Anita Lungu’s Bio

I began my career in the field of com­puter sci­ence in Roma­nia by obtain­ing my B.Sc. in that spe­cialty. I also became a part­ner in a soft­ware devel­op­ment com­pany. I ulti­mately pur­sued and obtained a PhD in com­puter sci­ence at Duke Uni­ver­sity. While pur­su­ing my doc­toral degree at Duke Uni­ver­sity I sup­ple­mented my edu­ca­tion, out of per­sonal inter­est, with a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of under­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate courses in psy­chol­ogy, an area I had not been exposed to in my coun­try of ori­gin. Towards the end of my doc­toral degree in com­puter sci­ence, I real­ized I was truly pas­sion­ate about clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy and wanted to pur­sue that as a career.

Con­se­quently I am now pur­su­ing a PhD degree in clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy at Uni­ver­sity of Washington’s hav­ing Dr. Mar­sha Line­han as an aca­d­e­mic adviser.

As a result of this some­times non­lin­ear path, I see myself as being in the for­tu­nate posi­tion of hav­ing knowl­edge in two dif­fer­ent fields and lan­guages that have been apart until rel­a­tively recently: clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy and com­puter sci­ence. I believe these are very inter­est­ing times for both.

Within psy­chol­ogy, advances in treat­ment devel­op­ment research have resulted in the cre­ation of many treat­ments that effec­tively tar­get a vari­ety of men­tal health prob­lems. How­ever, this hasn’t resulted in indi­vid­u­als with behav­ioral prob­lems actu­ally receiv­ing these treat­ments. Lim­ited resources and train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties often make many of the effec­tive treat­ments unreach­able. The field of com­puter sci­ence, on the other hand, is under­go­ing tremen­dous change and excit­ing advance­ments. State of the art tech­nol­ogy (such as mobile smart phones, portable lap­tops or tablets) makes it easy to per­form pre­vi­ously tedious or dif­fi­cult tasks (such as doc­u­ment­ing pro­ce­dures), con­nect peo­ple, as well as trans­fer infor­ma­tion and knowledge.

This tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ment can be trans­formed into an extra­or­di­nary oppor­tu­nity for the field of men­tal health by con­vert­ing exist­ing effec­tive treat­ments into a for­mat that can be dis­sem­i­nated through tech­nol­ogy to a scale that was hard to imag­ine a few decades ago.

In my cur­rent research in clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy I am inter­ested in devel­op­ing and eval­u­at­ing per­sua­sive tech­nol­ogy appli­ca­tions for the area of men­tal health treat­ments and train­ings, par­tic­u­larly in the area of Dialec­ti­cal Behav­ior Ther­apy. In terms of treat­ments I am par­tic­u­larly inter­ested in help­ing clients acquire, prac­tice and gen­er­al­ize behav­ioral skills for man­ag­ing chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tions effectively.