Caleb Lack, Ph.D.
Caleb W. Lack, Ph.D. is a professor of psychology, the program coordinator for the Counseling Psychology MA, and the counseling and MFT practicum coordinator in the Department of Psychology at the University of Central Oklahoma. He is also the past director of the UCO Psychology Clinic, which provides psychotherapy, applied behavioral analysis, psychoeducational evaluations and academic interventions to the Edmond and Oklahoma City metro areas.
A licensed clinical psychologist, Lack is the best-selling author or editor of six books on topics from critical thinking and pseudoscience to racism and sexism in early psychology to various kinds of psychopathology. He has also authored more than 60 scientific publications relating to the assessment and treatment of psychological problems, such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, pediatric mood disorders, and posttraumatic stress. In addition, Lack has presented nationwide and internationally at conferences on a variety of topics, is on the editorial board of scientific journals, and is a reviewer for both journals and granting agencies.
Lack’s clinical interest in evidence-based practice developed while in graduate school for clinical psychology at Oklahoma State University and during his predoctoral internship in clinical child/pediatric psychology at the University of Florida. He specializes in the treatment of children and adults with anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, such as chronic tics, Tourette’s Syndrome, trichotillomania, and excoriation. He has consulted for and been interviewed by local, national and international media outlets.
In addition to courses on his clinical and research specialties in anxiety disorders and evidence-based psychological practice, Lack also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on critical thinking, science and pseudoscience. He has written two popular blogs (the Great Plains Skeptic column on the Skeptic Ink Network and the Separating Truths and Myths column for the Center for Inquiry), as well as presenting about skepticism and critical thinking frequently. From 2016-20 he was the director of the Secular Therapy Project, which aims to bring together non-religious persons seeking mental health treatment with secular, evidence-based providers. Lack also is the founding advisor of the Skeptics@UCO, a campus group dedicated to the application and promotion of reason and scientific skepticism in all areas of life.
A native Oklahoman, Lack grew up in the rural community of Mountain View, where his parents still reside and farm and ranch on land that has been owned by the family for close to 100 years. He currently resides in Edmond, Oklahoma, with his family, livestock guardian dogs, barn cats, goats and kunekune pigs on a wonderful little property called Freethought Farm.
Education and Certifications
Ph.D. in Psychology
Oklahoma State University, Clinical Psychology program (APA accredited)
M.S. in Psychology
Oklahoma State University, Clinical Psychology program (APA accredited)
B.A. in Psychology
Oklahoma State University
Honors College degree, Cum Laude
Health Service Provider Psychologist, State of Oklahoma (#1143), January 2012 to present
Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology (APIT), February 2021 to present
Psychologist, State of Arkansas (#07-37P), December 2007 to July 2014
- General psychology
- Applying psychological science
- Abnormal psychology
- Introduction to clinical and counseling psychology
- Seminar on anxiety disorders
- Seminar on obsessive-compulsive & related disorders
- Personality & psychopathology assessment
- Psychological science
- Advanced counseling
- Child and adolescent counseling
- Practicum I and II
University of Central Oklahoma
- Professor (August 2018 to present)
- Program coordinator, Counseling Psychology MA (November 2021 to present)
- Associate Professor (August 2015 to July 2018)
- Practicum coordinator, counseling/MFT (August 2010 to present)
- Assistant Professor (August 2009 to May 2015)
Arkansas Tech University
- Assistant Professor (August 2006 to May 2009)
Honors and Awards
- Finalist, Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Teaching & Administration, Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence (2020)
- Faculty Merit Credit award, $1500, University of Central Oklahoma (May 2014)
- Award for Research & Scholarship, American Association of University Professors, UCO Chapter (April 2013)
- Faculty Merit nominee for Excellence in Teaching, UCO College of Education & Professional Studies (April 2013)
- Honorary diploma from the Escuela de Psicologicá, Universidad Dr. José Mataís Delgado, San Salvador, El Salvador (awarded November 2012)
- Member, Speakers Bureau, Center for Inquiry (beginning October 2012)
- Emergent Faculty Award for Professional Contributions, UCO College of Education & Professional Studies (April 2012)
- Who's Who in America (2011)
- Phi Mu Teacher of the Month, Arkansas Tech University (November 2007)
- Graduate Research Excellence Award, Master’s level (2004)
- Phoenix Award Finalist for Outstanding Master’s candidate (2003)
- Outstanding Teaching Assistant in the College of Arts & Sciences (2002)
- Outstanding Senior Award in Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences (2001)
- Top Ten Senior nominee, Oklahoma State University (2001)
- Golden Key National Honors Society inductee (1999)
- Psi Chi International Honors society inductee (1999)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, and Tic Disorders
- Critical thinking & scientific skepticism
- Use of technology in psychological treatment and assessment
- Innovative methods for teaching psychology & critical thinking
Professional and Community Involvement
- Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
- Southwestern Psychological Association
- Oklahoma Psychological Society
- Center for Inquiry – On Campus
- Skeptics Society
- Skeptics@UCO (founding advisor)
Recovering from Religion
- Director, the Secular Therapy Project (January 2016 to December 2019)
- Assessment team member, the Secular Therapy Project (January 2013 to December 2015)
Before beginning on any teaching-‐related endeavor, I always ask myself one question: if I was in the audience, would I be bored? It may seem like a silly question to ask, but how many of us can truthfully say that we have never been made to feel sleepy, bored, or just plain uninterested by a teacher? I strive to be the most interesting, informative, entertaining, and educational teacher that my students will ever have in college. I do this by keeping several key components in mind while teaching.
