Catherine R. Ayers , PhD, ABPP
Assistant Professor, UCSD
Program Director, Anxiety Disorders Clinic, VA San Diego Healthcare System
3350 La Jolla Village Dr., 116B
San Diego, California 92161
(858) 552-8585 ext. 2976
(858) 220-4041


Catherine R. Ayers, Ph.D., ABPP obtained her Bachelors of Science from Cornell University in Human Development with a concentration in gerotonology. Dr. Ayers received her doctorate of philosophy in clinical psychology from George Mason University (GMU; APA accredited). She completed an APA accredited internship at University of Maryland/VA Maryland Healthcare System and fellowship at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Department of Geriatric Psychiatry/VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS). She is now the Program Director of the VASDHS Anxiety Disorders Clinic, Assistant Professor in the UCSD Department of Psychiatry, Co-Director of the VASDHS/UCSD Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Residency Evidence Based Psychotherapy Track, and faculty member in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology.
Supervision and Clinical Focus

Dr. Ayers is licensed by the state of California with clinical privileges at the VASDHS. She is board certified in clinical psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. Her area of clinical specialization is in the treatment of anxiety disorders, particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder and hoarding. Dr. Ayers is the Program Director of the VASDHS Anxiety Disorders Clinic where she oversees the clinic and supervises residents, practicum students, interns, and postdoctoral fellows. As Co-Director of the Evidence Based Psychotherapy Fellowship, she provides mentorship fellows. Additionally, Dr. Ayers serves as a guest lecturer in the UCSD OCD Clinic.

Research Focus 

Dr. Ayers investigates treatment outcome for anxiety disorders, particularly geriatric hoarding. Additionally, she is interested in the neuropsychiatric characterization of late life hoarding. Her research on psychotherapy for hoarding has been funded by the International OCD Foundation (PI). She recently received a Career Development Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs entitled “Treatment of Late Life Hoarding” (PI). Dr. Ayers has 6 active investigations at the VA and UCSD.

Select Service Positions
Dr. Ayers’ current service roles include; Co-Chair of the VASDHS Outpatient Mental Health Workgroup, Founding Member/Advisee San Diego Hoarding Collaborative, Oral Examiner for the American Board of Professional Psychology, Reviewer for the VASDHS Psychology Department Professional Standards Board, and VASDHS Clinical Champion Mental Health Suite VISN Representative.

Selected Publications

Ayers, C.R., Saxena, S., Golshan, S., & Wetherell, J. L, (2010). Age at onset and clinical features of late life compulsive hoarding. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2, 142-149.

Wetherell, J.L., Ayers, C. R., Nuevo, R., Stein, M., Jeste, D.V., & Patterson, T. Medical conditions and depressive, anxiety, and somatic symptoms in older adults with and without generalized anxiety disorder. Aging and Mental Health, 14, 764-768 

Ayers, C.R., Putska, D., Liu, L., Patterson, T.L., & Wetherell, J.L. (2010). Negative life events and avoidant coping are associated with poorer long-term outcome in older adults treated for generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 1, 146-154.

Saxena, S., Ayers, C.R., Maidment, K.M. Vapnik, T., Wetherell, J.L., & Bystritsky, A. (2011). Quality of life and functional impairment in compulsive hoarding. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45, 475-480.

Ayers, C.R. & Espejo, E. (2011). Helping patients with compulsive hoarding. Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management, 18, 326-333.

Ayers, C.R., Wetherell, J.W., Golshan, S., & Saxena, S. (2011). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for geriatric compulsive hoarding. Behavior Research and Therapy, 49, 689-94



University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, 9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0603 La Jolla, CA 92037-0603
Telephone: (858) 534-3684, Fax: (858) 534-7653, Electronic Mail: