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Laura Yoviene Sykes, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Director, STEP Learning Collaborative

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Laura Yoviene Sykes, PhD


Laura Yoviene Sykes, a licensed clinical psychologist, earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, under the mentorship of Dr. Jean Rhodes. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame, where she received the John F. Santos award for distinctive achievement in psychology. At Notre Dame she worked as a research assistant under Dr. Mark Cummings at the Family Studies Lab and under Dr. Lee Anna Clark at the Center for Advanced Measurement of Personality and Psychopathology; these experiences have guided her developmental approach to serious psychopathology.

Dr. Yoviene Sykes's research has broadly focused on factors that influence risk and resilience in adolescents and young adults. She has specifically focused on how facets of helping relationships (i.e., trust, reliability, personality, feeling understood) can contribute to corrective emotional experiences and reductions in rejection sensitivity, particularly for young people who have experienced disrupted attachments.

Clinically, Dr. Yoviene Sykes specializes in the treatment and assessment of young people who are experiencing clinical high-risk for psychosis or a first psychotic episode. She has had the privilege of training at the CEDAR Clinic, part of Massachusetts Mental Health Center, in which she was trained in evidence-based techniques for conducting comprehensive individual and family focused treatment, consultation, and cognitive testing. Consistent with her research on risk and resilience, these experiences have informed her understanding of factors contributing to psychosis risk, as well as the effectiveness and mechanisms through which various interventions shorten the duration of untreated psychosis and promote recovery.

Prior to joining the faculty at Yale, Dr. Yoviene Sykes completed her pre- and post-doctoral fellowships in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, specializing in the treatment of schizophrenia spectrum disorders, including specialized training in treating first episode psychosis at the STEP program.

Currently, Dr. Yoviene Sykes is the Director of the STEP Learning Collaborative (formerly the Connecticut Early Psychosis Learning Health Network), a workforce development and community education initiative hosted by the STEP Program, dedicated to transforming access, care quality, and outcomes for individuals and families impacted by recent onset psychosis throughout the state of Connecticut. Dr. Yoviene Sykes also serves as a staff psychologist and oversees the provision of family services for the Specialized Treatment Early in Psychosis (STEP) clinic at the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC).

Education & Training

  • PhD
    University of Massachusetts - Boston, Clinical Psychology
  • MA
    University of Massachusetts - Boston, Clinical Psychology
  • BA
    University of Notre Dame, Psychology
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship
    Yale School of Medicine
  • Psychology Predoctoral Fellowship
    Yale School of Medicine

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
John F. Santos Award for Distinctive Achievement in PsychologyUniversity of Notre Dame2012

Professional Service

American Psychological Association - Task Force on Serious Mental Illness/Serious Emotional Disturbance (TF-SMI/SED)Task Force Member2021 - Present
Connecticut Psychological Association Early Career Leadership AcademyFellow2021
Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) NetworkEarly Psychosis Working Group2021 - Present
Connecticut Psychological Association Educational Foundation BoardSecretary2020 - Present
American Psychological Association - Division 18: Psychologists in Public ServiceMember2019 - Present
Connecticut Psychological AssociationMember2018 - Present
Early Intervention in Mental Health (IEPA)Member2018 - Present

Departments & Organizations