Dr. Festinger holds a PhD in clinical psychology and master's degrees in counseling and clinical health psychology, and is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Festinger is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and is the past president (2017) of APA’s Division 28 (Substance Abuse and Psychopharmacology). His National Institutes of Health-funded research has focused primarily on empirically isolating the active mechanisms of drug courts, developing empirically based dispositional procedures for offenders with substance use disorders, integrating disease prevention and healthcare into criminal justice programs for substance users, and bringing experimental research methods to bear on major ethical questions and human subject protections involving research participants.
To date, he has served as principal or co-Investigator on more than 20 NIH-funded grants and numerous contracts and grants from other federal, state and local funding agencies, has authored over 70 articles and chapters, and has disseminated his research findings at conferences and scientific meetings across the US and abroad. In addition, he is one of the principal architects of several evidence-based helping tools for clients and stakeholders within the fields of substance abuse and criminal justice.