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Curriculum Vitae

Gunnar Hrafn Birgisson, PsyD

Clinical Psychologist


Address: Klapparstig 25-27, 101 Reykjavik

Tel.: 354-696-0987

Adress at University of Iceland: Saemundargata 12, 101 Reykjavik.

Tel. at University of Iceland: 354-525-4582

Website: www.gunnarbirgisson.com

E-mail: [email protected]  [email protected]


Nov 16, 1993              Licensed Psychologist in Iceland.

Apr 14, 1998               Licensed Psychologist by Department of Regulation and Licensing in State of Wisconsin, U.S.A. 

                                    License number WI 2080.

Nov 03, 1999              Licensed as an Expert in Clinical Psychology in Iceland.


1991-1993                   Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D) at California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP), Los Angeles, USA. „Gunnar is an outstanding student at CSPP-LA and has established an excellent academic record.“ (Lott, K. P., CSPP Coordinator of Clinical Field Training, 1992).

1989-1991                   Master of Arts at CSPP, Los Angeles.

1986-1989                   Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at University of Iceland.

1980-1985                   University Entrance Exam, Soc. Sci. Div., Hamrahlid College.

Professional Affiliations

1995-present               American Psychological Association. Membership #7892-9951.

1998-present               Society of Experts in Clinical Psychology.  

Secretary, 1999 – 2008.

Member on the Committee on Child Custody and Visitation Litigation Issues 2009-2016.

1993-present               Icelandic Psychological Association. 

2002-2006                   Hypnotic Therapy Society in Iceland.

1993-1996                   Union of Icelandic Psychologists. Treasurer, 1994-1996. 

2011-2013                   Society of Positive Psychology. Founding and Board member

2013-2018                   University of Iceland, Psychological Licensing Committee, Board Member.

2019-present               European Association of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Treatment.

Professional Experience

2013 – present                        University of Iceland, Psychology Department.

  1. Director of UI’s Student Psychology Clinic (SÁL420F). Provide education and training for graduate students in applied clinical psychology. The students learn in practice with actual cases and through supervision to evaluate mental disorders, make treatment plans and do psychotherapy. GHB has supervised over 140 MS students or about 20 each year. Over 550 students of UI have received evaluation and psychotherapy at the clinic since 2013.
  2. Instructor and supervisor of three doctor level graduate students since 2018. Established with them a new group therapy program called Soul-Training. GHB trains and supervises them as co-therapists and therapists. The group is open for university students with various problems and mixed diagnoses. Theoretical basis is RE&CBT and Yalom’s Existential Group Therapy. Attendance last schoolyear was 34 students. Preliminary study showed very promising results with significantly lowered depression and anxiety scores.
  3. Instructor of the Clinical Interviewing and Psychiatric Diagnosis (SÁL236F)
  4. Guest Instructor on Mediation for Courts in Parental Child Custody and Visitation Cases (SÁL228F). Conducted in cooperation with Jonas Johannsson, District Court Judge.
  5. Guest Instructor in the course Interdisciplinary Cooperation in Health Sciences (HVS501M spring 2019) by Olof Gudny Geirsdottir, dosent. Topic: Mental Well-being of Students at UI.

1993 – present            Clinical Psychologist in Private Practice

Rational Emotive & Cognitive Behavior Therapy (RE&CBT)

Positive Psychotherapy; Couples- and Family Therapy; Group Therapy

Mediator of over 2000 cases in Child Custody and Visitation Battles between Parents.

Court Appointed Evaluator in many Child Custody and Visitation Cases, and other Forensic Cases.

Assessor for Courts in many Child Custody and Visitation Cases. 

Evaluator for Child Protection Services in many Child Protection Cases.

2000 – 2003             Consultant & Supervisor. Child Protective Office’s Treatment Center for Adolescent Drug Addicts at Skjoldolfsstadir, East of Iceland. Part time.

1995 – 1998             Clinical Psychologist at US Navy Family Service Center, Iceland Defense Force, Keflavik. Also, Chief of Counseling, 

1997 - 1998             Sexual Assault Victim Intervention (SAVI) Advocate Coordinator, 

1996 - 1998             Provided treatment for individuals, couples and families. Conducted workshops in Stress Management, Anger Management, and Couples Communication. Conducted group therapy for domestic violene perpetrators. Provided Consultation and General Military Training. Full position. GHB received Performance Evaluation as a „superior performer“ and „a professional of the highest calibre.“

1993 - 1995            Chief Psychologist. Children's Welfare Board of Iceland. Conducted psychological assessment of children and parents in termination of custody cases. Half position.