I think that one learns by being actively engaged in the learning process, rather than being only an observer. Don’t get me wrong: I deliver some amazing lectures. But, that should not be the only way a professor tries to assist student learning in class. For me, this means incorporating a variety of both in-class and out-of‐class activities that force the student to become engaged in the material. This includes in-class writing quizzes over content we just covered, writing assignments on hot news topics, encouraging students to relate topics to events in their lives, and challenging students with out-of‐class assignments that challenge them to do more than regurgitate information in paper form. By being reactive rather than passive, both the students and I gain more from the experience.
Related to feeling that learners need to be active participants in their education, I do not see teachers as merely being deliverers of knowledge. Instead, I see the activity of teaching as a two-‐way street. I look forward to learning from my students as they learn from me. Each student brings her or his own unique life experiences into the classroom, and integrating those experiences with the material I am presenting can lead to more productive learning for both the student and teacher. I do not present myself as an all-‐knowing dictator in the classroom, but instead encourage students to challenge me if their experience tells them something different than what I am teaching. This allows us to dialogue in a meaningful way, encourages active participation, and helps students examine their own beliefs and how they were formed.
Technology plays an important role in my teaching, and I am known as being highly tech-savvy. I think that the goal of technology in teaching should be to make learning more interactive and more engaging to the student. I attempt to make student learning enhanced through the use of technology, rather than shoehorning existing teaching methods onto a computer. This approach includes making course websites where students can easily access class notes, syllabi, lecture downloads, online quizzes, online forums, and more. My website (www.caleblack.com) is also a place where former students come to refresh their knowledge, and is apparently used by numerous individuals outside of the university setting, given the over 500,000 hits on it in the last year.
Finally, I think that learning should be transformational. Our students should leave the class different than they entered it, and not just in terms of a grade received or with an area of their knowledge enhanced. Instead, I believe we need to be working on changing lives by helping our students understand how content in a specific course relates to their life, whether or not they go on to advanced study in psychology. Students in my general psychology courses write papers that make them apply critical thinking principles to a pseudoscientific area (e.g., cryptozoology, alien abductions, alternative medicine), thereby challenging them to apply those critical thinking skills rather than just memorizing them for a test. My abnormal psychology students create content that builds on the work of prior students, gives them new skill sets, and is in turn built upon by future students. The graduate students I have helped train are using the skills they learned in classes and supervision to change the lives of individuals daily. We as professors owe it to our students not to just help them get a degree, but to help them expand their minds and improve their lives.
For me, teaching is one of the most rewarding activities that I can imagine. I have been privileged to be able to be an academician for over a decade. Not only am I able to engage in what is, for me, an exciting and enjoyable activity, but I get to do this for a living.
Research, Published Work, and Scholarly Activities
BOOKS AND MONOGRAPHS
Lack, C.W., & Rousseau, J. (2016). Critical Thinking, Science, & Pseudoscience: Why You Can’t Trust Your Brain. New York: Springer.
Lack, C.W. (Editor) (2015). Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Etiology, Phenomenology, and Treatment. United Kingdom: Onus Books.
Abramson, C. I., & Lack, C. W. (Editors) (2014). Psychology Gone Astray: A Selection of Racist & Sexist Literature from Early Psychological Research. United Kingdom: Onus Books.
Lack, C.W. (2013). Mood Disorders: An Introduction. United Kingdom: Onus Books.
