Duke Cognitive-Behavioral Research and Treatment Program

Duke Cognitive-Behavioral Research and Treatment Program

The mission of the Duke CBRTP is to conduct high quality research, while providing state-of-the-art clinical training and outpatient clinical services for adults with psychiatric problems. Research in the Duke CBRTP is designed to ultimately improve treatments for some of the more-difficult-to-treat psychiatric problems, including borderline personality disorder and major depression. The majority of our research is designed to help understand how problems with emotion regulation underlie these psychiatric disorders. Clinically, our primary expertise is in the use of cognitive behavioral therapies generally, and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) specifically.


To set up an appointment, please call 888-ASK-DUKE. If you have additional questions, you may contact Marissa Morris-Jones at 919-684-6718 or email her atmarissa.morris-jones@duke.edu. You also can complete this form and email it tomarissa.morris-jones@duke.edu

The Duke CBRTP provides cognitive behavioral therapies for adults (individuals and couples).

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) includes a wide range of specific treamtents, all of which are designed to help people learn to think and behave in healthier ways. Some of the treatments that we commonly use are Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), exposure-based therapies for anxiety disorders (PTSD, OCD, social anxiety, e.g.), behavioral activation for depression, and cognitive therapy for anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders (e.g., bipolar disorder).

In general, CBT often works for people with mood, anxiety, eating, substance, or personality disorders. For example, CBT can be used to help people learn how to be less depressed or anxious, have fewer binges, use drugs less, or reduce the amount of self-harm. CBT also is effective for improving the quality of life and the use of effective coping skills for individuals dealing with medical illness, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic pain.

Treatment is focused on identifying specific goals, barriers to these goals, and skillful ways to overcome these barriers in order to live a life that is consistent with one's values. Treatment is directive, active, and emphasizes learning new ways to live.

The Duke CBRTP is a training site for doctoral students, psychiatry residents, and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Medical Psychology interns and Post-Doctoral Associates.

Patients receive comprehensive diagnostic interviews and assessments in advance of making any treatment recommendations. Services are provided according to the guidelines provided by the Private Diagnostic Clinic.


The CBRTP conducts innovative research studies that contribute to a greater understanding of mental disorders and their treatment. Most of our studies are concerned with the links between emotions, mental disorders such as depression and borderline personality disorder, and their treatment. 

We have several ongoing emotion studies. In these studies, we learn more about how people experience, learn from, and regulate their emotions. These studies may include interviews, tasks such as making ratings of pictures or sounds, and/or measures of how your body responds to emotions. Several of these studies are done though theSensory processing and Emotion Regulation Program

We also have studies that are testing psychological treatment for different conditions, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use. Our treatment studies either focus on the the development of new behavioral ("talk therapy") treatments, or on the study of exisiting evidence-based treatments. Our treatment studies usually do not include medications.


We value providing high quality research and clinical training as an integral part of the CBRTP.

Research Training
Graduate Students: Dr. Rosenthal has a joint appointment with the DUMC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Duke University Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Applicants to the Duke University Clinical Psychology Doctoral program may apply to work with him if they share similar research interests in either emotional functioning and borderline personality disorder or the development of novel portable computer-based interventions for psychopathology. Dr. Smoski does not take clinical psychology first year graduate students. After being accepted to the Clinical Psychology program, graduate students interested in working with Dr. Smoski should contact her. We encourage interested graduate students to receive training in our lab either through helping with ongoing studies or collaborating on new studies.

Undergraduate Research Assistants: Undergraduate students receive training as Research Assistants, where they learn valuable skills and have meaningful experiences to help shape their future career paths. Research Assistants help with all aspects of studies, from screening subjects, running subjects in experiments, database entry and management, and help with grants and manuscripts. Research Assistants can come to the CBRTP as federal work-study students (if already approved), Duke Hospital Volunteers, or Practicum students through the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. The minimum work per week is 8-10 hours, and the schedule of hours can be flexible. If you are interested in being an undergraduate Research Assistant, please contact Lisalynn Kelley, kelle026@mc.duke.edu, the CBRTP Lead Coordinator. 

Clinical Training
Advanced clinical trainees treat people under the supervision of Drs. Rosenthal and Pearce. These include advanced doctoral level graduate students, highly trained medical psychology interns in their last year of training before receiving their PhD, psychiatry residents, and post-doctoral fellows.


More information to come.