1992-1993               Psychological Intern. Metropolitan Clinical Counseling, CIGNA Healthplan, Manhattan Beach, California. Supervisors: John Minor, Ph.D. and Robert Cutrow, Ph.D.  Provided assessment and treatment for mental health patients. Got recommendations as „an outstanding excellent clinician.“ Training and supervision were partly based on REBT and partly on Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. Twenty hours a week, 800 practice hours and 180 hrs. and of supervision.

1992-1993               Psychological Assistant. Pacific Professional Associates in Van Nuys and Camarillo, California. Supervisor: Raymond E. Anderson, Ph.D.  Provided individual and group therapy for sex offenders. Got recommendation of excellence. Six hrs. a wk., 16 hours of individual supervision, 120 hours of practice.

1991-1992               Psychological Intern.  Orange Coast College, Student Health Service, Mental Health Department, Costa Mesa, California.  Supervisors: Roselyn Colombo, Ph.D., Duncan Wigg, Ph.D. and Kenneth Fineman, Ph.D. Provided psychotherapy and psychological assessment for individuals, couples and groups of students. „Gunnar Birgisson demonstrated excellence in all aspects of our training program. He will be a credit to the profession.“ (Colombo, 1992). Twenty practice hrs. a wk., 64 hours of individual supervision based on Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, and 45 hours of group supervision based on Cognitive Therapy. In all 752 practice hours.

1990-1991                Psychological Practicum. Pacific Professional Associates in Van Nuys, California.  Supervisor: Raymond E. Anderson, Ph.D.  Provided individual REBT and group therapy for sex offenders and victims of sexual abuse. Also, psychological assessment. GHB got outstanding evaluation and was hired part time as dr. Anderson’s Psychological Assistant doing research and treatment. 15 hours a wk., 30 hours of individual supervision, 500 practice hrs.

Summer 1991           Counselor. Department of Social Service, Reykjavik, Iceland, Provided psychotherapy and consultation for adolescents and their families. Excellent recommendations. Full position. 480 hrs.

Summer 1988            Counselor. Department of Social Service, Reykjavik, Iceland.  Provided psychotherapy and consultation for adolescents and their families. 480 hrs.

Summer 1987             Director. The Icelandic National Church Summer Campus, Vestmannsvatn, S-Thingeyjarsysla, Iceland. Directed a staff of nine, taking care of 50 children, ages 6-13, and a new group every week. Also, ran a week program for blind and elderly people. 16 hrs. a day, 2 months.

1986-1987                   Assistant Therapist. Treatment Center for Neurotic Children, Reykjavik Municipal Hospital. Provided therapy for children, ages 6-11, with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and other childhood disorders. Excellent recommendations. Full time.

1983-1986                   Psychiatric Aid. Department of Social Services in Reykjavik Municipal, Kopavogur Municipal, and Hafnarfjordur Municipal. Supervision of delinquent youth and parent training. Excellent recommendations. Part time job.

1979-1986                   Assistant Therapist. State Treatment Center for Delinquent Adolescents, a residential home and a crisis center. Provided therapy and supervision of adolescents with various behavior problems, and family therapy, and crisis intervention. Excellent recommendations. Full time job.


Birgisson, G. H. (2016). Family Mediation in Child Custody Litigations. In Andri S. Bjornsson, Gudfinna Eydal and Katrin Kristjansdottir (eds.), Of soul: Selective writings for Alfheidur Steinthorsdottir psychologist (bls. 171-200). Reykjavik: University Publication. 

Birgisson, G. H. (2010). Positive Psychology. The Icelandic Psychological Association's Web Journal. (The first published article in Icelandic on this theory).

Birgisson, G. H. (2009). Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in custody and visitation litigation: Wisdom or deception? Icelandic Law Journal, 2, 165-195.

Birgisson, G. H. (1998). Stand by yourself. Reykjavik: Upptok. (The first book published in Icelandic on RE&CBT).

Birgisson, G. H., Greenfield, H., & Hart, J. (1997). Counseling Standard Operating Procedures. Keflavik: Naval Air Station, Family Service Center.

Birgisson, G. H. (1996). Differences of personality, defensiveness, and compliance between admitting and denying male sex offenders. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 11, 118-125.

Gunnar Hrafn Birgisson and Johann Loftsson (2001-2013). Yearly reports of mediation and expert counseling of District Commissoner and the Ministry of Justice regarding child custody and visitation cases. (13 reports).

Gunnar Hrafn Birgisson (2011-present). www.gunnarbirgisson.com

Translation of Psychological Tests

1993                  The Custody Quotient. A structured interview and scale regarding parent competence for custody and visitation. 

1989                  Gudjonsson’s Compliance Questionnaire. A forensic scale.

Media participation

1993-present      Written many newspaper articles, mainly on psychology. Often appeared on TV and radio shows discussing topics like psychotherapy, child custody and child protection issues, and interpersonal violence. 

Provided seminars and lectures

March 2024          The Distinctive Aspects of REBT in the Flora of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Theories and a bit about Advances After the Days of Albert Ellis (1913-2007). Icelandic Psychological Association Conference in Reykjavik.

March 2023          Progress of the Student Psychological Cliinic at University of Iceland from its beginning 2013 until 2021. Icelandic Psychological Association Conference in  Reykjavik.

2020                     Children who refuse visitation with one of their parents and the PAS/PA theory of their alienation. Icelandic Psychological Association, Reykjavik.

2019                      Anxiety about Anxiety and Helpful Reactions. Keynote speaker at the conference Anxiety within the Society. University of Holar and University of Iceland.

2013 - present        Various lectures and presentations as a faculty member of Psychology Dpt. at University of Iceland.

Jan-Apr. 2011         Seminar on the Works of Psychologists in Child Custody and Visitation Litigations. GHB initiated and developed with two other psychologists this seminar held by the Society of Experts in Clinical Psychology at Borgartun 6, Reykjavik. GHB provided lectures on:

  • The Guidelines of the American Psychological Association.
  • Interviewing Adolescents.
  • Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ).
  • DSM-IV & ICD-10 Personality Questionnaire (DIP-Q).
  • Evaluation of Serious Accusations. Visitation Hindrances.
  • Evaluation of Serious Accusations. Abusers in Physical and Sexual Abuse.
  • Principles in custody Litigation. The Best Interest of Children and the Guidelines from American Psychological Association (APA).
  • Family Meditation.

December 2009          Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS): Wisdom or deception? Lecture for the Icelandic Feminist Society.

September 2009        Parental Alienation Syndrome in Custody and Visitation Litigation: Wisdom or deception? Lecture for the Icelandic Psychological Association and the Society of Experts in Clinical Psychology. Reykjavik.

February 2009            Positive Psychology: Using Ones Strengths and Virtues Through Economic Depression. Lecture for the Civilians Movement, Reykjavik.

1994 - 2009                Empowerment with Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Positive Psychology. Training of staff for companies and schools. 

2007                           Roles and Cooperation Between Psychologists and Chief Legislator Representatives in Mediation. Lecture at a conference of the Society of Chief Legislators. Rvk.

2007                           Reconciliation in Divorce and Custody Litigation. Lecture for the Society Responsible Fathers. Reykjavik.

2004                           Positive Psychology: Answer to Depression, Power for Public Health. Lecture for the Society of School Psychologists. Valhalla, Thingvellir.

2004                           Positive Psychology: Prevention of Depression. Lecture for public in series coordinated by the Society of Experts in Clinical Psychology. The first public talk on Positive Psychology in Iceland. Reykjavik.

1996 - 1998                Coordinated Sexual Assault Victim Intervention (SAVI) workshops for US Navy family advocacy. Also, conducted workshops in Stress ManagementAnger Management; and Couples Communication. Keflavik Airport.

1994 - 1998                 Power of Cognition. Seminars for public based on Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Reykjavik.

1996                           The Use of Psychological Tests for Parents and Children. Seminar of the Icelandic Psychological Association: The Role of Psychologists in Custody Litigation in Court. 