Lack, C.W. (2013). Anxiety Disorders: An Introduction. United Kingdom: Onus Books.
Lack, C.W. (2008). Tornadoes, Children, and Posttraumatic Stress. VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller e.K.: Germany.
PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES & BOOK CHAPTERS
(student co-authors are in bold)
Lack, C.W. (in press). Dream interpretation and consciousness. Invited book chapter for S. Hupp & R. Wiseman (Eds.), Investigating Pop Psychology Pseudoscience: Improving Critical Thinking Skills. Oxon, UK: Taylor & Francis.
Lack, C.W. & Rousseau, J. (2022). Mental health, pop psychology, and the misunderstanding of clinical psychology. Invited book chapter in G. Asmundson & M. Noel (Eds.) Comprehensive Clinical Psychology, 2nd Edition, Volume 11: Emerging Issues and Future Directions, p. 47-62. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/b978-0-12-818697-8.00052-2
Byrne, J.S., Lack, C.W., & Taylor, K.J. (2021). Experiences of the non-religious in psychotherapy: Implications for clinical practice and therapist education. Secular Studies, 3, 187-205. DOI: 10.1163/25892525-bja10023
Abbott, D., Lack, C.W., & Anderson, P. (2021). Does using a mindfulness app reduce anxiety and worry? A randomized-controlled trial. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 36(2).
Abbott, D. & Lack, C.W. (2020) Conventional versus mindfulness-based interventions for anxiety and worry: A review and recommendations. Current Psychiatry Research and Reviews, 16(1), 60-67. DOI: 10.2174/2666082216666200220121648
Twyman-Brack, H., Parks, M., & Lack, C.W. (2020). Working with grief in secular clients. In E. Counselman Carpenter & A. Redclay (Eds.), Working with Grief & Traumatic Loss: Theory, Practice, Personal Reflection, & Self-Care for Clinicians, p. 198-204. San Diego, CA: Cognella.
Lack, C.W. (2019). Is psychoanalytic dream interpretation useful? In S. Hupp (Ed.), Pseudoscience in Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, p. 133. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Riggin, B.M., & Lack, C.W. (2018). Ethical decision-making models in mental health treatment: A review and expansion. Current Psychiatry Reviews, 14(3), 171-177. DOI: 10.2174/1573400514666180816112109
Lack, C.W., & Doan, R. (2018). Training in evidence-based psychological practice at the master’s level. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 32(1), 3-14. DOI: 10.1891/0889-83126.96.36.199
Lack, C.W. (2018). Cognitive behavior therapy for Trichotillomania and Generalized Anxiety Disorder in an Adolescent Female. In N. Pelling & L. Burton (Eds.), The Elements of Psychological Case Report Writing in Australia, pp. 189-195. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis (Routledge).
Abbott, D., & Lack, C.W. (2018). Using the Personality Assessment Inventory to evaluate substance use and comorbid depression and anxiety. In N. Pelling & L. Burton (Eds.), The Elements of Psychological Case Report Writing in Australia, pp. 45-51. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis (Routledge).
Lack, C.W. (2018). Comprehensive behavioural intervention for tics for Tourette’s Syndrome in a paediatric female. In N. Pelling & L. Burton (Eds.), The Elements of Psychological Case Report Writing in Australia, pp. 183-188. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis (Routledge).
Abbott, D., Shirali, Y., Haws, J.K., & Lack, C.W. (2017). Biobehavioral assessment of the anxiety disorders: Current progress and future directions. World Journal of Psychiatry, 7(3), 133-147. DOI: 10.5498/wjp.v7.i3.133
Lack, C.W., & Riggin, B. M. (2017). Using objective personality assessment for effective treatment planning. In J. Abramowitz, D. McKay, & E.A. Storch (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, pp. 209-222. Indianapolis, IN: John Wiley & Sons.
Lack, C.W. (2017). What is OCD? In A. Lewin & E.A. Storch (Eds.), Understanding OCD: A Guide for Parents and Professionals, PP. 209-222. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Pelling, N., Abbott, D., & Lack, C.W. (2017). The state of supervision research in the 21st century. In N. Pelling & P. Armstrong (Eds.), The Practice of Counselling & Clinical Supervision (2nd edition), pp. 109-116. Bowen Hills, Queensland: Australian Academic Press.
Lack, C.W., Pelling, N., & Abbott, D. (2017). Who are Australian counsellors and how do they attend to their professional development? In N. Pelling & P. Armstrong (Eds.), The Practice of Counselling & Clinical Supervision (2nd edition), pp. 247-258. Bowen Hills, Queensland: Australian Academic Press.
