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Spirituality and Psychology Lab
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Spirituality and Psychology Lab



  • Lisa Miller, PhD

    Lisa Miller, Ph.D. is Professor and Director of the Clinical Psychology Program as well as Director of Spirituality and Mind-Body Institute.  Dr. Miller's lab investigates spirituality, mental health, wellness and thriving at multiple levels of analysis, spiritually informed positive psychotherapy and treatment interventions. She is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the APA journal "Spirituality in Clinical Practice," Associate Editor of the APA journal "Psychology of Religion and Spirituality" and Editor of the "Oxford University Press Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality." 

    Dr. Miller is a Fellow of the APA, a former President of the APA Society of Psychology and Spirituality and received the Virginia Sexton Mentoring Award from the APA. She received a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania under Martin Seligman.  Dr. Miller works through scholarship and public discourse to integrate spirituality into contemporary psychology.

    Author, National Best Seller - The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving

    Spirituality & Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York Times:

    Co-Editor-in-Chief, Spirituality in Clinical Practice (APA Journals):

    Editor, Oxford University Press Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality:


  • Samuel Barkin

    Sam Barkin, M.A., M.S., is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. After graduating from UCLA in 2006 with a B.A. in sociology, Sam began work as a teaching artist in Brooklyn, NY. Specializing in programming spanning the developmental spectrum, Sam developed and taught numerous courses in New York City public schools, as well as multiple youth and older adult education programs. Sam's scholarly interests include community participatory research, diversity, developmental psychopathology, and resilience within atypical contexts. His most recent published articles center on vulnerability and adjustment in upper SES populations. During the summer, Sam returns to Northern California, where he is the Head Supervisor at the circus and performing arts summer camp, Camp Winnarainbow.

  • Yakov Barton

    Yakov Barton, M.A., M.S., M.Phil., is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Originally from Santa Cruz, CA, Yakov completed his B.A. in psychology and film at UCLA, and a M.A. and M.S. in clinical psychology at Teachers College. His research examines the intersection of developmental and neurological components of spirituality, positive psychology, and mental health, focusing specifically on factors of risk and resilience among emerging adults. Yakov is currently Project Director for an empirical study examining the association of spirituality, positive psychology, neurological development, and mental health in emerging adulthood. In addition, Yakov is an Instructor of Positive Psychology, as well as Research Development and Integrative Frojects, for the M.A. program in clinical psychology at Teachers College. Yakov's recent works include an article examining the shared relationship of positive psychology and spirituality and an article on neurological correlates of developmental depression, both published in the Journal of Religion and Health. Yakov has also conducted research examining the unique associations of social adjustment and attendance of religious services with major depression, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, as well co-authored a chapter exploring cultural and spiritual considerations of psychotherapy with Jewish populations for the APA Handbook of Psychotherapy and Religious Diversity.

    Recent Publications

    Barton, Y. A., & Miller, L. (2015). Spirituality and Positive Psychology Go Hand in Hand: An Investigation of Multiple Empirically Derived Profiles and Related Protective Benefits. Journal of religion and health, 1-15.

    Miller, L., & Barton, Y. A. (2015). Developmental Depression in Adolescents: A Potential Sub-type Based on Neural Correlates and Comorbidity. Journal of religion and health, 54(3), 817-828.

    Miller, L., Barton, Y.A., Mazur, M., & Lovinger, R. (2013). Psychotherapy with Conservative and Reform Jews. In P. S. Richards (Eds.), Handbook of Psychotherapy and Religious Diversity: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals (Invited Chapter), APA Books. In press.

    Barton, Y.A., Miller, L., Wickramaratne, P., Gameroff, M.J., & Weissman, M.M. (2013). Religious attendance and social adjustment as protective against depression: A 10-year prospective study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 146, 53-57.

  • Jennifer Drapkin

    Jennifer Drapkin, M.S., is a third-year doctoral student in clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. She received her B.A. in psychology from Yale University, her M.S. in journalism from Columbia School of Journalism, and her yoga instructor certification from Laughing Lotus College of Yoga in New York City. As writer and editor, Jennifer has been published extensively in Psychology Today, The Smithsonian, and Mental_floss Magazine. As a yoga instructor, she's taught at the Urban Yoga Foundation and in New York City public schools, specializing in kindergarten through 5th grade. Jennifer believes that a good life should be divided between enjoying the world and saving the world, if you're doing too much of either one, then you're missing something. She's thrilled to have the opportunity to study the connection between mind, body, and spirit at Columbia. Jennifer hopes that by building better inner worlds, we can build better outer worlds, too.

  • Alexandra Jordan

    Alexandra Jordan, M.A., M.S., is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania. After working in the magazine publishing industry for four years, she returned to school to pursue her M.A. in psychology from Teachers College. As a doctoral student, she focuses on research exploring the impact of motherhood on identity development. 

  • Ariel Kor

    Ariel Kor, M.A., is a fourth-year doctoral student in clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Ariel is Israeli-born and Singapore-bred, and a graduate of Oxford University (B.A., M.A.). Following a 15-year career in the world of finance, Ariel has returned to academia. He is a Founding Member of the Applied Positive Psychology Institute in Israel together with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar  and Professor Mario Mikulincer, and is a board member of Meor--a Jewish education and leadership program at over 20 campuses across the US. His research interests are in behavioral addictions, spirituality, and attachment, as well as children's education and achievement. He is currently working on a neurobiological study attempting to identify the correlates of behavioral addictions, spirituality, and attachment.

  • Elsa Lau

    Elsa Lau, M.A., is a second-year doctoral student in clinical psychology with an interest in spiritual diversity, psychoneuroimmunology, and medical outcomes. Her research at McGill University and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center investigates psycho-oncology across the lifespan, from prevention and biomarkers to psycho-spiritual outcomes in palliative care. Her current work focuses on cross-cultural spirituality, mind-body medicine, and psychophysiology. She is co-director of LEO, the spiritually based wellness center of SMBI, and oversees the development of holistic workshops and seminars.
  • Clayton McClintock

    Clayton McClintock, M.T.S., is a third-year doctoral student in clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. He received a B.A. from Dartmouth in English and an M.T.S. from Harvard in psychology and religion. His primary research interests include spiritual practice, pathways in mind-body medicine, and mindful engagement.

  • Lorne Schussel

    Lorne Schussel, M.A., is a fifth-year doctoral student in clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, focusing on the utilization of novel mind-body practices with at risk populations. Before joining the lab Lorne was a RA in the laboratory for Advances of Consciousness  and Health in Arizona, shot free lance film for Discovery Health, and worked in a hospital with suicidal patients. He continues to explore the nascent literature of consciousness, health and spirituality within the framework of a post-materialist paradigm, and has recently published his work in the Journal of Clinical Psychology: In session.

  • Sarah Sherman

    Sarah Sherman, M.A., is a third-year doctoral student in Interdisciplinary Studies, which includes the departments of Counseling and Clinical Psychology and Organization and Leadership Department.  She received her M.A. from Teachers College and B.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design.  Her research interests are related to mindfulness-based and other mind body initiatives in professional settings.