Thomas Wen-Chi Chao

Ph.D, C. Psych. (Supervised Practice)

Dr. Thomas Chao is a psychologist in supervised practice. Thomas received his PhD in Clinical psychology from the New School for Social Research. He is currently a postdoctoral affiliate at the University of British Columbia, Department of Psychiatry. In his clinical work, he specializes in therapy for adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, substance use, emotion regulation, and relationship difficulties. His practice emphasizes using an adaptive combination of evidence-based interventions, drawn mainly from cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy. Thomas is also formally trained in psychodynamic therapy. Here, he brings a more nuanced approach to understanding the meaning and complexity of the unique challenges his clients may be facing.

At FTPS, Thomas’ focus includes the treatment of OCD, with approaches such as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Inference-based CBT (I-CBT). He has worked with individuals presenting with a wide range of OCD symptoms, including those related to contamination, sexuality, harm, perfectionism, relationship, moral/religious scrupulosity, just right feelings, and other core areas. His overall approach prioritizes comfort, safety, and positive encouragement when it comes to engaging his clients in OCD work. 

Dr. Chao also works with individuals who present with symptoms related to anxiety, depression, attentional difficulties, life transitions and interpersonal issues. Tom also engages in parent coaching with parents who have young adult children experiencing a variety of mental health issues.

Prior to completing his predoctoral residency at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), he trained at various hospitals across New York City, including Columbia University Irving Medical Center, where he undertook a 3-year federally funded translational research fellowship. Thomas also received training at the NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University, Department of Neurology and the New York Institute for Family Health.

Through his clinical work, Thomas has had success in working with individuals, couples, and families from a wide range of socio-economic, cultural, racial/ethnic, and other social identity backgrounds. Thomas also currently holds a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of British Columbia, Department of Psychiatry. A key aspect of Thomas’ work is staying actively involved with research, so that up-to-date scientific knowledge would continue to inform his clinical approach and practice.

Thomas Wen-Chi Chao’s practice includes the following services:

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Recent Scientific Publications

Luciani, K. R., Johal, P., Chao, T., Thiessen, K. A., & Schütz, C. (2024). Adult Self-Reported Childhood Maltreatment Types are Associated With Treatment Satisfaction and Alcohol Relapse in Patients With Comorbid Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders. The American Journal on Addiction.
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Chao, T., Todman, M., Foltin, R., & Bedi, G. (2023). Laboratory Method to Induce State Boredom Increases Impulsive Choice in People Who Use Cocaine and Controls. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
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Epp, T., Skrenes, A., Chao, T., & Krigolson, O. E. 2, & Schütz, C. (2023). Associations of the P300 Event-Related Potentials and Self-Reported Craving in Substance Use Disorders: A Systematic Review European Addiction Research
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Koshimori, Y., Cusimano, M. D., Vieira, E. L., Rusjan, P. M., Kish, S. J., Vasdev, N., Moriguchi, S., Boileau, I., Chao, T., Nasser, Z., Husain, I., Fraiz, K., Braga, J., & Meyer, J. H. Astrogliosis marker 11C-SL2511.88 PET in Traumatic Brain Injury With Persistent Symptoms. (2023). Brain.

Braga, J., Lepra, M., Kish, S. J., Rusjan, P. M. Nasser, Z., Verhoeff, N., Vasdev, N., Bagby, M., Boileau, I., Husain, I. M., Kolla, N., Garcia, A., Chao, T., Mizrahi, R., Vieira, E. L., & Meyer, J. H. Neuroinflammation After COVID-19 With Persistent Depressive and Cognitive Symptoms. (2023). JAMA Psychiatry.
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Bauer, A., Ruglass, L., Shevorykin, A., Saraiya, T., Robinson, G., Cadet, K., Julien, L., Chao, T., & Hien, D. (2022). Predictors of Therapeutic Alliance, Treatment Feedback, and Clinical Outcomes Among African American Women in Treatment for Co-occurring PTSD and SUD. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 139,108766.
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Todesco, S., Chao, T., Schmid, L., Thiessen, K. A., & Schütz, C. (2022). Changes in Loss Sensitivity During Treatment in Inpatients with Concurrent Disorders: A Computational Model Approach to Assessing Risky Decision Making and Treatment Outcome. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12.
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Brandt, L., Chao, T., Comer, S. D., & Levin, F. R. (2021). How Can We Optimally Channel Therapeutic Optimism to Advance Pharmacotherapy Research on Cocaine use Disorder? Addiction.
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Recent Presentations

Shirvani, M., Liu, J., Chao, T., Martinez, S., Brandt, L., & Yoon, D. (2024). Externalizing Inner Dialogue through AI: Exploring Design Considerations of Self-Clone Chatbots for Personalized Mental Health Support. Association of Computing Machinery Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Oʻahu, HI.

Dunn, R., Chao, T., & Schütz, C. (April 2023). Exploring the Relationship Between Psychedelic Use and Childhood Trauma: A Survey-Based Study. UBC Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC) 25th Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC.

Chao, T., Schmid, L., Khehra, J., Hajirawala, S., & Schütz, C. (June 2022). Action-Tendency Retraining in Severe Psychiatric Inpatients With Stimulant Use Disorder: A Preliminary Analysis on Stimulant Craving and Treatment Outcomes. College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) 84th Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN.

Todesco, S., Chao, T., Scheef, L., & Schütz, C. (June 2022). Stress- and Cue-Induced Brain Activation and Relapse in Cigarette Smokers Undergoing Smoking Cessation Treatment: A Prospective fMRI Study. College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) 84th Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN.

Chao, T., Xia, R., & Bedi, G. (June 2020). Reinforcement Learning in Aging Cocaine Smokers. College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) 82nd Annual Scientific Meeting, Virtual Meeting.