Riggin, B.M., & Lack, C.W. (2016). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for youth with obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. Current Psychiatry Reviews, 12(1), 37-52.
Lack, C.W., & Riggin, B. M. (in press). Using objective personality assessment for effective treatment planning. In J. Abramowitz, D. McKay, & E.A. Storch (Eds.), Handbook of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Across the Lifespan. Indianapolis, IN: John Wiley & Sons.
Sickles, J., Huskey, A., Schrantz, K., & Lack, C.W. (2015, May). The relationship between intelligence and religiosity: A critical review of the literature. Journal of Scientific Psychology, 1-10.
Lack, C.W., Huskey, A., Weed, D.B., Highfill, M.J., & Craig, L. (2015). The etiology of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. In C.W. Lack (Ed.), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Etiology, Phenomenology, and Treatment, pp. 25-42. United Kingdom: Onus Books.
Lack, C.W., & McMillan, S. (2015). What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? In C.W. Lack (Ed.), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Etiology, Phenomenology, and Treatment, pp. 9-24. United Kingdom: Onus Books.
Lack, C.W. (2014). Why you can’t trust your brain. In Clint, E., Pearce, J.M.S., & Erikson, B.A. (Eds.), 13 Reasons to Doubt, pp. 41-56. United Kingdom: Onus Books.
Lack, C.W. & Abramson, C.I. (2014). Race, psychology, and scientific racism. In C.I. Abramson & C.W. Lack (Eds.), Psychology Gone Astray: A Selection of Racist & Sexist Literature from Early Psychological Research, pp. 5-20. United Kingdom: Onus Books.
Lack, C.W. & Abramson, C.I. (2014). Methodological issues in comparative research. In C.I. Abramson & C.W. Lack (Eds.), Psychology Gone Astray: A Selection of Racist & Sexist Literature from Early Psychological Research, pp. 21-26. United Kingdom: Onus Books.
Lack, C.W., & Storch, E.A. (2013). Treating pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder. In L. Grossman & S. Walfish (Eds.), Translating Research into Practice: A Desk Reference for Practicing Mental Health Professionals, pp. 65-67. New York, NY: Springer.
McCoy, C., Napier, D., Craig, L., & Lack, C.W. (2013). Controversies in pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder. Minerva Psichiatrica, 54(2), 115-128.
Lack, C.W., Lehmkuhl Yardley, H., & Dalaya, A. (2013). Treatment of multiple co-morbid anxiety disorders. In E. Storch & D. McKay (Eds.), Handbook of Treating Variants and Complications in Anxiety Disorders, pp. 309-319. New York, NY: Springer.
Lack, C.W., & Thomason, S.P. (2013). Projective personality assessment of anxiety: A critical appraisal. In D. McKay & E. Storch (Eds.), Handbook of Assessing Variants and Complications in Anxiety Disorders, pp. 203-216. New York, NY: Springer.
Lack, C.W. (2012). Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Evidence-based treatments and future directions for research. World Journal of Psychiatry, 2(6): 86-90.
Lack, C.W. (2012). How to protest a ‘psychic.’ Skeptical Inquirer. Available from http://www.csicop.org//specialarticles/show/how_to_protest_a_psychic
Storch, E. A., Jones, A. M., Lack, C. W., Ale, C. M., Sulkowski, M. L., Lewin, A. B., De Nadai, A. S. & Murphy, T. K. (2012). Rage attacks in pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Phenomenology and clinical correlates. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(6), 582-592.
Lack, C.W., Lorenzi, N.M., Dewan, N.A., & Riley, R.T. (2011). Evaluating the impact of Behavioral Healthcare Informatics. In N.A. Dewan, N.M. Lorenzi, R.T. Riley, & S.R. Bhattacharya (Eds.), Information Technology Essentials for Behavioral Health Clinicians (pp. 181-194). New York, NY: Springer-Verlag.
Lack, C.W., Doan, R., & Young, P. (2011). Working with children in schools after traumatic events. In J.E. Warnick, K. Warnick, & A. Laffoon, (Eds.). Educational policy and practice: The good, the bad and the pseudoscience. Volume II: Applied practices (pp. 1-19). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
Morgan, J.R., Lack, C.W., & Storch, E.A. (2010). The utilization of technology in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. In L. Berhardt (Ed.), Advances in Medicine and Biology (Volume 6) (pp. 161-176). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Lack, C.W., Sullivan, M.A., Scott, S.M., & Beck-Xaysuda, L. (2010). To attribute or not to attribute, that is the post-traumatic question. In P. Anninos, M. Rossi, T.D. Pham, C. Falugi, A. Bussing, & M. Koukkou (Eds.), Recent Advances in Clinical Medicine (pp. 174-179). Instanbul, Turkey: WSEAS Press.
