Dean T. Acheson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry,
University of California San Diego.

University of California San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, MC0804
La Jolla, CA. 92093
Office: 619-543-3582


Dr. Acheson received his B.A. degree in Psychology from Purdue University in 2003 and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University at Albany, State University of New York in 2009. He completed his predoctoral clinical internship training at the University of California-San Diego/San Diego VA Psychology Internship Training Program. He began his postdoctoral training with Drs. Mark Geyer and Victoria Risbrough via a VISN 22 MIRECC sponsored VA Advanced Fellowship in Mental Illness Research and Treatment, and became a member of the Psychiatry Department faculty in 2012. Dr. Acheson is the Principle Investigator on awards from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (NARSAD) and the UCSD Clinical and Translational Research Institute. In addition, he is a staff psychologist in the UCSD Obsessive Compulsive Disorders Treatment Program.

Research Focus

Dr. Acheson’s research attempts to increase understanding of the biobehavioral mechanisms and treatment of psychiatric illness, with a primary focus on anxiety and related disorders. Toward this end, he employs a number of cross-species translational paradigms with primarily psychophysiological outcomes (fear learning and extinction, prepulse inhibition) to apply insights gained through research in nonhuman animals to work with both nonclinical and clinical human populations. Dr. Acheson has a particular interest in facilitating learning-based mechanisms of psychotherapy via pharmacological intervention.

Clinical Focus

Dr. Acheson applies Cognitive and Behavioral/Exposure-based treatment strategies to a variety of anxiety and related disorders such as PTSD, Panic Disorder and OCD. He currently serves as staff psychologist in the UCSD Obsessive Compulsive Treatment Program where he specializes in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD as well as treatment of “OC spectrum” disorders such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Compulsive Hoarding, Hair Pulling and Skin Picking Disorders. In addition to treatment delivery, Dr. Acheson also participates in clinic didactic instruction and supervision for Psychiatry Department resident physicians.