Christoph Leonhard



Christoph Leonhard

Department Faculty

  • Professor

  • Campus:
  • New Orleans, LA
Clinical Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Address Map of 1 Drexel Dr New Orleans LA 70125
Office LRC 545
1 Drexel Dr
New Orleans, LA 70125
Office Phone
Email [email protected]

Dr. Leonhard's areas of clinical and research interests include behavior therapy and behavior medicine with a variety of adult populations, including persons with mental retardation, severe mental illness, mood and anxiety disorders, and substance addiction. Dr. Leonhard has prior experience as a therapist for the Anxiety Treatment Center. He worked as a consultant with agencies providing residential and vocational services to persons with severe mental illness, with residential substance abuse facilities, and with college counseling centers. He also has experience working with Native Americans in Nevada and Idaho, inner city substance using homeless persons in Boston, and intercultural communication between Japanese and European-Americans.

Dr. Leonhard's research background includes overseeing a behavior analysis lab and serving as project director on a federal substance abuse grant. Dr. Leonhard currently works as a consultant in the area of physical activity promotion in sedentary office work environments. He has graduate teaching experience in addictions, behavior therapy, statistics and research methods, ethics and the law, adult development, and in behavioral medicine. Dr. Leonhard graduated from the University of Nevada-Reno in 1994. He is Board Certified in Behavior Therapy.

Education History
Degree Institution
B.Sc. in Psychology N.S., Canada
M.A. University of Nevada-Reno
Ph.D. University of Nevada-Reno
Professional Memberships
Role Organization
Member American Psychological Association (APA)
Member Association for Behavior Analysis (ABA)
Member Association for Behavior and Cognitive Therapy (ABCT)
Member Louisiana Psychological Association
June 2003 to present- American Board of Professional Psychology: Board Certification in Behavioral Psychology by the ABPP
1998 May to present - State of Illinois: Clinical Psychologist. License Number: 071-005630
2017 August to present - State of Louisiana: Clinical Psychologist. License Number: 1423
Community Involvement
2017 - present: Louisiana Psychological Association: Chair of Health Psychology Committee; Member of 2017, 2018, and 2019 Annual Conference Planning Committees
2013 - present: Reviewer for the International Journal of Workplace Health Management
2012 - present: Reviewer for the Journal of Physical Activity and Health
2010 - present: Examiner for the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) for the examination for board certification in Behavior Therapy
2004 - 2005, Vice-president of the Chicago Association for Behavior Analysis (CABA)
1998 - 2002, August Elected by the trustees of the Village of River Forest to sit on the River Forest Mental Health Committee
Areas of Expertise
Area Expertise
Psychology Subdisciplines - Clinical Psychology
Therapeutic/Theoretical Orientation Behavioral Therapy

Carr, L. J., Maeda, H., Luther, B., Rider, P., Tucker, S., &Leonhard, C.(2014). Acceptability and effects of a seated active workstation during sedentary work: A proof of concept study.International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 7,2-15. DOI: 10.1108/IJWHM-03-2013-0008

Carr, L. J., Luther, B., Rider, P., &Leonhard, C. L.(2013). Comparing the physical, cognitive and work performance effects of using an active elliptical machine desk versus a standard desk.Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 45(S2), B159.

Taft, T. H., Keefer L.,Leonhard C.,& Nealon-Woods, M. (2009). Impact of perceived stigma on inflammatory bowel disease patient outcomes.Inflamatory Bowel Diseases, 15,1224-1232.

Reinke, R. R, Corrigan, P. W.,Leonhard, C.,Lundin, R. K., & Kubiak, M. A. (2004). Examining two aspects of contact on the stigma of mental illness.Journal of Social and Cinical Psychology, 23,377-389.

Leonhard, C.,& Corrigan, P. W. (2001). Social perception in schizophrenia. In P. W. Corrigan & D. L. Penn (Eds.), Social cognition and schizophrenia (pp. 73-95). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Leonhard, C.,Mulvey, K. P., Gastfriend, D. R., Schwartz, M., & Wei, H. (2000). The addiction severity index: A field study of reliability and validity.Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 18,129-135.


Menges, K.K. & Leonhard, C (2016). Factors that affect willingness to borrow student loans among Community College students.. Journal of Student Financial Aid, 42 (6), Article 5.

Carr, L.J., Bemzo, R, Leonhard, C., Ferrer, A., & Ramesh, S. (2015). Efficacy of Active Sitting Desks for Reducing Occupational Sedentary Time and Improving Health.. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 49 (51), S170.

