When East Meets West is a podcast that presents current attitudes and methods in psychology that weave eastern spiritual practices with western behavioral science. Dr. Pete and Dr. Rubin are licensed psychologists and old friends who share a passion for mindfulness and modern behaviorism. Despite their coastal cultural differences (Dr. Rubin was born and raised in Los Angeles, and Dr. Pete was born and raised in New York and New Jersey), their clinical approaches meet on common ground that brings fresh perspectives to psychological topics. Dr. Pete has studied Zen Buddhism under Robert Kennedy Roshi for more than 10 years, and Dr. Rubin is a long-time dedicated yogi and mindfulness practitioner. Individually, they provide cognitive behavioral therapies in their clinical practices to a wide range of patients on their respective coasts. Together, they present mindfulness-based concepts and evidence-based behavioral tools that can help listeners begin to integrate eastern wisdom and western behavior change in their own lives.


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Dr. Peter J. Economou, Ph.D.

When East Meets West Dr Peter Peter J. Economou, Ph.D., ABPP earned a Ph.D. in counseling psychology and is Board Certified in Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Dr. Pete completed his internship training to earn his Ph.D. in 2011 and completed post-doctorate clinical training in neuropsychology and sports psychology while joining the faculty at Felician University. Dr. Pete joined the esteemed faculty at Rutgers University- Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) as the Director of the MAP program and Associate Professor. Dr. Pete has completed various international relief projects, which included working with children and adults with developmental disabilities in the Caribbean, and individuals with HIV and AIDS throughout Africa. Studying at Seton Hall University, Dr. Pete was conferred a B.S. in Biology, studied Neuroscience at the graduate level, and was conferred a M.A. and an Ed.S. in counseling and psychological studies and mental health counseling.

Dr. Pete is licensed by the state of New Jersey to practice psychology and as a Professional Counselor (LPC), and in New York as a psychologist. He approaches therapy from a cognitive orientation, primarily of Beckian Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). He creates an open dialogue about treatment techniques and goals are set and evaluated monthly. It is his belief that many of our concerns are routed in learned experiences and we can train our minds to function at the optimal envisioned level. Dr. Pete has also studied eastern philosophy including Buddhism and Yoga which lead to his interest in the third wave cognitive and behavioral therapies. There are several techniques including advanced training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

Dr. Pete has trained at a variety of mental health settings treating individuals across the life span, and has always focused on cognitive and behavioral therapies. His training included working with elite (e.g., university) and professional (e.g., NFL, MLS and NHL) athletes, methadone and other substance abuse clinics, family treatment centers, university counseling and disability support services, hospital settings including neuropsychology assessment and intensive outpatient services, assisted living facilities, private practice, and a summer camp for students with developmental disabilities. Dr. Pete offers interdisciplinary treatment including referrals to psychiatrists, physicians, nutritionists, physical trainers, nurses, social workers, and other professionals that can assist an individual to achieve the stated goals. Lastly, Dr. Pete has completed myriad of research projects where he has presented at national and international conferences. His research interests vary including studies investigating the impact of stress and trauma on learning, memory, and executive functioning, the varying romantic relationship models and differences between the heterosexual and homosexual populations, gender, and the affects of heterosexism and stress on sexual minorities. Dr. Pete is an active member of several professional organizations.

Dr. Pete is the author of Mindfulness Workbook for Beginners:
Exercises and Meditations to Relieve Stress, Find Joy and Cultivate Gratitude.
Unlock the benefits of a mindfulness practice with simple exercises and meditations

Mindfulness can help us stay present and cultivate greater positivity, compassion, gratitude, and calm. Begin your own mindfulness practice with help from the Mindfulness Workbook for Beginners, filled with specific guidance, step-by-step meditations, and easy activities for newcomers.

Explore topics like focusing on the present moment, setting intentions, and spending time with your thoughts and feelings. Then, dive deeper by learning how to practice gratitude, create space for joy, embrace your emotions, and feel compassion and empathy toward yourself and others.

Dr. Nikki Rubin, Psy.D.

When East Meets West Dr Nikki

Nikki Rubin, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist (CA PSY30047; NY 019595) specializing in evidence-based therapies. She received her Bachelor of Arts from UCSD in Literature/Writing, where she also completed Minors in Human Development and Spanish Literature. Dr. Rubin earned both a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) from Pepperdine University's APA accredited Graduate School of Education and Psychology. During this time she began her training in 3rd wave CBT at Harbor-UCLA's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Clinic in Torrance, California. She completed an APA accredited internship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers University) in Newark, New Jersey where she provided 3rd wave CBT to patients in the university hospital as well as to inmates in Northern State Prison. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in CBT at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York, New York where she was subsequently hired as a senior staff psychologist, and served as the Co-Director of Clinical Training. Dr. Rubin began her own private practice in Manhattan in 2014 as part of a small community of clinicians in New York who specialize in 3rd wave CBT. She returned to her hometown of Los Angeles in 2018 to continue her work in providing high quality evidence-based psychological treatments for adolescents and adults.

Dr. Rubin is a full member of the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS), and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). Dr. Rubin currently serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor within UCLA's clinical psychology Ph.D. program where she trains students in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). She previously served as an Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Clinical Supervisor/Visiting Scholar at Columbia University’s Teachers College where she helped increase interest and training in 3rd wave CBT in the historically psychoanalytically focused clinical doctoral program. She also previously worked as an Adjunct Professor of Psychology providing instruction in 3rd wave CBT in the Psy.D. program at Yeshiva University's Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology.