Dr. James K. Matta Sr. : CAL U

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A student sits on a wall outside one of the Cal U buildings.A student sits on a wall outside one of the Cal U buildings.

Dr. James K. Matta Sr.


  • B.A.: Psychology, Edinboro University
  • M.A.: Clinical Psychology, Edinboro University
  • M.S.: Counselor Education, Duquesne University
  • Ed.D.: Counselor Education and Supervision, Duquesne University


For the past year, Dr. Matta has been working as a professional counselor at the Counseling Center at Cal U. The position requires seeing students who are struggling with adjustment issues, depression, anxiety and/or substance use issues. Other duties include being on call to assist students who are experiencing mental health emergencies, consulting with staff and faculty about their student concerns, assisting the Wellness Center in its mission to provide a holistic approach to student health, facilitating student referrals to various mental health resources in the greater California area, training staff related to the well-being of students, etc.

In addition to his role at Cal U, he continues to work part time as a senior research principal at the Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center, which is affiliated with Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

For almost 20 years, he has been working in clinical research on a variety of treatment intervention and longitudinal studies, working primarily with late adolescents and young adults. Primary responsibilities involve coordinating psychological assessments and conducting psychotherapy. In the past 10 years, the emphasis has been on combining psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy treatment approaches to identify the most effective treatment approaches with individuals identified with major depression and substance abuse disorders.

His expertise is in assessment, diagnosing and the behavioral change process. Some of the behavioral change training involves motivational interviewing, which included being trained by Dr. William Miller. Dr. Miller developed Motivational Interviewing to treat substance use disorders.


In the past few years, Matta has co-authored a book chapter and two different refereed journals. The book chapter is titled "Fluoxetine Trial for the Cannabis-Related Symptoms of Comorbid Adolescents." In T.A. Walcott (ed.), Drug and Alcohol Abuse Research Focus (pp. 1-6). Nova Science Publishers Inc. (2009). The two journal articles are "Fluoxetine Trial for the Cannabis-Related Symptoms of Comorbid Adolescents," Journal of Drug Abuse, Education, and Eradication," and "Fluoxetine in Adolescents with Comorbid Major Depression and an Alcohol Use Disorder: a Five-year Follow-up Study," Journal of Dual Diagnosis 2:9-23.

Professional Memberships

  • American Counseling Association
  • Pennsylvania Counseling Association
  • Association of College Counseling Faculty
  • Association for Counselor Education and Supervision
  • North Atlantic Regional Association of Counselor Education and Supervision
  • Greater Pittsburgh Counseling Association
  • Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society
  • Psi Chi Honorary Society
  • Cambridge's Who's Who

Research Interests

For almost the past two decades, Matta has been involved with numerous clinical research projects at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC), which is affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. These studies include both treatment intervention projects and longitudinal studies. These research investigations have involved adolescents and young adults who have been identified with mood disorders, substance use disorders and risky sexual behavior. In August 2006, when he worked full time at the Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center (PAARC) (WPIC), Matta was awarded funding from the National Institute of Health's Clinical Researcher's Loan Repayment Program for two years to investigate effective treatment intervention strategies for adolescents and young adults identified with co-morbid Substance Use Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. Currently he serves on a limited basis for PAARC in an effort to meet its stated research goals on three major federally funded projects.        

Service Learning Projects

Matta is a board member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors. This board is one of 27 different licensure boards in Pennsylvania that fall under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. The function of this board is to protect the public from unprofessional, improper, unauthorized and unqualified practice of licensed social worker, marriage and family therapy, and professional counseling. He was appointed by the governor of Pennsylvania to serve on this board from April 2008 until April 2012.    

Academic Department(s)

  • Office of Student Affairs

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