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Elizabeth A. Thomas

Dr. Elizabeth A. Thomas

Elizabeth A. Thomas, PhD, LCSW

Assistant Professor


  • BA,Anthropology, Brigham Young University
  • MSW, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • PhD, University of Utah

Research Interests:

  • Etiology and underlying neurobiological processes of eating disorders
  • Clinical research and treatment of stress-related conditions including anxiety, depression, substance and behavioral addictions, chronic pain, and health effects of allostatic load.
  • Transdiagnostic cognitive-affective mechanisms in psychopathology
  • Mindfulness-based interventions
  • Promoting hedonic pleasure, eudaimonic well-being, and resilience through interventions targeting reward processing
  • Social networking trends and biopsychosocial implications
  • Food insecurity and sustainability
  • Development, implementation, and effectiveness of US foreign policy and international aid

Courses Taught:

  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment (SW314)

Personal Statement

My teaching philosophy was born out of my experience as a student. While I consider the responsibility of learning to be largely that of the student, I recognize that my experience has been dramatically different within various learning environments and with various teachers, and I believe the qualities and attributes of great teachers are not dissimilar to those of great therapists. I have learned the most from teachers that modeled cognitive flexibility, authenticity, and empathy, but also created an environment that was challenging and rigorous, characterized by participatory engagement and thought provoking discussions rather than lectures. Students who have the desire to learn and the willingness to work hard will find that I will reciprocate the effort that they put into my courses.

My research interests are grounded in both my clinical and military experience. Working in inpatient, residential, and outpatient settings as a licensed clinical therapist, I have witnessed firsthand wide clinical support for applying a transdiagnostic framework to etiological and mechanistic understandings of eating disorders, as well as the significant and pressing need for the development of targeted and more effective interventions. As a civil affairs officer, focused on foreign humanitarian assistance, public health and welfare, economic stability, and governance, I have come to understand the importance of cultural awareness, self-determination and autonomy, and empowering community level solution development and implementation in the global spheres in which we serve.