James D. Herbert, PhD


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

James D. Herbert, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, Professor of Psychology, and Director of the Anxiety Treatment and Research Program at Drexel University. He serves as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He also focuses on the distinction between science and pseudoscience in psychology and related fields, and consequently in the promotion of evidence-based practice in mental health. Dr Herbert received his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1989. He completed a clinical internship at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, then joined the faculty of the Medical College of Pennsylvania, where he directed the Behavior Therapy Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry.

Professor Herbert is currently an Associate Editor of The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, and serves on the editorial boards of several other journals, including the Journal of Anxiety Disorders and the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. He is a Fellow of the Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health and an advisor to the American Council on Science and Health.

Dr Herbert has an active research program on psychopathology with particular emphasis on evaluating the effectiveness and mechanisms of action underlying new acceptance-based models of behavior therapy, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as well as an emerging research program on telemedicine. He has received numerous professional honors, including Drexel’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. Professor Herbert’s work has been featured in a variety of popular media, including National Public Radio, Public Radio International, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, ABC News 20/20, Newsweek, Der Spiegel, and various local media.

In 2011, Dr Herbert was elected Representative-at-Large for the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

Selected Book:

book cover
Mindfulness and Acceptance in Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Understanding and Applying the New Therapies, with Evan M Forman (Wiley, 2010). “What has been missing in the midst of partisan battles between orthodox CBT therapists and enthusiastic proponents of newer acceptance/mindfulness approaches is a reasoned, scientifically grounded discourse that would help researchers and clinicians alike sort through the various claims and counterclaims. This book … provides just such a sober and open-minded appraisal of a trend that has sometimes suffered both from too much hype from one side and too sweeping a rejection by the other. This volume encourages careful consideration of both positions and can advance evidence-based psychosocial therapy both conceptually and procedurally to the benefit of all.” — from the Foreword by Gerald C Davison, PhD, University of Southern California.

Selected Publications:

  • “When ‘the shrinks’ ignore science, sue them,” (with R Redding) Skeptical Inquirer (in press).
  • “What are evidence-based treatments?” (with SO Lilienfeld), in J Hallmayer and S Boelte, eds, Autism Spectrum Conditions: International Experts Answer Your Questions on Autism, Asperger Syndrome and PDD-NOS, Cambridge, MA, Hogrefe. (In press)
  • Science and pseudoscience in the development of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: implications for clinical psychology” (with SO Lilienfeld, JM Lohr, RW Montgomery, WT O’Donohue, GM Rosen & DF Tolin), Clinical Psychology Review, 2000 Nov; 20(8):945-971. The enormous popularity recently achieved by Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as a treatment for anxiety disorders appears to have greatly outstripped the evidence for its efficacy from controlled research studies. The disparity raises disturbing questions concerning EMDR’s aggressive commercial promotion and its rapid acceptance among practitioners. It is argued that EMDR provides an excellent vehicle for illustrating the differences between scientific and pseudoscientific therapeutic techniques. Such distinctions are of critical importance for clinical psychologists who intend to base their practice on the best available research. [DOI]
  • “Defining empirically supported treatments: pitfalls and possible solutions,” The Behavior Therapist, 2000; 23:113-122,134.
  • “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: an analysis of specific versus nonspecific treatment factors,” Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 1999 Jan-Apr; 13(1-2):185-207. [DOI]
  • “Power therapies, miraculous claims, and the cures that fail” (with GM Rosen, JM Lohr & RJ McNally), Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 1998 Apr; 26(2): 99-101. [abstract]
  • “Eye Movement Desensitization: a critique of the evidence” (with KT Mueser), Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 1992 Sep; 23(3):169-174. [DOI]

Selected Presentations:

  • “Balancing clinical innovation with the imperative to utilize best available practices,” 8th World Conference of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, 2010 Jun.
  • “Novel therapies and extraordinary claims: being a good consumer,” International Cultic Studies Association, 2008 Jun.
  • “Scientific grounding and usefulness of 50 popular self-help books for anxiety, depression, and trauma: toward evidence-based self-help manuals” (with EM Forman, R Redding & BA Gaudiano), Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, 2007 Nov.
  • “Show me the data!  Finding scientifically-based practices for educating individuals with ASD,” Delaware Autism Program Education Seminar, 2006 Jun 2.
  • “Fringe psychotherapies — what lessons can we learn?” (with SO Lilienfeld, JM Lohr, MT Singer & GC Davison), American Psychological Association, 2001 Jun.

The Online James Herbert: