Faculty: Paola Michelle Contreras, PsyD

Michelle Contreras

Paola Michelle Contreras, PsyD

Associate Professor, Counseling and Behavioral Health Department

Lead Researcher, Human Trafficking Community Research Hub

617-327-6777 x2238
Work Space 314M
Degree Major/Emphasis Institution
PsyD Clinical Psychology Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Licenciate Clinical Psychology Universidad Rafael Landívar
Psychoanalyst Adult Psychoanalysis Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute
Post-Doctoral Psychotherapy Research Harvard Medical School


  • Clinical Skills and Practicum I
  • Practicum II
  • Mental Health Counseling Internship I and II
  • Human Trafficking: Introduction to Mental Health Providers
  • Psychopathology
  • Research and Program Evaluation
  • Latino Mental Health Immersion Seminar
  • Trauma Theory and Treatment

Research and Practice Interests

  • Human trafficking
  • Trauma
  • Attachment
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Psychological coercion=
  • Diversity
  • Cross-cultural
  • International immersion curricula
  • Liberation psychology
  • Participatory action research
  • Latino mental health
  • Supervision

Professional Licenses and Certifications

  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Health Services Provider (Massachusetts)
  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist (Guatemala)


  • American Psychological Association, August 2014, Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. Stephen Hayes Community Service and Training Award, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, April 2011, Boston, MA

Publications and Presentations

  • Contreras, P.M. (In Press). Human Trafficking of Women and Girls in the United States. In Travis, C. (Ed.) APA Handbook of the Psychology of Women. Washington, D.C.: APA.
  • Contreras, P.M., Kalivayalil, D. and Herman, J.L. (2016). Psychotherapy in the aftermath of human trafficking: Working through the consequences of coercion. Women and Therapy.
  • American Psychological Association Task Force on the Trafficking of Women and Girls (2014). Report of The Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls. Washington, D.C.: Author.
  • Casas, P.M. and Contreras, M. (2012). Disociación a la luz del psicoanálisis: Análisis de un caso de trauma complejo [Dissociation from a psychoanalytic viewpoint: Analysis of a complex trauma case]. Revista Lúdica, 3, 17-25.
  • Contreras, P.M. and Farley, M. (2011). Human Trafficking: Not an Isolated Issue. In T. Bryant-Davis (Ed.), Surviving sexual violence (22-36). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
  • Podcasts or videos
  • The psychology of modern day slavery. Film production released by APA, Division 35, Society for the Psychology of Women, full film available at vimeo.com/30360676
  • How psychologists are working to eradicate human trafficking, Psychology Benefits Society, APA Public Interest Directorate Blog, psychologybenefits.org/2015/01/26/how-psychologists-are-working-to-eradicate-human-trafficking/

Concurrent Leadership, Service and Professional Activities

  • Psychoanalytic Candidate–Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (BPSI)
  • Private Practice–psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, trauma
  • Action Research Consultant and Supervisor–RIA House, anti-trafficking program serving adult women
  • Consultant–Project REACH at JRI/Trauma Center, human trafficking assessments and cross-discipline trainings
  • Visiting Faculty–Universidad del Valle, Gender and Psychotherapy Instructor (Guatemala)

Prior Experience

  • Director, MA in Counseling Psychology and Global Mental Health, William James College
  • Chair, APA’s Division 35 Special Committee on Violence Against Women
  • Chair, APA’s Division 35 Task Force on the Feminist Perspectives on the Trafficking of Women
  • Intake Coordinator, SAMHSA funded HIV and Mental Health Program, Latin American Health Institute
  • Program Coordinator, DOJ/OVC funded Anti-Trafficking Program, Project REACH at JRI/Trauma Center

Professional Affiliations

  • American Counseling Association, Member
  • North Atlantic Regional Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, Member
  • American Psychological Association, Member
  • International Psychoanalytic Association, Candidate Member
  • APA’s Committee on Women in Psychology, Elected Member
  • Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Candidate Member

Community Involvement

  • Pro-bono participatory action research consultation with Massachusetts and Latin American anti-trafficking organizations
  • Pro-bono adviser to Still I Rise film team–a film about how American sex trafficking survivors rise up to become leaders and protect victims