Lisa O'Donnell

Lisa O'Donnell

Assistant Professor


Lisa O'Donnell

Middle name



 Lisa O’Donnell is joined the WSU Social Work faculty in 2017 as an Assistant Professor. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan’s Joint PhD program in Social Work and Clinical Psychology in 2016. Following her doctoral studies, she was a post-doctoral scholar under the Max Gray Fellowship in the Child and Adolescent Mood Disorders Program (CHAMP) within UCLA’s Department of Psychiatry with Dr. David Miklowitz.

Overall, her research examines the nature of functional and quality of life deficits such as employment impairments found among individuals with bipolar disorder and other severe mental illnesses, and the impact of current psychosocial interventions on remediating these deficits.

Dr. O’Donnell received her MSW in 2005 from the University of Michigan School of Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Michigan. She has been trained in various evidence-based treatments and has years of experience providing individual and group psychotherapy to adolescents, adults and families.

Click here to view Curriculum Vitae

Degrees and Certifications

  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Clinical Psychology
  • MSW, University of Michigan, School of Social Work, Interpersonal Practice and Mental Health
  • B.A., University of Michigan, Communications and Psychology

Teaching Interests

  • DSM-5
  • Interpersonal practice with children, adults and families
  • Cognitive behavioral theory and practice

Areas of Expertise


Identifying biopsychosocial predictors of quality of life and functional deficits among adolescents and adults with bipolar disorder
Examining evidence-based interventions on improving functional and quality of life outcomes among adolescents and adults with severe mental illness
Mental health interventions for underserved and economically disadvantaged populations
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Family-focused therapy


Intervention research
Qualitative survey research
Longitudinal research

Research Project

 An Investigation on Predictors of Occupational Functioning in Individuals with Bipolar Disorder

The goal of this research is to identify biopsychosocial predictors of poor employment outcomes (work functioning and status) among individuals with bipolar disorder. Dr. O’Donnell is currently examining data from her dissertation study to determine the effects of clinical, neurocognitive, interpersonal and environmental features on how individuals with bipolar I disorder or bipolar II disorder function at work and whether they maintain employment. This research aims to inform novel approaches to remediating poor occupational functioning ultimately improving the overall functioning of individuals with bipolar disorder.

A 2-Year Randomized Trial on Pharmacotherapy and Family-Focused Treatment for Adolescents With Bipolar I and II Disorders:

Traditional assessment and treatment of bipolar disorder particularly among adolescents tends to overlook essential features of the disorder including quality of life, functional outcomes, and clinical outcomes such as mood instability. Dr. O’Donnell continues to utilize data (collected from a randomized treatment trial) following her post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA with Dr. David Miklowitz. Her research focuses on the effects of an evidence-based treatment for bipolar disorder on functional and quality of life outcomes. In addition, she is examining whether mood instability, the presence of intense, rapidly shifting emotional states, among adolescents with bipolar disorder is related to bipolar subtype (I vs. II) and prognostically associated with mood symptoms and global functioning over time.

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