Dr. Alissa Ellis at the beach sitting on the sand while using her mcbook.


Dr. Alissa Ellis is the founder and director of Ellis Effect psychological group and the creator of the thinkSMART® program, and an assistant health sciences clinical professor in UCLA’s department of psychiatry.  

my beginnings


Staring at a black line on the bottom of a pool for hours each day provides a lot of time to be in one’s thoughts. Realizing that these thoughts had significant power over her mood and anxiety was an insight gleaned through her personal experiences.  Dr. Ellis experienced her first episode of major depression at the age of 16; she learned about the recurrent nature of the disorder when it relapsed during her second year in college, and she practices the preventative strategies to manage her anxiety and depression as an adult.  Dr. Ellis’ experiences as a teenager inspired her to try to help others in similar situations, and she set her sights on a career in psychology.

“The ocean has a life of its own. Its tides, whirlpools, currents, and eddies are a testament to its emotions.”

-Anthony T. Hincks
Dr. Alissa Ellis is on the bridge at the beach 4.

We are the Ellis Effect. We are a team of elite scientist-practitioners leading cutting-edge research on brain science, affective processes, intervention, and family relationships.

The thinkSMART® Program, conducted at UCLA, is a group-based executive function educational training focused on teaching use of concrete behavioral strategies to individuals with weaknesses in areas of organization, time management, task initiation/completion, and planning.

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.