Kincheloe, M.T., Weed, D., & Lack, C.W. (2010). Facebook and psychology: Use and misuse of social networks. In P. Anninos, M. Rossi, T.D. Pham, C. Falugi, A. Bussing, & M. Koukkou (Eds.), Recent Advances in Clinical Medicine (pp. 80-83). Instanbul, Turkey: WSEAS Press.
Weed, D., Kincheloe, M.T., & Lack, C.W. (2010). Psychotherapy trainees and social networking use. In P. Anninos, M. Rossi, T.D. Pham, C. Falugi, A. Bussing, & M. Koukkou (Eds.), Recent Advances in Clinical Medicine (pp. 225-227). Instanbul, Turkey: WSEAS Press.
Lack, C.W., Beck, L., & Hoover, D. (2009). Use of social networking by undergraduate psychology majors. First Monday, 14(12). Available online at http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2540/2407
Lack, C.W., Storch, E.A., Keely, M., Geffken, G.R., Ricketts, E., Murphy, T.K., & Goodman, W.K. (2009). Quality of life in children and adolescents with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 44, 935-942.
Lack, C.W. & Pelling, N. (2009). Who are Australian counsellors and how do they attend to their professional development? In N. Pelling, J. Barletta, & P. Armstrong (Eds.), The Practice of Clinical Supervision. Bowen Hills, Queensland: Australian Academic Press.
Storch, E.A., Milsom, V., Lack, C.W., Geffken, G.R., Jacobs, M.L., Goodman, W.K., & Murphy, T.K. (2009). Sleep-related problems in youth with Tourette’s Syndrome and chronic tic disorder. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 14 (2), 97-103.
Lack, C.W., & Green, A. (2009). Mood disorders in children and adolescents. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 24, 13-25.
Lack, C. W., Sullivan, M. A., & Knight, L. A. (2008). Assessing posttraumatic stress in children: A review and further examination of the psychometrics of Frederick’s Reaction Index. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma, 1, 225-232.
Scheider, A.F., Storch, E.A., Geffken, G.R., Lack, C.W., & Shytle, R.D. (2008). Psychometric properties of the Hoarding Assessment Scale in college populations. Illness, Crisis, and Loss, 16, 227-236.
Storch, E.A., Murphy, T.K., Lack, C.W., Geffken, G.R., Jacobs, M.L., & Goodman, W.K. (2008). Sleep-related problems in pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22, 877-885.
Challis, C., Pelling, N., & Lack, C.W. (2008). The biopsychosocial aspects of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A primer for practitioners. Counselling Australia, 6, 3-15.
Lack, C. W., & Storch, E. A. (2008). The use of computers in the assessment and treatment of obsessive–compulsive disorder. Computers in Human Behavior, 24, 917-929.
Lack, C. W., & Sullivan, M. A. (2008). Attributions, coping, and exposure as predictors of long-term posttraumatic distress in tornado exposed children. Journal of Loss & Trauma, 13, 72-84.
Storch, E.A., Lack, C.W., Geffken, G.R., Grabill, K., Merlo, L.J., Jacobs, M.L., Murphy, T.K., & Goodman, W.K. (2007). Associations between miscellaneous symptoms and symptom subtypes: An examination of pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Behavior Research and Therapy, 45, 2593-2603.
Storch, E.A., Lack, C.W., Simons, L.E., Murphy, T.K., & Geffken, G.R. (2007). A measure of functional impairment in youth with Tourette’s Syndrome. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32, 950-959.
Storch, E.A., Lack, C.W., Merlo, L.J., Geffken, G.R., Jacobs, M.L., Murphy, T.K., & Goodman, W.K. (2007). Clinical features of children and adolescents with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and hoarding symptoms. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 48, 313-318.
Storch, E. A., Merlo, L. J., Lack, C., Milsom, V., Geffken, G. R., Goodman, W. K., & Murphy, T. K. (2007). Quality of life in youth with Tourette's Syndrome and chronic tic disorder. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36, 217-227.
Lack, C.W., Storch, E.A., & Murphy, T.K. (2006). More than just monsters under the bed: Assessing and treating pediatric OCD. Psychiatric Times, 23 (3), 54-57.
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