Sylvia D. & Mose J. Firestone Centennial Professor of Professional Practice
PhD, Columbia School of Social Work
Focus: Impact of trauma and mental illness on families and communities
Research: Community awareness and family support through psychoeducation
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Dr. Ellen Lukens has extensive experience in the development, application and evaluation of educational and psychoeducational interventions designed to improve quality of life and outcomes for adolescents, adults, and families faced with trauma, mental illness, or other significant life challenges. She is involved in adapting these techniques both in the context of applied clinical and community practice and as a technique for “training the trainers”. She is particularly interested in the use of group interventions, and how the combined professional and practical knowledge of leaders and participants can enhance both the educational and therapeutic aspects of treatment, strengthen resiliency and coping skills, and reduce stress. In addition she has extensive clinical and research expertise related to practice with families, adolescents and children, and with adult siblings of persons with chronic mental illness. Currently she is involved in collaboration with colleagues at the New York State Psychiatric Institute to assess the impact of short-term wellness psychoeducational groups on persons hospitalized for schizophrenia and plans to further test this intervention in community-based settings. She is developing a study to assess the impact of obsessive compulsive disorder among youth on both individual family members and the family as a unit. She is also collaborating with colleagues at the University of Chile in Santiago to develop a study to better assess and understand contextual challenges relating to both internalized and structural stigma and discrimination among persons coping with severe mental illness.
Dr. Lukens teaches courses in Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming, Evidence based Practice for Persons with Mental Health Conditions, Advanced Clinical Practice, Psychoeducation, Supervision, and Psychopathology and Pathways to Wellness.