Dr. Veronica Perez’s expertise is focused on the diagnostic assessment and treatment of severe mental illness (SMI), specifically schizophrenia spectrum illnesses, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. These disorders may be largely overlapping when patients present with psychosis that occurs transdiagnostically. Dr. Perez is a licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY27421) in the UCSD CARE Early Psychosis Program, and provides individual, family, and group treatment. She works with the patient and their families to incorporate new information through psychoeducation, to develop skills to address symptoms, and to capitalize on the strengths of the individual from a recovery-model perspective. Dr. Perez provides empirically-supported treatments (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for psychosis, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-based CBT, etc) to engage patients and their families to develop skills to rebuild their lives.
Dr. Perez is the PI of the Treatment and Assessment of Cognitive Effectiveness (TRACE) lab. The aim of Dr. Perez’s research is 1) to trace the neurocognitive deficits that occur in SMI, 2) to understand how these deficits may predict the clinical presentation in individuals with co-morbid illnesses, 3) to improve the efficacy of interventions that reduce stigma against individuals with mental illnesses, and 4) to repair the neurocognitive domains that most deleteriously pervade the lives of those suffering with mental illness. Her research has yielded important studies using a variety of neurophysiological biomarkers and their relationships to clinical, cognitive, and functional impairments of schizophrenia patients, and other severe mental illnesses (SMI). From this work, she has developed her current research program to examine predictors of impairment in social cognition, and markers of efficacy after cognitive remediation interventions. All of her research is informed by her work with her patients – Dr. Perez aims to have a truly translational research program that can only come to fruition with direct contact with patients to generate research questions, and with the application of research outcomes in the clinic.