Department of Psychology

Courtney Forbes, M.A., M.Ed.

CourtneyBackground Information

Courtney is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology (primary mentor: Dr. Matthew Tull). She received a BA in Psychology from American University, where she worked as a research assistant in Dr. Anthony Ahrens’ lab on several studies that utilized experience sampling methods to investigate emotional processes in daily life. After graduating from American, Courtney spent two years teaching elementary school in St. Louis, Missouri, as a member of Teach for America. Before joining the PERT lab, Courtney worked as a research coordinator in Dr. Ayelet Ruscio’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania on an NIMH-funded project investigating mechanisms of comorbidity and specificity in depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Courtney enjoys running and reading novels in her free time. 

Research/Clinical Interests

Courtney is broadly interested in classification and transdiagnostic processes, with a focus on integrating basic and clinical research on biobehavioral mechanisms underlying reward responsiveness and emotion dysregulation to inform evidence-based treatments for mood, anxiety, and trauma-related disorders. She is particularly interested in understanding the predictive role of neural and behavioral responsiveness to reward on clinical outcomes in MDD and PTSD, as well as mechanisms of change in behavioral treatments (e.g., ACT, behavioral activation). 

Courtney is a co-author of the Psychology Today blog "Behavior Briefing: Applying strategies from brief behavioral interventions inside and outside the therapy room."

Representative Publications 

Forbes, C. N. (in press). New directions in behavioral activation: Using findings from basic science and translational neuroscience to inform the exploration of potential mechanisms of change. Clinical Psychology Review.

Forbes, C. N., Tull, M. T., Xie, H., Rapport, D., Kaminski, B., & Wang, X. (in press). Emotion dysregulation prospectively predicts PTSD symptom severity 3-months after traumatic exposure. Journal of Traumatic Stress.

Forbes, C. N., Tull, M. T., Xie, H., Christ, N. M., Brickman, K., Mattin, M., & Wang, X. (in press). Emotional avoidance and social support interact to predict depression symptom severity one year after traumatic exposure. Psychiatry Research. 

 Vidaña, A. G., Forbes, C. N., Gratz, K. L., & Tull, M. T. (2020). The influence of posttraumatic stress disorder and recurrent major depression on risk-taking propensity following trauma script exposure among patients with substance use disorders. Addictive Behaviors102, 106181.

Forbes, C. N., Tull, M. T., Richmond, J. R., Chapman, A. L., Dixon-Gordon, K. L., & Gratz, K. L. (2019). Motives for nonsuicidal self-injury in individuals with lifetime depressive disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 1-10.

Tull, M. T., Forbes, C. N., Weiss, N. H., & Gratz, K. L. (2019). An investigation of the effect of trauma script exposure on risk-taking among patients with substance use disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 62, 77-85.

Baer, M.M., Tull, M.T., Forbes, C.N., Richmond, J.R., & Gratz, K.L. (2019). Methods matter: Nonsuicidal self-injury in the form of cutting is uniquely associated with suicide attempt severity in patients with substance use disorders. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.

Khazanov, G. K. K., Ruscio, A. M., & Forbes, C. N. (2019). The Positive Valence Systems Scale: Development and validation. Assessment, 1073191119869836.

Representative Presentations

Forbes, C. N., Gratz, K. L., & Tull, M. T. (November 2019). Depression is associated with attenuated reward responsiveness through the nonacceptance of positive emotions in a community sample. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Atlanta, GA.

Forbes, C. N., Tull, M. T., Xie, H., Christ, N. M., Gibson, E., Jones, C., Vuppala, S. B. G., Mohamed, Nadin R., & Wang, X. (September 2019). Emotional avoidance and social support interact to predict depression symptom severity one year after traumatic exposure. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the National Network of Depression Centers, Ann Arbor, MI.

Forbes, C. N., Khazanov, G. K., Gratz, K. L., & Tull, M. T. (September 2019). Attenuated reward responsiveness accounts for the relation between depression and suicide outcomes in a community sample. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the National Network of Depression Centers, Ann Arbor, MI.

Forbes, C. N., Gratz, K. L., & Tull, M. T. (March 2019). Emotional numbing predicts reward responsiveness in substance dependent patients with PTSD. In A. Jones (Chair), Emotional Impact of Trauma: Informing Models of Emotional Experience and Emotion Regulation within Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Chicago, IL.

Vidaña, A. G., Forbes, C. N., Gratz, K. L., & Tull, M. T. (March 2019). The effect of recurrent major depression and posttraumatic stress disorder on risk-taking after trauma cue exposure among substance-dependent inpatients. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Chicago, IL. 

Forbes, C. N., Tull, M. T., Chapman, A. L., Dixon-Gordon, K. L., & Gratz, K. L. (November 2018). Associations of nonsuicidal self-injury with emotional relief in posttraumatic stress and depressive disorders. In C. N. Forbes and M. T. Tull (Chairs), New directions in the study of nonsuicidal self-injury: Innovative approaches to the examination of NSSI in understudied populations. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Washington, DC.

Forbes, C. N., Tull, M. T., Weiss, N. H., & Gratz, K. L. (November 2018). The effect of trauma cue exposure on risk-taking among substance dependent patients with and without posttraumatic stress disorder. In N. Weiss (Chair), Innovative approaches to studying the co-occurrence of posttraumatic stress disorder and risky, self-destructive, and health-compromising behaviors. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Washington, DC.

Forbes, C. N., Richmond, J. R., Tull, M. T., Chapman, A. L., Dixon-Gordon, K. L., & Gratz, K. L. (November 2018). Attenuated physiological reactivity to a social stressor predicts feeling generation motives for NSSI. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Washington, DC.

Khazanov, G. K., Forbes, C. N., & Ruscio, A. M. (November 2018). Temporal stability of reward responsiveness in a clinical sample. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Washington, DC.

Forbes, C. N., Wheeless, L. E., Gratz, K. L., & Tull, M. T. (April 2018). The effect of trauma cue exposure on risky decision making among substance-dependent patients with and without posttraumatic stress disorder. In I. Arnaudova (Chair), Comorbidity of post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorder: Underlying mechanisms and implications for treatment. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Washington, DC.

Forbes, C. N., Tull, M. T., Richmond, J. R., Chapman, A. L., Dixon-Gordon, K. L., & Gratz, K. L. (April 2018). Motives for nonsuicidal self-injury in depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Washington, DC.

Forbes, C. N., Khazanov, G. K. K., & Ruscio, A. M. (November 2017). Trait reward responsiveness predicts responses to positive imagined life events. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, San Diego, CA.

Forbes, C. N., & Ruscio, A. M. (October 2016). Specificity of looming cognitive style to anxiety vs. depression in a clinical sample. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, New York, NY.

Khazanov, G. K. K., Ruscio, A. M., & Forbes, C. N. (October 2016). A comprehensive evaluation of anhedonia and its relationship to depression and anxiety. In N. C. Jacobson and M. Newman (Chairs): Anxiety and depression: Specificity, overlap, and interrelatedness. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, New York, NY.

Forbes, C. N., Oakley, J., Khazanov, G. K. K., & Ruscio, A. M. (April 2016). Responsiveness to anticipated, but not experienced, rewards distinguishes depression from anxiety. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Philadelphia, PA.

Last Updated: 9/27/20