In these unprecedented times, stress, anxiety, and grief is expected. Skills can help.

Dr. Luana Marques

Innovator. Clinician. Researcher.

I am an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS), the Director of Community Psychiatry PRIDE at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and the President of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

Professional Bio

This is the story of how I learned skills to overcome challenges and
my mission to share them with the world.

My Story

Life in Brazil

Growing up under difficult circumstances in Brazil I learned skills to navigate stressful situations from my mother and grandmother. When I became reluctant to be in crowds, my grandmother took me each and every day to the mall to practice facing my fears. Eventually, the jolt of fear I had in crowds became only a flicker of discomfort. I learned to cope with challenges by approaching them head on.

To the Ivory Tower

From Brazil, I came to the United States, where I completed my PhD in clinical psychology at SUNY Buffalo. During my clinical training, I learned that the skills my grandmother taught me had many similarities with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the gold standard for treating many mental health disorders. Yet, early in my career at Massachusetts General Hospital, my research on barriers to treatment revealed another truth—many people do not have the opportunity to learn these skills.

Research demonstrates that it takes a minimum of 17 years for evidence-based care (e.g., best practices, including cognitive-behavioral skills) to reach practice, and that only 14% of evidence-based care reaches individuals who need it the most. 

Back to the Streets

In 2013, I founded Community Psychiatry PRIDE (Program for Research in Implementation and Dissemination of Evidenced-Based Practice) with the mission of bringing clinical and training initiatives to resource-restricted settings where best practices are not present. PRIDE relies on implementation science as a systematic method of evaluating and addressing barriers to increase uptake, impact, and sustainability of evidence-based practices in community settings. Through this work, it became overtly clear that there is an access-to-care crisis.

20% of people in the United States struggle with emotional difficulties, but only 0.17% of people are mental health providers.

Making Skills Accessible to All

With decades of experience as a clinician and researcher, my mission today is to share proven life-changing skills with the world. In writing Almost Anxious and speaking on the TED stage, I hope to empower individuals to understand and overcome their anxiety.

With our team at Massachusetts General Hospital, we have begun to imagine a world where everyone has the skills to reach their full potential. In the spring of 2020, we launched a training institute to equip non-mental health professionals (e.g., teachers, youth development professionals) to learn and deliver cognitive behavioral skills to underserved youth.

I believe that anyone can learn and teach skills to change their lives.
Join us in making this the reality.

Learn More

Select Publications

Paraprofessional-delivered cognitive behavioral skills are feasible and acceptable

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Fidelity consistent modifications to treatment are associate with greater reduction in posttraumatic stress and depressive symptoms.

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Multilevel factors influence provider attitudes toward evidence-based treatment.

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The Book

 

Almost Anxious

Dive In

 

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This book is a wonderful resource for anyone who has ever wondered if they are “a bit too anxious” and if there is anything they can do to feel more at peace. The text offers clear, scientifically-based information about adaptive levels of anxiety, anxiety disorders, and that “almost anxious” space in between. The use of diagrams, self-assessment tests, and self-help treatment forms guide the reader in a search to gain understanding of his or her symptoms, and the means to lessen their severity and impact. The best thing about this book, however, is Dr. Marques’ voice, energy, and engaging personality. You never feel as though you are stuck in an advanced psychology seminar. Rather, reading this book is like sitting with Dr. Marques in her beautiful office, overlooking the Boston skyline, and having a lovely, personal chat.

Risa B. Weisberg,
Ph.D.
Associate Professor (Research)
Brown University

This is simply a great book. It brings together so much information about anxiety and worry, even if it is “just” almost, and it does so in a way that is easy to understand and apply to one’s own life. The techniques presented for coping with anxiety and worry are practical, pragmatic, easily applied, and likely to be very helpful. This is an important book for persons troubled by anxiety and worry.

Richard G. Heimberg, PhD

David Kipnis Distinguished Faculty Fellow
Professor and Director
Adult Anxiety Clinic of Temple (AACT)
Department of Psychology
Temple University

Whether you are almost anxious or suffer from a full-blown anxiety disorder, this book provides concrete and proven cognitive and behavioral strategies for effectively dealing with the debilitating problems of anxiety. Dr. Marques, an expert clinician, wrote a masterful book that provides the reader with the knowledge and skills to turn the scary anxiety monster into a harmless pet. It is a must-read for any consumer.

Stefan G. Hofmann, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology
Boston University
and Author

An Introduction to Modern CBT (Wiley, 2012)
One of the main goals of effective therapy for individuals with anxiety disorders is to “give away” as much of the treatment as possible – to have the patient themselves take over the role of therapist. In Almost Anxious, Dr Luana Marques, herself a master clinician and researcher, provides patients and their family members with critical insights and important tools that they can use to more effectively help themselves on the road to better health

Mark H. Pollack, M.D.
The Grainger Professor and
Chairman, Department of Psychiatry
Rush University Medical Center

Almost Anxious is an engaging, informative, and evidence-based book. Accessible to the general reader, it provides an abundance of useful tips for people struggling to cope with symptoms of anxiety.

Richard J. McNally, Ph.D.
Professor, Harvard University
Author, “What is Mental Illness?”