Serving Those Who Struggle: Daniel Lydon ’18G and Raymond DiGiuseppe, Ph.D.
Daniel Lydon was a freshman at the State University of New York at Albany when he chose his life’s work. “At first,” he said, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. An introductory psychology course changed that.”
Today, Daniel is at St. John’s University, pursuing a Master of Arts in Psychology. He also is conducting an original research project on managing anger. “My goal,” he said, “is to gain a better, more in-depth understanding of the forces that motivate people, to help them overcome the difficulties they face.”
Raymond DiGiuseppe, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, is Daniel’s mentor. A member of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), Dr. DiGiuseppe is an internationally recognized expert on Rational Emotive and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies. He also is a leader in diagnosing and treating anger disorders. Dr. DiGiuseppe served as a Director of Professional Education at the Albert Ellis Institute, working with the organization’s legendary founder.
“Dan was a first-semester student and a volunteer in my research lab,” said Dr. DiGiuseppe. Psychology faculty at St. John’s regularly invite students at all levels—undergraduate to doctoral—to join them in weekly laboratory sessions. “We talk about projects, throw out hypotheses—it’s a way for students to learn about methodology,” he said.
Dr. DiGiuseppe pointed to a research project on anger that he learned about at a conference. The study’s subjects were women who listened to a man’s taped confession of infidelity. “They were asked to imagine it was their own partner,” said Dr. DiGiuseppe. “There was an ‘intervention’ to help them become less angry, but it seemed to go too far in condoning the betrayal.”
Daniel took a different approach. His project, “Reducing Anger in Response to Infidelity,” engaged men as subjects. They, too, heard a recording designed to cause anger. This study was conducted online. Daniel designed a Rational Emotive intervention to reduce anger and promote a healthier method of moving on. He has begun collecting data from the sessions.
A recipient of St. John’s Research Excellence Award, Daniel has co-authored poster presentations at the University’s annual Research Day and will co-author a submission to the APA Convention. He also interns at the LEAP (Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner) Institute, in Riverhead, NY. “I’ve learned that to help someone, you don’t try to win arguments,” said Daniel. “You build relationships.”