Board certified clinical psychologist. Former tenured professor. Mom. Fantasy football champion. Foodie. World traveler. Researcher. Speaker. Seeker of truth.
As the child of two college professors, Cortney was raised in an academic environment. In addition to attaining a formal education in the classroom, she traveled extensively, getting a “real-world” education.
Before the age of twenty, Cortney had lived in Australia and Argentina and traveled throughout Central America, South America, Russia, Scandinavia, and Western Europe. Exposed to a diversity of cultures and lifestyles from an early age, she was intrigued by the ways cultural and environmental conditions affected the psychological well-being of individuals, groups, and even entire societies.
Her interest in psychology and issues of cultural diversity took academic shape as an undergraduate at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Under the exceptional mentorship of Drs. Jaine Strauss (Macalester College) and Nancy C. Raymond (University of Minnesota), Cortney developed a strong interest in the cultural components of eating disorders, and undertook supporting research and clinical activities.
After graduating magna cum laude from Macalester, Cortney entered the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Texas A&M University. Funded by the American Psychological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program, Cortney sought out the mentorship of Drs. David H. Gleaves and Antonio Cepeda-Benito, who specialize in cross-cultural and linguistic issues in the assessment and treatment of eating disorders and substance abuse. From there, she completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School and joined the faculty at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 2006.
Through her formal and informal learning experiences, Cortney saw the ways in which we lie to ourselves on a daily basis and the danger that it posed to our emotional well-being. Helping people understand themselves and see their own self-deception became a fundamental part of her clinical practice, research, teaching, and personal way of life.
Although Cortney received tenure at UNLV in 2012, she formally retired from academia in 2014 to pursue a career that would allow her more time with her family and more interaction with the general public. As Cortney moves into a new phase of her career, she plans to use psychological research and clinical observations to help the public live more fulfilling lives by confronting their self-deception. In addition to doing this generally, Cortney plans to address how self-deception contributes to unhealthy eating behavior and negative body image. For more information, see her new book, Lies We Tell Ourselves: The Psychology of Self-Deception.
Appreciate the present moment. As I generally have a long “to-do” list, I can easily get preoccupied with “doing tasks” instead of “being present as I engage in the world.” The later is much fulfilling and more enjoyable.
Consciously create the life you want to live. Period. Do more of what you want and less of what you don’t want everyday. If there is something in your life you don’t like or want, change it. If you aren’t ready to change, change your attitude to appreciate things exactly as they are.
Journaling. As early as I can almost every day, I grab a cup of coffee and get my journal. It is the most centering activity I do for myself. For at least 10 minutes, I reflect—on how I feel, what is going on in my life, what has happened of late that is occupying my mind and what is coming up in my life that warrants attention. It is an unedited, unabridged memoir to myself of my life journey with the ultimate goal of self-honesty and personal evolution.
Smile. Send love. Release resentment and judgmental attitudes towards myself and others.
Focus on yourself. It is easy to look to the outside world for self-definition and meaning. Yet those are things only you can create internally—use the outside world to guide your internal development.
My Pic of the Day: The beach. No matter how down or irritated or stressed I may feel in a given moment, one look at the ocean and I cant help but smile. The colors. The animals. The sound. The smell. The size. The ultimate power and beauty of nature.
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
Santa Barbara, CA. The weather. The ocean. The down-to-earth, non-pretentious, agricultural vibe of Santa Barbara. It is intellectual and stunningly beautiful yet down-to-earth.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
Coffee, poached eggs and toast with homemade jam. I also love a good green juice, like Greens 4 from the Pressed Juicery.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
I recently bought an apple watch and it is highly amusing. I check my “health” and “activity” apps for steps walked, time standing, and exercise completed daily. I find it very engaging to see how my health is monitored over the course of a day, week, month, or even year from this small device on my wrist.
What should everyone try at least once?
Psychotherapy. It is a gift to yourself—often a much more challenging experience than people think. I think the world would be a better place if everyone was in therapy at least once in their life.
What else to know: