Conspiracy Theories in Clinical Practice

Recorded on November 3, 2022

Joe Pierre, MD

 2 CE credits 
$40/MPA Members $ 65/Non Members

Workshop Instructional Level: Introductory

This workshop will outline the psychology of conspiracy theories and provide a theoretical account based on epistemic mistrust and vulnerability to misinformation. Using that framework, recommendations for working with clients with conspiracy theory beliefs will be discussed along with challenges of engagement and implementation.

By the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to 

  • Detail psychological needs associated with conspiracy theory beliefs.
  • Outline a normalizing account of conspiracy theory belief based on mistrust and misinformation.
  • Utilize different psychotherapeutic approaches in working with clients with conspiracy theory beliefs.

Joe Pierre, MD is a Health Sciences Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is a graduate of MIT, the UCLA School of Medicine, and the residency training program at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. He has extensive clinical experience working with individuals with psychotic disorders, substance abuse, and those with “dual diagnosis.” Dr. Pierre also has considerable experience as a clinical researcher, participating as a primary investigator and collaborator for clinical trials in schizophrenia and early intervention for young persons at high risk for psychosis. In 2005, he received Young Investigator Awards from both the International Congress of Schizophrenia Research and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He has authored over 100 papers, abstracts, and book chapters related to schizophrenia, antipsychotic medications, substance-induced psychosis, delusions, and delusion-like beliefs, auditory hallucinations and voice-hearing, and a variety of other topics including the neuroscience of free will and culturally sanctioned suicide. He also writes the Psych Unseen blog at Psychology Today ( Dr. Pierre has presented research findings and lectured to audiences both nationally and internationally and has served as an expert witness consultant in forensic/legal cases involving schizophrenia, the intersection of psychosis and religion, delusion-like beliefs and conspiracy theories, and the side effects of antipsychotic therapy. He is highly involved in resident and medical student education and has received several awards for excellence in teaching including the 2012 UCLA NPI Housestaff Teaching Award.