1994                           Children in Court. Lecture at a Conference of the Icelandic Child Protective Council; the Child Protective Committee of Hafnarfjordur Municipal, and the Continuing Education Center of University of Iceland. Reykjavik.

Attended Conferences & Seminars

March 2011                Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain. Patt Lind-Kyle, Ph. D., Kripalu Center, Massachusetts. 15 CE

Jan-apr. 2011             The Works of Psychologists in Custody and Visitation Litigations. Seminar of the Association of Clinical Psychologists. Borgartun 6, Reykjavik. 40 hrs.

October 2010              Mindfulness. Workshop. Icelandic Society of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Mosfellsbaer. 10 hrs.

April 2010                  Psychology Conference. Icelandic Psychological Association and the psychology division of the University of Iceland. University Square, Reykjavik. 6 hrs.

October 2009             Workshop in Positive PsychologyFostering meaning in life to support well-being: Using strengths for something greater. Michael Steger, Ph.D. Institute of public health, Reykjavik, 3 hrs.

August 2009               Positive Psychology. Robert Biswas-Diener and Dora Gudrun Gudmundsdottir. Reykjavik University, 12 hrs.

February 2008            The Peaceful Warrior Experience. Dan Millman, Stanford University Coach. Kripalu Center, Massachusetts. 20 hrs.

June 2006                    Constructing a New Self: A Cognitive Therapy Approach to Personality Disorders. Christine Padesky, Ph.D. Cognitive Workshops, London, UK. 16 hrs.

November 2004          WPPSI-R: The Icelandic Standardization. Einar Gudmundsson, Ph.D. Education Institute. Reykjavik. 5 hrs.

April 2004                  Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Supervision: Integrating Practical Skills with a Conceptual Framework. Mark Freeston, Ph.D. Cognitive-Behavior-Therapy Society. Reykjavik. 10 hrs.

September 2003          Ethics… Exploring Privacy and Confidentiality Gray Areas. American Psychological Association, Healthcare Training Institute. 6 hrs.

September 2003          XXXIII Annual Congress of the European Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Prague, Czech Republic.

  • Cognitive Therapy and Resilience. Christine Padesky, Ph.D. & Kathleen Money, Ph.D. 6 hrs.

  • Therapy for Psychosis and Substance Use Problems. Gillian Haddock, Christine Barrowclough. 3 hrs.

  • New Developments in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Anxiety Disorders. David Barlow. 3 hrs.

  • CBT for Children. Tammie Ronen. 3 hrs.

  • CT of Generalized Anxiety Disorders. Adrian Wells. 3 hrs.

  • Effective Clinical Supervision. Michael Townsend og Mark Freeston. 3 hrs.

August 2003               Couples in Distress: An Enhanced Cognitive-Behavioral Approach to Therapy. Dr. Donald H. Baucom. CBT Society. Reykjavik. 16 hrs.

June 2003                    PTSD of Sexual Abuse Victims: Theory of Dr. Peter Levine. Ariel Giarretto, MS, LMFT. Reykjavik. 10 hrs. 

June 2002                    Hypnosis in psychotherapy. Dr. Michael Yapko. Icelandic Society of Hypnosis. Reykjavik. 16 hrs.

August 2001               Treatment of Adolescent Sex Offenders. Richard Beckett, Ph.D. Reykjavik. 8 hrs.

Mars 2001                   CBT for Anxiety and Panic. Dr. Tom Tokarz. Reykjavik. 16 hrs.

October 2000              Finding Direction: Drugs, Causes and Consequences. Dr. Bertha K. Madras, et.al.  Iceland without drugs. Reykjavik. 16 hrs.

September 1999          Better, Deeper and More Enduring Brief Therapy. Albert Ellis, Ph.D. Reykjavik.  8 hrs.

September 1998          Hypnosis and Treatment of Depression. Michael Yapko, Ph.D. Reykjavik, 16 hrs.

October 1998              PTSD: Reaction to Groups. Drs. Mitchell, J.T., & Everly, G.S., Ph.D., Reykjavik, 16 hrs.

February 1997             PTSD: Reaction to Individuals. Dr. Everly, G.S., Reykjavik, 8 hrs.

December 1997           Children´s Advocacy Center for Victims of Sexual Abuse. Ellen T. Cokinos, Moreen O’Connell, & Dana Zakin, SW’s. Reykjavik, 6 hrs.

