Dr. Matthew Porter is an Associate Professor in the Psy.D. Program of the California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University (San Diego, 2015-present), where he also served as Assistant Professor from 2009-2015. Dr. Porter earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (1999-2005) at the New School for Social Research, did an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cancer Prevention and Control at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (2006-2007), and a Templeton Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Spirituality and Health at the Healthcare Chaplaincy (2007-2009). His work has been funded by the Fulbright Commission, the John Templeton Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the California School of Professional Psychology and Alliant International University, as well as anonymous private donors concerned with expanding the nature of research in HIV.
Dr. Porter is interested in the different ways people relate to the basic existential realities of being human, including the omnipresent ontological parameters of finitude, imperfection and subsummation of the individual within larger wholes. People with whom Dr. Porter have worked (people with HIV, refugees, sexual minorities, aging adults) report that crisis can offer an opportunity to experience these limits on human experience "up close and personal", providing an opportunity to adjust one's view of oneself or one's place in the world. But how does this work? What are the defensive and cognitive and affective self-regulatory mechanisms involved in maintaining stability while learning from this type of exposure. Under what conditions is this opportunity optimized for different individuals, groups and cultures? Dr. Porter asks these questions in diverse cultures (HIV, Brazil, cancer, military, refugees, older adults, LGBTQ), using both quantitative (hierarchical linear modeling, factor analysis) and qualitative (phenomenological) methods.
In line with this, in his applied work, Dr. Porter is interested in relational formulations of clinical material and the here-and-now interventions that can arise within an existential psychotherapeutic approach. Third wave cognitive-behavioral therapies can also be helpful for people confronting existential challenges, and as a springboard to philosophical maturation. Contemplative practices can interact synergistically with a psychotherapy to create further benefits for health and existential wellbeing.