Dr. Lauren Bonavitacola is a licensed clinical psychologist and coordinator of the trauma-focused treatment programs at Cognitive & Behavioral Consultants of Westchester and Manhattan. She works with adolescents, adults, couples, families, and schools. Dr. Bonavitacola has expertise and specialized training in the delivery of evidence-based treatments for 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 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in adolescents and adults.
Lauren received her bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy and Music Performance with a minor in Psychology from the University of Miami. She completed her music therapy clinical internship at Riverview Hospital for Children and Youth in Middletown, CT where she worked with adolescents who were suicidal and/or experiencing extreme dysregulation utilizing DBT skills training and music therapy interventions.Subsequently, she earned both her masters and doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP).
Dr. Bonavitacola completed her pre-doctoral clinical psychology 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. At VA Connecticut, Dr. Bonavitacola worked in the Substance Abuse Treatment Program where she gained expertise in the assessment and treatment of substance use disorders, including 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.
Dr. Bonavitacola completed a health psychology minor at the VA, which included implementation of CBT for insomnia as well as conducting transplant and pre-neurosurgery evaluations. Additionally at the VA, Dr. Bonavitacola completed extensive training and consultation towards her certification in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD with Veterans, which she has now received. At UConn School of Medicine, Dr. Bonavitacola worked in the Child Trauma Clinic providing Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT) to adolescents with PTSD. At CMHA, she acted as a DBT consultant and group therapist in the Young Adult Assertive Community Treatment Team (YAACTT). She also created her own music therapy group based on evidence-based music therapy and DBT principles for YAACTT clients. In the Adult Outpatient, she provided individual therapy services as well as group therapy services in the Latino/Latina Substance Abuse Program and Advanced Women’s Trauma Program.
Prior to internship, Dr. Bonavitacola completed several externships in different settings with both adolescents and adults. She completed a yearlong externship at the Center for Treatment and Study of Anxiety (CTSA) 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. At the CTSA, she received intensive training in Prolonged Exposure for PTSD and Exposure and Response Prevention for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). While at the CTSA, Dr. Bonavitacola received her certification as a Prolonged Exposure therapist.
Dr. Bonavitacola completed a 2.5-year research and clinical externship at the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Clinic at Rutgers University (DBT-RU), a research clinic that provides comprehensive, outpatient DBT services to adults under the direction of Dr. Shireen Rizvi. At DBT-RU, Dr. Bonavitacola provided individual and group DBT treatment to adults with BPD. Dr. Bonavitacola published and presented several posters and papers through the DBT-RU clinic on topics related to 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. Her dissertation focused on the functional outcomes, including the familial, academic, and social functioning, of the adolescents in the study. As an assistant to Dr. Rizvi, Dr. Bonavitacola attended the 2-week long DBT Intensive Training through Behavioral Tech.
Dr. Bonavitacola participated in a 2-year externship 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, provided in vivo assessments of patients in need of mental health services, conducted ADHD and cognitive assessments, short-term individual therapy for various health related conditions, depression, and various anxiety disorders, and participated in medical resident training for psychosocial sensitivity when discussing reproductive options to pregnant women.
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 compared to an active control of guidance counselor run groups in schools under the supervision of the PI Dr. Jami Young. She gained expert training in the K-SADS semi-structured diagnostic interview, traditional IPT for adults, and the IPT-AST model while co-leading three separate groups in local schools as a part of the study.