Laura Mufson, PhD

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Laura Mufson, PhD, is the Viola W. Bernard Professor of Medical Child Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), Associate Director of the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and Director of Clinical Psychology. She is also Unit Chief of the Children’s Day Unit at New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) and a faculty member of the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry’s NIMH T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.

Dr. Mufson is the developer of the adolescent adaptation of interpersonal psychotherapy for depression (IPT-A) and is the leading expert on its use with depressed adolescents. She is coauthor of the prevention model (IPT-AST) and the model for preadolescent depression (FB-IPT). She is the author of numerous publications on adolescent depression, temperament, psychopathology, and risk factors for psychopathology, as well as articles and book chapters on the treatment of adolescent depression and interpersonal psychotherapy. Dr. Mufson conducts training workshops on IPT-A throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Scandinavia.

Dr. Mufson's primary research interest is in the evaluation of the efficacy and effectiveness of empirically supported psychotherapies, as well as the identification of which treatments work best for whom. In addition, she is interested in the use of technology to change clinician behavior and improve adherence to effective treatment tools. She is a principal investigator, co-investigator, and/or consultant with colleagues on numerous grants studying adaptations of IPT-A to be delivered in schools, primary care clinics, and community clinics serving minority populations. Her areas of expertise include the evaluation of empirically supported intervention outcomes in clinical trials conducted in research and community settings, the implementation of treatments in the community, and models for training community clinicians in empirically supported psychotherapies. In addition, her studies have looked at the mediators and moderators of treatment response, including stress response measured by salivary cortisol levels, levels of interpersonal conflict, and comorbid disorders.

Areas of Expertise / Conditions Treated

  • Adolescent Depression
  • Adolescent Psychology
  • Child Psychology
  • Chronic Depression

Academic Appointments

  • Viola W. Bernard Professor of Medical Child Psychology (in Psychiatry) at CUMC

Administrative Titles

  • Director of Clinical Psychology, New York State Psychiatric Institute
  • Associate Director, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Unit Chief, Children's Day Unit, New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University


  • Female

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • PhD, Emory University
  • AB, Princeton University
  • Internship: Bellevue Hospital
  • Fellowship: Columbia/ New York Psychiatric Inst


Research interests include the evaluation of empirically supported intervention outcomes in clinical trials conducted in research and community settings, adolescent perception of the need for mental health care, increasing access to care and strategies for engaging youth in mental health treatment, transportability and dissemination of treatments into the community, models for training clinicians in empirically supported psychotherapies, as well as mediators and moderators of treatment outcome.


Selected Publications

  • Mufson, L., Pollack Dorta, K., Moreau, D., & Weissman, M. M. (2004). Interpersonal psychotherapy for depressed adolescents (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Dietz, L., Weinberg, R., Brent, D., & Mufson, L. (2015). Family-based interpersonal psychotherapy (FB-IPT) for depressed preadolescents: Examining efficacy and potential treatment mechanisms. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 54(3), 191-199. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2014.12.011
  • Mufson, L., Yanes-Lukin, P., & Anderson, G. (2015). A pilot study of Brief IPT-A delivered in primary care. General Hospital Psychiatry, 37(5), 481-484. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2015.04.013
  • Gunlicks-Stoessel, M., Mufson, L., Westervelt, A., Almirall, D., & Murphy, S. (2016). A pilot SMART for developing an adaptive treatment strategy for adolescent depression. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 45(4), 480-494. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2015.1015133
  • Young, J. F., Benas, J. S., Schueler, C. M., Gallop, R., Gillham, J. E., & Mufson, L. (2016). A randomized depression prevention trial comparing interpersonal psychotherapy-adolescent skills training to group counseling in schools. Prevention Science, 17(3), 314-324. doi: 10.1007/s11121-015-0620-5
  • Young, J. F., Mufson, L., & Schueler, C. (2016). Preventing adolescent depression: Interpersonal psychotherapy-adolescent skills training. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • McGlinchey, E. L, Turner, J. B., & Mufson, L. (2017). Innovations in practice: The relationship between sleep disturbances, depression, and interpersonal functioning in treatment for adolescent depression. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 22(2), 96-99. doi:10.1111/camh.12176