Dr. Corcoran is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She is actively involved in teaching psychotherapy to graduate students, psychiatry residents, and postdoctoral fellows. She is the Training Director for the Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship program and the Curriculum Director of CBT Training for the Psychiatry Residency program. In her clinical practice, Dr. Corcoran specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based interventions for adults experiencing anxiety, stress, and depression.

Clinical Focus

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • Mindfulness-Based Therapies
  • Depression
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Clinical Psychology

Academic Appointments

  • Clinical Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Administrative Appointments

  • Director of Training, Postdoctoral Fellowship in Adult Clinical Psychology, Stanford School of Medicine (2011 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Internship: VA Medical Center Palo Alto (2006) CA
  • PhD Training: University of British Columbia (2006) Canada
  • Fellowship: Stanford University Medical Center (2007) CA

All Publications

  • Mindfulness Practice, Rumination and Clinical Outcome in Mindfulness-Based Treatment COGNITIVE THERAPY AND RESEARCH Hawley, L. L., Schwartz, D., Bieling, P. J., Irving, J., Corcoran, K., Farb, N. A., Anderson, A. K., Segal, Z. V. 2014; 38 (1): 1-9
  • Treatment-Specific Changes in Decentering Following Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Versus Antidepressant Medication or Placebo for Prevention of Depressive Relapse JOURNAL OF CONSULTING AND CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY Bieling, P. J., Hawley, L. L., Bloch, R. T., Corcoran, K. M., Levitan, R. D., Young, L. T., MacQueen, G. M., Segal, Z. V. 2012; 80 (3): 365-372


    To examine whether metacognitive psychological skills, acquired in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), are also present in patients receiving medication treatments for prevention of depressive relapse and whether these skills mediate MBCT's effectiveness.This study, embedded within a randomized efficacy trial of MBCT, was the first to examine changes in mindfulness and decentering during 6-8 months of antidepressant treatment and then during an 18-month maintenance phase in which patients discontinued medication and received MBCT, continued on antidepressants, or were switched to a placebo. In total, 84 patients (mean age = 44 years, 58% female) were randomized to 1 of these 3 prevention conditions. In addition to symptom variables, changes in mindfulness, rumination, and decentering were assessed during the phases of the study.Pharmacological treatment of acute depression was associated with reductions in scores for rumination and increased wider experiences. During the maintenance phase, only patients receiving MBCT showed significant increases in the ability to monitor and observe thoughts and feelings as measured by the Wider Experiences (p < .01) and Decentering (p < .01) subscales of the Experiences Questionnaire and by the Toronto Mindfulness Scale. In addition, changes in Wider Experiences (p < .05) and Curiosity (p < .01) predicted lower Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression scores at 6-month follow-up.An increased capacity for decentering and curiosity may be fostered during MBCT and may underlie its effectiveness. With practice, patients can learn to counter habitual avoidance tendencies and to regulate dysphoric affect in ways that support recovery.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0027483

    View details for Web of Science ID 000304508000005

    View details for PubMedID 22409641

  • Mindfulness and emotion regulation: Outcomes and possible mediating mechanisms. Emotion regulation and psychopathology: A transdiagnostic approach to etiology and treatment. Corcoran KM, Farb N, Anderson A, Segal ZV 2010: 339-355
  • Effects of suppression and appraisals on thought frequency and distress BEHAVIOUR RESEARCH AND THERAPY Corcoran, K. M., Woody, S. R. 2009; 47 (12): 1024-1031


    Cognitive theories of obsessions highlight appraisals of personal significance and thought suppression in the development and maintenance of intrusive thoughts. The current study examined the role of personal significance within the context of a thought suppression paradigm. The primary aim was to examine whether suppression would have differential effects for target thoughts appraised as personally meaningful versus relatively unimportant. A blasphemous thought served as the target thought, and highly religious and nonreligious participants were recruited. Participants completed a two-interval thought suppression task; during interval 1 they were randomly assigned to suppress or not suppress the target thought and during interval 2, all participants were given "do not suppress" instructions. Suppression resulted in sustained frequency of thoughts in contrast to the decline in thought frequency observed for non-suppression. Differential effects of suppression were found across the two groups. Moreover, suppression was associated with increased negative mood and anxiety. Results suggest that suppression of personally meaningful thoughts is a counterproductive strategy.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.brat.2009.07.023

    View details for Web of Science ID 000272057800005

    View details for PubMedID 19765684

  • Metacognition in depressive and anxiety disorders: Current directions. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy Corcoran KM, Segal ZV 2008; 1 (1): 33-44
  • CBT for dysthymia and chronic major depression Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Complete Reference Guide, Arnow, B., Corcoran, K, Thase, M
  • Supervision Formats SUPERVISION IN PSYCHIATRIC PRACTICE: PRACTICAL APPROACHES ACROSS VENUES AND PROVIDERS Gibbs, E., Corcoran, K. M., DeGolia, S. G., Corcoran, K. M. 2019: 37–44
  • Psychotherapy Supervision by a Psychologist Benefits and Potential Challenges SUPERVISION IN PSYCHIATRIC PRACTICE: PRACTICAL APPROACHES ACROSS VENUES AND PROVIDERS Luce, K. H., Corcoran, K. M., DeGolia, S. G., Corcoran, K. M. 2019: 285–91
  • Appraisals of obsessional thoughts in normal samples BEHAVIOUR RESEARCH AND THERAPY Corcoran, K. M., Woody, S. R. 2008; 46 (1): 71-83


