Lauren Bonavitacola is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Director of Trauma Program who works with adolescents, adults, couples, families, and schools. Dr. Bonavitacola has expertise and specialized training in the delivery of evidence-based treatments for trauma, anxiety, mood, substance use, eating, and personality disorders across the lifespan. She specializes in the implementation of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and associated conditions, as well as CBT for anxiety and mood disorders, particularly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in adolescents and adults. She is a board-certified clinician by the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification. She is also a Prolonged Exposure Consultant, having completed a training program through Emory University School of Medicine. She received her bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy and Music Performance with a minor in Psychology from the University of Miami, and she earned both her master’s and doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP).
Dr. Bonavitacola completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Greater Hartford Consortium, which included training experiences at VA Connecticut Healthcare System- Newington Campus, UConn School of Medicine, and Community Mental Health Affiliates (CMHA) of New Britain, CT. Dr. Bonavitacola worked in the Substance Abuse Treatment Program and received specialized training in CBT for smoking cessation. She also worked in the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Team where she provided assessment, group, and individual treatment to Veterans experiencing difficulties from PTSD and its sequelae using Cognitive Processing Therapy. Dr. Bonavitacola was also trained in the implementation of CBT for insomnia and in Trauma-Focused CBT for adolescents with PTSD. On the Young Adult Assertive Community Treatment Team, Dr. Bonavitacola served as a DBT consultant, skills group leader, and music therapist.
Prior to internship, Dr. Bonavitacola completed several psychology externship trainings with both adolescents and adults. She completed a year-long externship at the Center for Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania under the direction of Dr. Edna Foa where she provided exposure-based treatments for anxiety disorders in young adults and adults. She received intensive training in Prolonged Exposure for PTSD, and Exposure and Response Prevention for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Dr. Bonavitacola completed a 3-year research and clinical externship at the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Clinic at Rutgers University where she received intensive DBT training from Dr. Shireen Rizvi and provided individual and group DBT treatment to adults with BPD. She published and presented on topics related to therapy homework compliance, therapeutic alliance, and treatment outcome.
She also served as research assistant and individual therapist for a pilot study of DBT for adolescents with school refusal, which included the novel addition of web-based coaching. Additionally, she spent 2 years at Robert Wood Johnson Family Medicine at Monument Square, a primary care clinic that offers various behavioral medicine services across the lifespan. In this setting, Dr. Bonavitacola collaborated and consulted with primary care physicians on patient care, conducted ADHD and cognitive assessments, short-term individual therapy, and participated in medical resident training for psychosocial sensitivity when discussing reproductive options to pregnant women.
Lastly, Dr. Bonavitacola participated for three years as a research evaluator and therapist on a randomized controlled trial of Interpersonal Psychotherapy-Adolescent Skills Training (IPT-AST) for adolescents at risk for depression. Dr. Bonavitacola is an active member of the International Society for the Implementation and Teaching of Dialectical Behavior Therapy and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.