Find a Doctor

Physician Photo

Steven A. Safren, PhD

Director of Behavioral Medicine

  • Phone: 617-724-5600
Department of Psychiatry
Clinical Interests
AIDS and HIV infection
Adult ADHD
Anxiety disorders
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Medical illness
Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Medical Education
PhD, SUNY at Albany
Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital
Patient Age Group
Accepting New Patients
Accepting New Patients


Dr. Steven Safren is the Director of Behavioral Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and is a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Safren is also the Director of the Behavioral Medicine Track of the MGH clinical psychology internship. Dr. Safren received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University at Albany (State University of New York) in 1998, and did his internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Safren is board certified in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).

Dr. Safren's research focus is on cognitive behavioral intervention development and testing, particularly in the areas of HIV and other chronic illnesses, as well as adult ADHD. Dr. Safren has over 200 peer-reviewed professional publications as well as numerous chapters and commentaries, and 3 books. Notable works include the first U.S. based treatment trial of a psychosocial intervention for adult ADHD published in JAMA in 2010, and studies of CBT to treat depression and promote medical adherence in individuals with HIV and diabetes.   He has been the PI or protocol chair of 10 NIH-funded grants in these areas. His work in HIV has been extended nationally and internationally, and he has regularly served as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health's study sections that review grants related to behavioral aspects of HIV/AIDS. He has published treatment manuals for therapists working with adults with ADHD and working with individuals with depression that co-occurs with a chronic medical illness.  Finally, Dr. Safren provides research mentorship for junior faculty in Behavioral Medicine and medical psychiatry, on a wide range of topics related to CBT treatment development and testing, managing medical illness and HIV prevention.


View my most recent publications at PubMed

Safren SA, Perlman CA, Sprich S, Otto MW. Mastery of your adult ADHD. OUP, 2005.

Safren SA, Gonzalez JS, Soroudi N. Coping with Chronic Illness: Cognitive behavioral therapy for adherence and depression in individuals with chronic illness. 2007, OUP.

Safren SA, O'Cleirigh CO, Tan JY, et al. A randomized controlled trial of cognitive behavioral therapy for adherence and depression (CBT-AD) in HIV-infected individuals. Health Psychology: 2009, 28, 1-10.

Safren SA, Otto MW, Sprich S, et al. Cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD in medication-treated adults with continued symptoms. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 2005; 43: 831-842.

Depression and diabetes

For many patients the two go hand in hand.

In General Awards and Honors

MGH Hotline 4.2.10

Cognitive behavior therapy improves symptom control in adult ADHD

Adding cognitive behavioral therapy – an approach that teaches skills for handling life challenges and revising negative thought patterns – to pharmaceutical treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder significantly improved symptom control in adult patients.

Specialized cognitive behavioral therapy improves blood sugar control in depressed patients with type 2 diabetes

A program of cognitive behavioral therapy that addresses both mood and diabetes self-care led to improved blood sugar control and produced faster relief of depression in patients with poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes.

Behavioral Medicine Service
One Bowdoin Square
7th Floor
Boston, MA 02114-2927

Phone: 617-724-5600
Fax: 617-724-8690

Behavioral Medicine Service
One Bowdoin Square
7th Floor
Boston, MA 02114-2927

Phone: 617-724-5600
Fax: 617-724-8690

Request a new patient appointment

Call the Massachusetts General Hospital physician referral service at 800-711-4644.

Insurance plans - what you need to know

Mass General accepts most health insurance plans. Find out what you need to know before coming to Mass General.

Directions to Mass General

Driving to Mass General? Get driving directions or locate a parking lot on the hospital's main campus.