Department of Clinical Psychology 
Clinical Professor

After teaching at the State University of New York for several years, Dr. Michael Ascher undertook a second postdoctoral program under the direction of Joseph Wolpe in the Behavior Therapy Unit of the Department of Psychiatry at Temple University Health Science Center. Dr. Ascher was then offered an Assistant Professorship in Wolpe's Unit. He remained in the Department of Psychiatry for the next 30 years, eventually earning the rank of professor. During his tenure at Temple University, he held a variety of positions, the culmination of which was Director of the Behavior Therapy Unit upon Joseph Wolpe's retirement.

Around 1976, he began an association with Viktor Frankl that was very rewarding in that it served to expand Dr. Ascher's experience in psychotherapy. In December 2001, he left Temple University and joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Ascher has been active in the field of behavior therapy as a teacher, clinician, and researcher. He has published more than 50 articles in refereed journals and has edited or co-edited three books. He serves or has served on the editorial boards or as a consultant with a wide variety of national and international journals. He has presented numerous invited lectures and workshops throughout the United States and Europe.

Dr. Ascher's clinical practice is confined to the treatment of anxiety disorders and anxiety-based complaints (e.g., insomnia, sexual dysfunction).


Ascher received his bachelor's degree from Long Island University. He earned both the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. He then completed a postdoctoral year with T.X. Barber in hypnosis.


Dr. Ascher has published pioneering research, and remains interested in, the use of paradoxical intention as a behavioral procedure in the treatment of anxiety disorders complicated by a "fear of fear" component. In addition, he is investigating investor anxiety - the emotional difficulties experienced by the average retail stock market investor, and how these difficulties adversely affect performance.


Ascher, L.M. (2002) Paradoxical intention. Encyclopedia of Psychotherapy, Vol. 2, 331-337 USA: Elsevier Science

Ascher, L.M. and Schotte, D.E. (1999) Paradoxical and recursive anxiety. Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry, 30, 71-79.

Ascher, L.M. (1989) Paradoxical intention: Its clarification and emergence as a conventional behavioral procedure. The behavioral therapist, 12, 23-28.

Ascher, L.M. (1989) Employing paradoxical intention in the treatment of agoraphobia. Behavior research and therapy, 19, 533-542.

Ascher, L.M. (1989) Paradoxical intention and recursive anxiety. In L.M. Ascher (ed.) Therapeutic Paradox. NY.: Guilford Press.

Ascher, L.M. and DiTomasso, R.A. (1985). Paradoxical intention in behavior therapy: A review of the experimental literature. In R.M. Turner and L.M. Ascher (Eds.) Evaluating Behavior Therapy. New York: Springer.

Ascher, L.M. (1985). Paradoxical intention. In A.S. Bellack and M. Herson (Eds.) Dictionary of Behavior Therapy Techniques. New York: Pergamon Press.

Ascher, L.M., Bowers, M. and Schotte, D.E. (1985). Empirical issues in paradox. In G.R. Weeks (Ed.) Promoting Change through Paradoxical Therapy, Homewood, Illinois: Dow-Jones-Irwin.

Ascher, L.M. (1979) Paradoxical intention in the treatment of urinary retention. Behavior research and therapy, 17, 267-270.

Ascher L.M. and Efran, J.S. (1978) The use of paradoxical intention in a behavioral program for sleep onset insomnia. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 8, 547-550.

Ascher, L.M. (1977) The role of hypnosis in behavior therapy. Annals of New York Academy of Sciences, 296, 250-263

Ascher, L.M. and Cautela, J.R. (1975) An experimental study of covert extinction. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 17, 233-238. Reprinted in D. Upper and J.R. Cautela (Eds.) Covert Conditioning. New York: Pergamon Press, 1979.