Our clinicians are actively engaged in psychological research and believe that research can enhance psychotherapy practice, and vice versa. In addition, our therapists are avid consumers of psychological literature, regularly attending and presenting at scientific meetings. Below we provide a brief description of the research interests and experiences of our clinicians.

Dr. Jessica Borelli specializes in the study of relationships -- the majority of work her pertains to parent-child relationships, with a focus on identifying and understanding the self-perpetuating cycles that families can find themselves in with respect to parenting an anxious or depressed child. In addition, Dr. Borelli has conducted research on children experiencing using circumstances, such as adopted children, children born in a prison nursery system, transgender children or children with fluid gender identities, and children whose parents have an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Dr. Borelli has also conducted research studies on couples, exploring issues related to divorce, military deployment, and sustaining a long distance romantic relationship. Over the past five years, Dr. Borelli has been working on developing an intervention that can be used to improve relationship quality. Dr. Borelli has published more than 60 articles and book chapters and maintains an active research laboratory at UC Irvine. She is currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Child and Family Studies, a member of the editorial board of Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, and on the board of directors of River Stones Residential Treatment Facility.

Representative publications:

  • Borelli, J.L., Hong, K., Rasmussen, H. F., & Smiley, P. A. (in press). Reflective functioning, physiological reactivity, and overcontrol in mothers: Links with school-aged children’s reflective functioning. Developmental Psychology.
  • Borelli, J. L., Burkhart, M., Rasmussen, H. F., Smiley, P. A., & Hellemann, G. (2017). Children's and mothers' cardiovascular reactivity to a standardized laboratory stressor: Unique relations with maternal anxiety and overcontrol. Emotion. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/emo0000320
  • Borelli, J. L., Smiley, P. A., Rasmussen, H. F., Gómez, A, Seaman, L. C., & Nurmi, E. L. (2017). Interactive effects of attachment and FKBP5 genotype on school-aged children's emotion regulation and depressive symptoms. Behavioural Brain Research, 325, 278-289. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2016.07.035
  • Borelli, J. L., Ho, L., Sohn, Epps, L., Coyiuto, M., & West, J. L. (2016). School-aged children’s attachment dismissal prospectively predicts divergence of their behavioral and self-reported anxiety. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26, 1018-1028. doi:10.1007/s10826-016-0619-y

Dr. David Kyle Bond (Kyle) holds a PhD in positive developmental psychology and has conducted research within each developmental phase. During his doctoral training, Kyle has helped to develop a brief, attachment-based intervention for use with parents of school-aged and young children, and provided training and guidance to others in the service of furthering its impact. In addition, Kyle has explored the connections between savoring, rumination, and attachment style. Most recently, Kyle adapted this relational savoring intervention for use with older adults, testing it with a sample of 60 adults ages 60 to 95 in order to explore its efficacy in reducing less desirable psychosocial characteristics (for example, loneliness). His findings, which he is currently writing up for publication, suggest that relational savoring is most effective for bereaved older adults with particular characteristics.

Representative publications:

  • Bond, D.K. & Borelli, J.L. (2016). Maternal attachment insecurity and poorer proficiency savoring memories with their children: The mediating role of rumination. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 1-24. doi: 10.1177/0265407516664995
  • Borelli, J. L., Ramsook, K. A., Smiley, P., Kyle Bond, D., West, J. L., & Buttitta, K. H. (2016). Language matching among mother-child dyads: Associations with child attachment and emotion reactivity. Social Development, doi:10.1111/sode.12200
  • Borelli, J. L., Smiley, P., Bond, D. K., Buttitta, K. V., DeMeules, M., Perrone, L., & ... West, J. L. (2015). Parental anxiety prospectively predicts fearful children’s physiological recovery from stress. Child Psychiatry And Human Development, 46(5), 774-785. doi:10.1007/s10578-014-0519-6

Gerin Gaskin is in the process of completing her doctorate in positive developmental psychology. For the first part of her research career, Gerin focused on developing and testing behavioral interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. Recognizing an unmet mental health need, with her doctoral work, Gerin has devoted herself to developing and testing an intervention for parents of children with ASD. This respecialization has required substantial investment of time and effort, necessitating that Gerin master a new research methodology.

Representative publications:

  • Gaskin, G. E., & Borelli, J. L. (in press). Behavioral assessment techniques of personality in children. In B. J. Carducci (Editor-in-Chief & Vol Ed.), Wiley-Blackwell encyclopedia of personality and individual differences: Vol. II. Research methods and assessment techniques. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Jodie Spanos has a master’s degree in marriage & family therapy. Prior to graduate school, Jodie served as a research coordinator of a large NIH-funded study at the University of California, San Diego, which focused on understanding brain-behavior relationships using neuropsychological testing, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and electroencephalograms (EEG) in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. During this time, Jodie worked closely with school-age children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, specific language impairment, Williams Syndrome, and pre-natal/perinatal stroke. She also administered standardized cognitive testing batteries, served as a magnetic residence imaging (MRI) technician, and coordinated with parents, physicians, and school administrators in order to collect biopsychosocial and academic histories, and to accommodate the specific needs of each child.


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