Meet the Staff
Rachel Hershenberg, PH.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Director of Psychotherapy, Treatment Resistant Depression Program, Associated Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Dr. Hershenberg is thrilled to have returned to Emory University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Psychology in 2006. Following, she earned her PhD in clinical psychology at Stony Brook University and completed an APA-accredited clinical internship at the Charleston Consortium. Prior to joining the faculty at Emory, she completed an Advanced Fellowship in Mental Health Research at the Michael J. Cresencz Philadelphia VA Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Dr. Hershenberg joined our team as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Director of Psychotherapy in the Treatment Resistant Depression program. In this role, Dr. Hershenberg draws on her passion for integrating science and practice, helping to establish the clinic as a source of cutting-edge research so that clinicians will be better equipped to match patients to the most effective treatments. Dr. Hershenberg also brings her expertise in the research and treatment of depression to the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression.
Her clinical research focuses on how individuals experiencing depression and anxiety create and respond to opportunities for positive emotions such as joy, accomplishment, and feelings of closeness with others. Despite intuitively “knowing” that engaging in values-consistent, social, or pleasurable behaviors might be useful, people who are depressed often struggle very seriously to motivate themselves to follow through on personal goals that might lead to those emotional experiences. As a treatment provider, she specializes in Behavioral Activation, a treatment designed to facilitate increasing contact with positive and rewarding aspects of ones environment.
Treatment typically involves challenging behavioral avoidance (i.e., committing and sticking to plans to get active) while learning skills to cope with the very compelling emotions that make the follow-through so hard such as fear, anger, sadness, and apathy. Dr. Hershenberg worked successfully with an aging Veteran population for three years in the VA and is grateful to be treating patients in the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression who are looking to reconnect with sources of joy and reward in their day-to-day lives.