Jacqueline Persons, Ph.D.

510-992-4040 ext. 1


Jacqueline Persons

Jacqueline B. Persons, Ph.D. (license number PSY7275) specializes in treating depression and anxiety in adults, and in providing training and consultation to professionals who want to strengthen their CBT skills or get help conducting research in a clinical setting. Dr. Persons emphasizes helping her clients set goals for what they want to accomplish in the treatment or training, and monitoring progress toward the goals.

Training and Qualifications. Dr. Persons obtained her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1979, and has worked in a private practice setting providing CBT, training and consultation to professionals, and research, for more than 35 years. She is also Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Persons is a clinician, teacher, consultant and supervisor, researcher, and writer. She has an international reputation in the field, and is often invited to speak at conferences and to do trainings locally, in the USA, and around the world.

Dr. Persons has made two important contributions to the field. One is her work on the topic of case formulation in cognitive behavior therapy – that is, the process of developing a hypothesis about the factors that cause and maintain a person’s problems that the clinician can use to guide intervention.

Second, she is an important model of the clinician who can make research contributions while working in a clinical setting. She is now, with her colleagues Polina Eidelman and Janie Hong, working to build the CBT & Science Center into a center than can serve as a prototype of a center that conducts research in the clinical practice setting. A 30-minute video clip produced by the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, in which Dr. Persons describes how she developed a career in which she conducts research in a clinical setting, is posted here.

Dr. Persons’ biggest professional honors are her election as president of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies in 2002 and of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology in 1999. She is also Distinguished Founding Fellow, Certified Cognitive Therapist, and Certified Trainer/Consultant of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy; recipient of the Outstanding Clinician award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies in 2008; and recipient of the Distinguished Contributions to Applied Research and Practice in Psychology award from the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology in 1996. She has authored 3 books, 6 DVDs, and more than 70 articles and chapters.

Dr. Persons discusses her connection to the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (the ABCT) in the following video. This video is part of a series produced by the ABCT on their 50th anniversary.

Dr. Persons is also working with the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology to conduct a series of interviews with leaders in the field on the topic, “Translating Science into Practice”. These interviews can be found here.

Treatment Outcomes. The outcome data for Dr. Persons presented below come from 24 former patients. The depression, anxiety, and stress results were analyzed separately.*

Persons treatment outcomes

The gray bar in the graph corresponds to average scores at the first session of therapy, and the green bar corresponds to average scores at the end of treatment.

This graph presents scores on the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress scales of the DASS (Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales), which is the symptom measure we use most commonly to monitor progress with our patients. Normal, Mild, Moderate, and Severe scores for the DASS are defined as follows:

Depression 0-9 = normal range; 10-13 = mild; 14-20 = moderate; 21-42 = severe
Anxiety 0-7 = normal range; 8-9 = mild; 10-14 = moderate; 15-42 = severe
Stress 0-14 = normal range; 15-18 = mild; 19-25 = moderate; 26-42 = severe

On average, these patients started treatment scoring in the severe range on the Depression scale, in the severe range on the Anxiety scale, and in the severe range on the Stress scale. These same patients ended treatment scoring in the normal range on all three subscales.

*Disclaimer: These results are general and not specific to individual circumstances. Individual results may vary.

Research.  Dr. Persons’ research interests are in the process of change in cognitive-behavior therapy, especially in naturalistic clinical settings, and in psychotherapists’ adoption of evidence-based practices.

Selected publications.

Persons, J.B., Koerner, K., Eidelman, P., Thomas, C., & Liu, H. (In press). Increasing Psychotherapists’ Adoption and Implementation of the Evidence-based Practice of Progress Monitoring. Behaviour Research and Therapy.

Persons, J. B. & Hong, J. J. (2015). Case formulation and the outcome of cognitive behavior therapy. In N. Tarrier (Ed.), Case formulation in cognitive behaviour therapy (pp. 14-37). (2nd ed.). London and New York, Routledge.

Persons, J. B., Hong, J. J., Eidelman, P., & Owen, D. J. (in press). Learning from patients and practice. In L. F. Campbell (Ed.), APA Handbook of Clinical Psychology (Vol. Education and Profession). Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association.

Thomas, C., & Persons, J. B. (2013). Sudden gains can occur in psychotherapy even when the pattern of change is gradual. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 20, 127-142.

Gruber, J. L., & Persons, J. B. (2010). Unquiet treatment: Handling treatment refusal in bipolar disorder. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 24, 16-25.

Kring, A. M., Persons, J. B., & Thomas, C. (2007). Changes in affect during treatment for depression and anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45, 1753–1764.

Persons, J. B. (2008). The case formulation approach to cognitive-behavior therapy. New York : Guilford Publications. Korean translation published 2015 by Hakjisa Publisher, Inc.

Persons, J. B., Davidson, J., & Tompkins, M. A. (2001). Essential components of cognitive-behavior therapy for depression. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.