October 1997              Brain Damage from Accidents. Drs. Nils Varney, Robert N. Varney & Marc E. Hines. Reykjavik. 10 hrs.

July 1997                    Advanced Certificate Practicum.  Albert Ellis Institute. Albert Ellis, Ph.D. & staff, Seattle, Washington, 36 hrs.

September 1996          Spouse Abuse Treatment Training. Navy Family Advocacy Center, San Diego, California.  36 hrs.

July 1996                    Family Advocacy.  Bureau of Naval Personnel, Newport, Rhode Island. 20 hrs.

February 1996             REBT Primary Practicum.  Institute for Rational Emotive Therapy.  Albert Ellis, Ph.D. & staff. New York 24 hrs.

1995                            Develomental Problems of Children and Adolescents. National Center for Diagnosis. 6 hrs.

1995                            Ethical Rules. Icelandic Psychological Association and Institute of Continuous Education. 15 hrs.

1994                            Human Rights of Children. Childrens’ Welfare. 6 hrs.

1995                            Ethics in work with children. National Center for Diagnosis. 6 hrs. 

1994                            Children Today.  Börnesagens Fællesrad, Nyborg, Danmörk. 8 hrs.

  1. Addictive Personalities ad Excessive Behavior. Albert Ellis, Ph.D., Torrance, California. 5 hrs.

1986                            Positive Regard to Negative Conduct of Adolescents. State Treatment Center for Delinquent Adolescents (STCDA). Húgó Þórisson psychologist, 6 hrs.

1984-1985                   Advanced Training in Family Therapy. Håkon Öen, psychologist.  Reykjavik. 32 hrs.

1984                            Group therapy and Interaction with Adolescents Diagnosed with Emotional Problems and Conduct Disorder. STCDA. Roel Bowkamp, psychologist & Sonja Bowkamp, family therapist. Reykjavik. 32 hrs.               

Treatment Goals. STCDA. Sigtryggur Jónsson, psychologist, SW’s Maggý Magnúsdóttir & Steinunn Hjartardóttir.  Reykjavik. 8 hrs.

Psychiatric Disorders of Children and Adolescents; Mother-Child Relationships; and Borderline Cases. STCDA. Ingvar Kristjánsson, psychiatrist, & Hulda Guðmundsdóttir, SW. 8 hrs.

Youth Delinquency and the Icelandic Justice System. STCDA. Erlendur Baldursson criminologist. 4 hrs.

1984                            Children of Alcoholics. Hazelden. Carl Whitaker, M.D., family therapist, Thomas M. Guffin & Roy W. Pickens alcohol counsellors. Reykjavik. 6 hrs.

1982 - 1984                Couples- and Family Therapy Training. Håkon Øen psychologist. Sigrún Júlíusdóttir CSW, Ivan Boszorenyi-Nagy, M.D., Roel Bowkamp psychologist & Sonja Bowkamp family therapist. 480 practice and workshop hrs. and 126 hrs. supervision.  

1982                           Troubled Adolescents and Family Therapy. STCDA. Håkon Øen, psycholgist. 32 hrs.

1980                           The System and Goals of Education. STCDA. Kristján Sigurdsson, director. 40 hrs.

1981                           Alcoholism and its Impact on Individuals. STCDA. Þórarinn Tyrfingsson, M.D.  6 hrs.

1982                           Recreating the State Treatment Center for Delinquent Adolescents: Introduction to Family Therapy. Håkon Øen psychologist. 40 hrs.

1981                            Group Dynamic at STCDA. Gunnar Árnason, Jón Karlsson psychologists og Páll Eiríksson psychiatrist.  16 hrs.

1980                            Group Dynamics. STCDA. Psychologists Gunnar Árnason & Sigurður Ragnarsson.  24 hrs.

1980                            Long-term Environmental Treatment in an Adolescent Resident Home. Kristján Sigurðsson, director, & Erlendur Baldursson, criminologist.  8 hrs.

1979                            Group Dynamics. STCDA. Páll Eiríksson, psychiatrist.  32 hrs.

1979                            Adolescent Culture and Reqlity Therapy at STCDA. Gunnar Árnason og Jón Karlsson, psychologists.  24 hrs.


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