Early Intervention to Prevent Serious Mental Illness in Teens

Dr. Marc Weintraub earned his B.A. in psychology and social welfare from UC Berkeley in 2010 and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Miami in 2018. Throughout graduate school, his research focused on emotional and cognitive factors that affect psychiatric, physiological, and functional outcomes in individuals along the psychosis spectrum.

Dr. Weintraub is currently a postdoctoral scholar, working with AIM Scientific Advisory Board Member Dr. David Miklowitz of the UCLA Semel Institute’s Child and Adolescent Mood Disorders Program. Marc has been working on a variety of projects related to the theme of better-understanding risk factors for serious mental illness (i.e., bipolar disorder and psychotic disorders). To that end, he has been using advanced statistical modeling techniques to examine the longitudinal course of pediatric bipolar illness from data collected in Dr. Miklowitz’s psychosocial treatment trials. He has also been investigating symptom-to-symptom interactions in serious mental illness to elucidate which psychiatric symptoms and processes play the most central role in causing other symptoms and ultimately eliciting mental illness.

Dr. Weintraub has also begun pilot testing a transdiagnostic group treatment for adolescents in the early stages of serious mental illness. The goal of the treatment is to determine whether youth who are experiencing a range of early, nonspecific symptoms of serious mental illness may benefit from an emotion-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy. The group treatment uses a skills-based approach to teach adolescents a broad array of cognitive and behavioral methods to improve their symptoms, coping, and interpersonal functioning. Following this initial pilot of the treatment, he hopes to test the treatment’s efficacy and effectiveness in a larger-scale treatment trial.

Research Impact.