About Me

Susan Wagner

Susan Wagner, PhD

Dr. Wagner received her PhD in clinical and social psychology from Columbia University in 1980. She obtained a postdoctoral fellowship at NY Presbyterian- Westchester Division. Following her fellowship, she was invited to join the faculty there. Dr. Wagner served as full time senior psychologist, transitioned to voluntary supervising psychologist on the eating disorders in-patient unit. While there, she did research, supervised all therapists on the unit, and created group therapy manuals for eating disordered in-patients which she modified as length of stay was steadily abbreviated.

After specializing in the treatment of Anorexia Nervosa for many years, Dr. Wagner became intrigued when a significan number of patients referred for evaluation and treatment of anorexia nervosa actually were primarily suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)  or phobias impacting eating behavior. Her focus shifted to OCD and anxiety disorders. She pursued intensive training in adult and pediatric OCD (BTTI's) through the IOCDF (International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation) which primarily focused on treatment with CBT with E/RP. Dr. Wagner received training in Inference Based CBT (I-CBT) for OCD from the co-developer of this approach, Frederick Aardema, Ph.D. This is an evidence based approach that does not require E/RP. Dr. Wagner is very pleased to be able to offer clients another path to recovery from OCD. Her experience with both treatments is very encouraging.

Dr. Wagner engages in consultation with national experts. She also provides supervision and consultation for clinicians who want guidance in treating OCD. She has been specializing in the treatment of OCD, anxiety disorders and trauma for over 15 years.  

The initial consultation always includes a full evaluation which takes one or two sessions. This is followed by  recommendations and discussion.  Recommendations may include the option to work with Dr. Wagner or to make use of another modality first. Treatment methods Dr. Wagner provides include CBT/ERP (cognitive behavioral therapy with exposure response prevention), I-CBT (Inference Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for OCD), DBT tools (dialectical behavioral therapy), EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy) for PTSD and trauma, CPT (cognitive processing therapy) for PTSD and trauma, and mindfulness techniques to support treatment of these conditions.  Her up-to-date approach and creative problem solving outlook have helped several clients make improvements where previous therapy was unable to launch.

Dr. Wagner is impressed with the efficacy of Inference Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for OCD (I-CBT).  This approach differs from other treatment approaches for OCD in the following respects: I-CBT identifies obsessional doubt, obsessional reasoning, inferential confusion, and the feared possible self as core components of OCD. Obsessional thoughts are not viewed as random intrusions in I-CBT. They are unwittingly created by the person with OCD. Through treatment patients learn how they are creating and maintaining obsessional thoughts; using obsessional reasoning and dismissing what their senses tell them is real. This takes them into states of confusion and imaginal absorption, immersed in their Obsessional Story.  Through the I-CBT treatment process clients learn to gradually identify and untangle these components, trust their perceptions in the present moment, trust their senses and their common sense and eventually their real self. As they gain more skill at both, reality trumps doubt. The rest of the OCD sequelae fade. When the doubt isn't believable there's no need for compulsions. Seeing clients go through this process and reach the point just described is beautiful.


Professional affiliations

  • American Psychological Association
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America
  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy
  • International Obsessive Compulsive Disorders Foundation