Elizabeth Walsh, PhD
Vanderbilt University


Elizabeth Walsh, PhD, is Director of Education and Director of Health Psychology at the Osher Center at Vanderbilt University. In her clinical psychology practice, she treats adolescents and adults with chronic medical conditions and has a special interest in treating patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Dr. Walsh incorporates cognitive behavioral and interpersonal process therapy in her practice and works with patients on self-regulation and stress management. One psychological theory that really resonates with patients is Acceptance Community Therapy (ACT), a type of mindful psychotherapy that helps patients accept thoughts and feelings without judgment. “Many patients have conditions that aren’t curable, so it’s about learning how to accept reality and move through it,” said Dr. Walsh.   

Dr. Walsh developed two group psychology visits; the first group provides psychoeducation and coping skills for chronic pain and trauma; the second group provides support for people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) and joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS). “Group visits are a wonderful way to deliver skills and educational content,” says Dr. Walsh. “It allows people a chance to self-identify with content in a way that is destigmatized.”  

In her role as Director of Education, Dr. Walsh supervises and teaches in the education programs offered by the Osher Center at Vanderbilt University, primarily the psychology training program that includes a master’s-level counseling internship, APA-accredited psychology internship, and postdoctoral fellowship. Dr. Walsh is also working to expanding the Osher Center’s educational programs, including developing CME offerings for health professionals at Vanderbilt and beyond. “There isn’t a strong integrative health presence in our area, so we want to be a center of evidence-based integrative health in the southeast,” said Dr. Walsh. “There is a big need for integrative health in our community, and we can be a major resource for both patients and physicians.” 

Dr. Walsh is also heavily involved in the Collaborative project to create a standardized elective to be used across all Osher Center sites and universities. “I’ve heard from residents that they chose to complete their residency at Vanderbilt because we have an Osher Center, so creating unique modules for this elective is really helping us to provide a scaffolding to formalize our integrative health education,” said Dr. Walsh. According to Dr. Walsh, the elective project is an example of the Collaborative in action. “None of us could’ve tackled this project on our own,” said Dr. Walsh. “The shared resources and knowledge base is outstanding, and we are using our collective energy to create something very tangible.”   

Dr. Walsh has found community in the Collaborative. “As a psychologist working in medicine, the Collaborative really feels like my professional home,” said Dr. Walsh. “Having a community of like-minded folks really energizes me to do this work. It’s hard to imagine my professional life without it.”