Allison J. Applebaum, PhD

About Me

I am a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in helping patients with cancer and their caregivers. In my clinical work, I use a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches, with an emphasis on cognitive-behavioral and existential therapies. I have expertise in using cognitive-behavioral therapy to mitigate anxiety and depression and to improve overall quality of life in patients with cancer and their caregivers.

I am the Director of the Caregivers Clinic, housed within the Memorial Sloan Kettering Counseling Center. This clinic provides psychosocial support to cancer caregivers — family members and friends of patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering. For many, the stress of caregiving can easily become overwhelming and negatively impact one’s ability to perform this critical role. The purpose of the Caregivers Clinic is to help caregivers maximize their ability to provide care to their loved one with cancer while concurrently attending to their own self-care, needs, and other important responsibilities. In my work with individuals and groups, I help caregivers strengthen their capacity to communicate comfortably and openly with the patients for whom they provide care, honor their responsibility to care for themselves, and recognize their potential for growth and resilience, and even benefit from this important role.

My research goals involve the development of psychosocial interventions for cancer patients and their caregivers. I am particularly interested in understanding how patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers make meaning of the cancer experience, and how current empirically supported treatments may be adapted for the acute cancer setting. I am currently conducting research with cancer caregivers to better understand their meaning-making processes and how to best meet their psychosocial needs in the setting of multiple competing responsibilities. Additionally, I am investigating the unique experience of burden in caregivers of patients with particular cancer diagnoses and treatment regimens, such as bone marrow transplant patients and patients with brain tumors.

I am a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the American Psychosocial Oncology Society, and the International Psycho-Oncology Society.

  • Clinical Expertise: Psycho-oncology; Psychological Counseling for Patients with Cancer and their Caregivers; Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy; Existential Therapeutic Approaches
  • Languages Spoken: English
  • Education: PhD, Boston University
  • Residencies: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
  • Fellowships: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Board Certifications: Clinical Psychology

See My Colleagues


Selected Book Chapters
“Psychological treatments of bipolar disorder: Evidence-based approaches to address the predictors of symptoms,” Johnson S, Applebaum A, and Otto M; in Psychopathology: Bridging the gap between basic empirical findings and clinical practice, Castonguy LG and Oltmanns TF (eds). 2012, Guilford Prerss.

“Meaning-Centered Group Psychotherapy,” Breitbart W and Applebaum A; in Handbook of Psychotherapy in Cancer Care, Kissane D (ed). 2011, Wiley-Blackwell.

“The nature and treatment of bipolar disorders and the bipolar spectrum,” Otto MW and Applebaum AJ; in Oxford Handbook of Clinical Psychology, Barlow DH (ed), 2010, Oxford University Press.

“Substance and Alcohol Use,” Brennan M and Applebaum A; in Research on Older Adults with HIV: an in-depth examination of an emerging population, Brennan M, Karpiak SE, Cantor MH, and Shippy RA (eds). 2010, Nova Science Publishers.

“Loneliness,” Brennan M and Applebaum A; in Research on Older Adults with HIV: an in-depth examination of an emerging population, Brennan M, Karpiak SE, Cantor MH, and Shippy RA (eds). 2010, Nova Science Publishers.

“Mental Health and Depression,” Applebaum A and Brennan M; in Research on Older Adults with HIV: an in-depth examination of an emerging population, Brennan M, Karpiak SE, Cantor MH, and Shippy RA (eds). 2010, Nova Science Publishers.

“Contributors to Depressive Symptoms in Older Women with HIV: Health and Psychosocial Stressors,” Brennan M., Applebaum A., Cantor, MH, Shippy RA, and Karpiak SE; in Women and DepressionColumbus F(ed). 2008, Nova Science Publishers.


Visit PubMed for a full listing of Allison J. Applebaum’s journal articles

Pubmed is an online index of biomedical articles maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

Clinical Trials

Research is integral to our mission at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and clinical trials help us discover better forms of patient care and treatment. For you, this could mean access to a new therapy or therapy combination. Click to see a list of the trials I’m currently leading.


Most major health insurers offer plans that include MSK as one of their in-network providers. If MSK is in-network, it means all our doctors are too. Medicaid and New York State Medicare also provide benefits for care at MSK.

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