Carr, L.J., Leonhard, C., Tucker, S., Fethke,N., Benzo,R., & Gerr, F. (2016). Total Worker HealthTM Intervention Targeted to Sedentary Office Workers: A Randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine., 50 (1), 9-17.

Question and Answer
Please describe your teaching philosophy.

In my teaching, I aim to present state-of-the-art information on the topic while at the same time allowing students to integrate the material into their world-view and clinical work. To that end, I believe in teaching a somewhat smaller quantity of material, aiming instead for greater depth of processing. In many of the academically-oriented courses, I use a divide-and-conquer approach to help students master technical information. I break the material down into a set of study questions for each week. I enhance student motivation to work on study questions by basing about 50% of the grade on study question-related performance. This has the additional effect of spreading out work in my courses over the entire semester, so that I am not competing as much with other instructors for student attention, especially during mid-term and finals times. In addition to mastering the basics of the field, I incorporate a way for students to develop more in-depth knowledge in an issue of special interest to them which relates to the topic of the course. This takes the form of an annotated bibliography, a paper, a class presentation, a book report, or a combination of these.

While developing mastery of technical information, I never lose sight of the need for students to relate information to their own lives in general and to their professional practice in particular. My motivation in so doing is based largely on research findings demonstrating (1) superior recall for information that is related to one's own self and (2) increased ability to apply information when learning in in-vivo or applied in-vitrio situations. With these goals in mind, I try to create an atmosphere in class that encourages the applied use of theoretical/empirical material. I do this by requiring students to incorporate personal examples into the answers to the study questions and through classroom discussions, student presentations, role-plays, use of evocative audio-visuals, etc. In more advanced courses and seminars, I use a more student-focused approach. I allow many more options for individual learning to meet the individual needs of the more advance learner. For example, students choose their own therapy and play out a full course of treatment as a therapist and another full course of treatment as a client. In the proposal development seminar, every student's project is different and the content of the course is about 95% different for each student. I see my role in those classes as creating a structure to facilitate individual learning and to accompany and evaluate such learning on an ongoing basis. Evaluation then is based completely on work products that the students choose for themselves. I use a learning contract format to assure timely delivery of worthwhile learning products.

Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?

I am not sure if I chose psychology or if it chose me. I also find it a lot easier to talk about how I grew into the field than why. I started as a teenager reading Sigmund Freud to try and figure out my life and my problems. At the same time, I was very much interested in the environmental consciousness movement in Germany in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Finding Freud of not much help with my teenage worries and discovering that the roots of Waldsterben had less to do with science and more with psychology and politics, I signed up for a psychology major upon entering Concordia University in Montreal (having just graduated from a vocational high school with an emphasis in Forestry and Wildlife - no, not that kind). Upon transferring to St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I happened to get lucky and got mentored by a behavior analyst. I ran the rat lab for a year and generally took any and everything having to do with psychology. At the same time I was working toward a degree in computer science. When approaching graduation, I felt it was better for me to stay with psychology, primarily because I didn't like hanging out in the computer lab too much and I felt I would end up an isolated egghead if I stayed with computer science.

But before I could pursue my graduate school plans, my service deferments had run out as I had to move back to Germany to serve for 20 months as a conscientious objector. The work I did in a residential facility for mentally retarded and chronically mentally ill men was a revelation. I got to try all of my favorite behavioral techniques on real people and some amazing successes (e.g. getting an elderly man to walk unassisted by use of a fading procedure who had not walked unassisted in the 20 years he had been at the facility). So that's all the convincing I needed to go to graduate school in clinical psychology. The rest, as they say, is history. :-)

What advice would you give to a student entering The Chicago School?

One aspect I particularly value about The Chicago School is that you don't have to give up who you are as the price of admission to the school. So the most general advice would be not to forget who you are and what interested you in this training in the first place, while at the same time making sure you learn everything you need to truly self-actualize as a professional.

Professional Skills
anxiety, behavior therapy, bipolar disorder, clinical psychology, cognitive/cognitive behavioral therapy, cultural issues, depression, diversity issues, eating disorders, ethics in professional psychology, immigration/immigrant populations, mental illness, mood disorders, obesity, Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD), parenting, phobias, positive psychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, psychopathology, research design/methodology, schizophrenia, sexual offenders, sexuality, stress, suicide and self-injury, trauma, work/life balance, workplace issues