (2016). Evaluating the effectiveness of ACT for anxiety disorders in a self-help context: Outcomes from a randomized wait-list controlled trial. Behavior Therapy, 47, 431-572.
*Ritzert, T., Forsyth, J. P., Berghoff, C. R., & Barnes-Holmes, D. (2015). The impact of a cognitive defusion intervention on behavioral and psychological flexibility: An experimental evaluation in a spider fearful non-clinical sample. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 4, 112-120.
*Kelly, M. M., Sido, H., Forsyth, J. P., Ziedonis, D. M., Kalman, D., & Cooney, J. L. (2015). A pilot study of an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy smoking cessation treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Dual Diagnosis, 11, 50-55.
*Ritzert, T. R., *Berghoff, C. R., & Forsyth, J. P. (2015, November). Experiential avoidance moderates the link between social pressure and successful valued-living. In C. R. Bergoff (Chair), Living Life to the fullest: Leveraging personal value-directed behavior to enhance well-being and undermine psychological distress. Symposium presented at the 49th annual Convention of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Chicago, IL.