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Marilyn Freimuth, PhD - Fielding Graduate University. Santa Barbara, CA, US

Marilyn Freimuth, PhD Marilyn Freimuth, PhD

Doctoral Faculty and Director of the Neuropsychology Specialization Training Program | Fielding Graduate University

Santa Barbara, CA, UNITED STATES

Author of two groundbreaking books providing tools for recognizing substance and behavioral addictions



Marilyn Freimuth, PhD Publication Marilyn Freimuth, PhD Publication



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Dr. Marilyn Freimuth is an author, consultant, and psychotherapist as well as the Program Director and Professor of Clinical Psychology at Fielding Graduate University, where she specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of addictions.

She received her PhD from Clark University and completed her clinical training at Yale University. Educated as a generalist in the field of psychology, she brings an integrated perspective to her work on addiction. She is the author of two groundbreaking books that provide tools for recognizing substance and behavioral addictions (e.g. gambling, Internet use, sex, shopping, etc.) in their early stages. Knowing these subtle early warning signs can help limit the enormous costs of addictions and make effective treatment more achievable. The highly touted text Hidden Addictions is written for medical and health care professionals. Addicted? Recognizing Destructive Behavior Before It’s Too Late, written for the lay audience, allows friends, family and any person who works with the public (e.g., lawyers, teachers, ministers) to know when a person is addicted and how to support that person to change.

Dr. Freimuth is an engaging public speaker known for her clarity, humor, and dynamic approach to topics ranging from substance and behavioral addictions to how the rules of therapy can improve home and professional life.

A long time resident of New York, she now lives with her family in Santa Barbara, CA and maintains a private practice in New York City. She is a founding member of the Alonso Center designed to keep “talk therapies” alive in the age of managed care.

Industry Expertise (5)



Health and Wellness

Mental Health Care

Training and Development

Areas of Expertise (9)

Addiction Assessment

Provider-Patient Relationships

Addiction Treatment Within the Context of Psychotherapy

Thinking About Theories : Finding Your Clinical Orientation

Facilitating Addiction Recognition in Mental Health Care and Health Care Settings

Integration of Addiction Treatment and Psychotherapy Factors

Individual and Couples Psychotherapy

Motivating Change of Addictive Behaviors

Disorders Co-Occurring With Addictions

Accomplishments (3)

Study Grant (professional)

(1982) Awarded by the Mellon Foundation.

Psychology Fellow (professional)

Awarded by Yale University, 1978-1979.

Graduate Fellowship (professional)

Awarded by Clark University, 1974-1978.

Education (3)

Clark University: PhD, Psychology 1980

Clark University: MA, Psychology 1976

University of Minnesota: BA, Psychology & Humanities 1973

Affiliations (3)

  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Licensed Psychologist, New York and Wisconsin
  • Certificate of Proficiency in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders

Media Appearances (3)

How to know If You're Addicted to Exercise

The Huffington Post  print


But in some women, double-dipping is the socially acceptable precursor to (and cover for) exercise addiction. "The real crux of the issue is why you're exercising, not the number of hours you spend," says Freimuth. "For some, working out two hours a day can be a sign of a problem, whereas others can do twice that and be fine. As with other addictions, there are psychological and biological components."...

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The Seduction of Addiction: A Runner's Confession

Pacific Standard  online


The next phase approaches the doorstep of addiction. It’s what Marilyn Freimuth et al, who have cogently laid out this typology, call “problematic exercise.” Leading researchers on the topic tellingly explore this phase using the psychological criteria for substance dependence. Much like a problem drinker who keeps drinking despite having had enough alcohol to alleviate stress, the problematic exerciser will pile on the miles despite having already met the articulated goal...

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Five Ways Therapists Are Clueless About Addiction

The Fix  online


One of the sad truths about addiction treatment is that many of the most talented clinicians—the licensed psychologists and social workers that most people seek out when they have mental health concerns—don’t treat addictions. And, worse, this state of affairs exists because many of these clinicians fail to identify addictive disorders in their clients, even when fairly obvious signs and symptoms confront them...

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Event Appearances (3)

Identifying and Treating Your Patients' (often unrecognized) Addictions

American Psychological Association Clinician's Corner  US


Behavioral Addictions: Disease or Choice

Medicine and Humanities Consultation: Grand Rounds and Workshop  Texas A&M's Scott and White Hospital, Temple, TX


Addiction as a continuum of disorders: Implications for Treatment

Cambridge Health Alliance CE Program  Boston, MA


Articles (6)

Clarifying Exercise Addiction: Differential Diagnosis, Co-occurring Disorders, and Phases of Addiction

International Journal of Environmental Health and Public Health


This paper sets out to clarify the unique features of exercise addiction. It begins by examining how this addiction can be distinguished from compulsions and impulse control disorders both of which, like an addiction, involve excessive behavior that creates adverse ...

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A framework for the specificity of addictions

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

(2011) Research over the last two decades suggests that a wide range of substance and behavioral addictions may serve similar functions. Yet, co-occurrence of addictions has only been reported among a minority of addicts.“Addiction specificity” pertains to a ...

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The “New Look” in Addiction Assessment: Implications for Medical Education

Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Eduation

(June, 2010) Recognizing that addictive behaviors and their adverse consequences are one of the most costly health care problems in this country, medical education programs have been developed to improve providers’ knowledge about addictions and assessment skills. Despite such educational efforts, most addictions continue to be overlooked and addiction screenings are the exception rather than the rule. This paper addresses the limitations of current training by presenting a “new look” in addiction assessment that argues for 1) the benefits of screening for both substance and behavioral addictions and 2) extending the goal of screenings to include harm reduction and prevention. Broadening the scope of educational initiatives will only improve recognition of addictions if practitioners embrace assessment as a legitimate part of their role. To this end, barriers to conducting addiction assessments in health care settings are explored and some solutions proposed.

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Another missed opportunity? Recognition of alcohol use problems by mental health providers

Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training

(August, 2008) Alcohol use problems (AUPs) are prevalent among people seeking psychotherapy. Despite mandates from managed care companies to routinely screen for AUPs, little is known about the screening practices of providers or their ability to identify AUPs based on presenting symptoms. Participants (N = 117) read two case vignettes and suggested initial diagnoses and questions they would ask in order to clarify a diagnosis. Participants were more likely to ask about substance use and diagnose an AUP when the vignette contained explicit reference to the client's substance use as compared to a vignette where the signs of an AUP were more subtle. In both vignettes, a mental health problem was a more likely diagnosis than an AUP.

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A critical examination of the concept of gender

Sex Roles

(1982) Although psychologists have become increasingly interested in such areas as sex differences, gender identity, and sex roles, the concept of gender remains ill defined. We undertake a critical review of this concept and try to show that (a) if the term gender is ...

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The influence of lateral organization on the evaluation of paintings

British Journal of Psychology

(1979) This study examines influence of directional properties of lateral organization on evaluation of paintings. Lateral organization, as defined here, has two dimensions:(1) left or right location of principal figure; and (2) left-to-right or right-to-left sequence of figures ...

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