    Cognitive theories of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) posit that appraisals about the significance of thoughts are critical in the development and persistence of obsessions. Rachman [(1997). A cognitive theory of obsessions. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 35, 793-802.] proposes that appraisals of unwanted thoughts distinguish clinical obsessions from normal intrusive thoughts; thoughts appraised as important and personally significant are expected to be upsetting and recur. Appraisals are also expected to be related to symptoms of OCD. To explore the features of normal appraisals of obsession-like thoughts, nonclinical participants in two studies rated the personal significance of intrusive thoughts portrayed in vignettes containing prototypical themes associated with primary obsessions: aggressive, sexual, and blasphemous thoughts. Unwanted intrusive thoughts that were described as occurring more frequently were appraised as more personally significant, but participants appraised these socially unacceptable thoughts similarly whether they imagined having personally experienced them or a friend confiding about having experienced them. Appraisals in both studies were related to subclinical OC symptoms and OC beliefs.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.brat.2007.10.007

    View details for Web of Science ID 000253276200006

    View details for PubMedID 18093572

  • Recognition of facial expressions in obsessive-compulsive disorder JOURNAL OF ANXIETY DISORDERS Corcoran, K. M., Woody, S. R., Tolin, D. F. 2008; 22 (1): 56-66


    Sprengelmeyer et al. [Sprengelmeyer, R., Young, A. W., Pundt, I., Sprengelmeyer, A., Calder, A. J., Berrios, G., et al. (1997). Disgust implicated in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 264, 1767-1773] found that patients with OCD showed severely impaired recognition of facial expressions of disgust. This result has potential to provide a unique window into the psychopathology of OCD, but several published attempts to replicate this finding have failed. The current study compared OCD patients to normal controls and panic disorder patients on ability to recognize facial expressions of negative emotions. Overall, the OCD patients were impaired in their ability to recognize disgust expressions, but only 33% of patients showed this deficit. These deficits were related to OCD symptom severity and general functioning, factors that may account for the inconsistent findings observed in different laboratories.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.janxdis.2007.01.003

    View details for Web of Science ID 000252819700005

    View details for PubMedID 17320346

  • Telephone-administered cognitive behavior therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Cognitive behaviour therapy Taylor, S., Thordarson, D. S., Spring, T., Yeh, A. H., Corcoran, K. M., Eugster, K., Tisshaw, C. 2003; 32 (1): 13-25


    Exposure with response prevention and cognitive behavior therapy are widely recognized as effective treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Unfortunately, many people with obsessive-compulsive disorder--particularly those living in rural areas--do not have access to therapists providing these treatments. Accordingly, we investigated the efficacy of telephone-administered cognitive behavior therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Two open trials are reported, for a total of 33 people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (without major depression). The first trial consisted of 12 weeks on a waiting list followed by 12 weeks of treatment (delayed treatment). The second trial consisted of 12 weeks of immediate treatment. Obsessive-compulsive symptoms did not change during the waiting period. Symptoms declined from pre- to post-treatment, with gains maintained at 12-week follow-up. For the pooled sample our pre-to-post-treatment effect size was as large or larger than those obtained in other studies of reduced contact treatment, and similar to those of face-to-face exposure with response prevention. Our proportion of treatment dropouts tended to be lower than those of other reduced contact interventions. The results suggest that telephone-administered cognitive behavior therapy is effective and well-tolerated, at least for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder without major depression. It remains to be seen whether this treatment is safe and effective when comorbid major depression is present.

    View details for PubMedID 16291531

  • Efficacy of telephone-administered cognitive behaviour therapy for obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders: case studies. Cognitive behaviour therapy Yeh, A. H., Taylor, S., Thordarson, D. S., Corcoran, K. M. 2003; 32 (2): 75-81


    Cognitive behaviour therapy is effective for obsessive-compulsive disorder and for obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders such as trichotillomania. Unfortunately, many people with these disorders, especially those living in rural areas, have limited access to treatment. Telephone-administered cognitive behaviour therapy may help address this problem. In a recent study of telephone treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, we found that such treatment was often effective (42% in remission at post-treatment, and 47% in remission at 12-week follow-up). This article presents 2 case reports of the same treatment, applied to obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders (trichotillomania and compulsive skin picking). Treatment was associated with symptom reduction for both participants, although one subsequently relapsed. Possible reasons for relapse are discussed. The findings encourage further studies to identify the characteristics of people most likely to benefit from telephone treatment for spectrum disorders.

    View details for PubMedID 16291538