Bruce Bongar, PhD, ABPP, FAPM

Bruce Bongar
Email Address: 
Phone Number: 

(650) 433-3837 


Calvin Professor of Psychology

Faculty Program(s): 


Teaching and/or Research Emphasis and Interest Areas: 

Suicide and Self Destructive Behaviors, Clinical and Legal Standards of Care, Emergency and Disaster Psychology, and the Psychology of Suicide Terrorism.

Research Lab:

Clinical Crises and Emergencies Reseach Laboratory


Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Southern California (1977)

B.A., Psychology (with Distinction), University of Wisconsin


Dr. Bruce Bongar, Ph.D., ABPP, FAPM, received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and served his internship in clinical community psychology with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. For over 25 years, Dr. Bongar maintained a small practice specializing in psychotherapy, consultation and supervision in working with the difficult and life-threatening patient.

Past clinical appointments include service as a senior clinical psychologist with the Division of Psychiatry, Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, and work as a clinical/community mental health psychologist on the psychiatric emergency team of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

Dr. Bongar is past president of the Section on Clinical Crises and Emergencies of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association, a diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology, a fellow of the Divisions of Clinical Psychology (Div 12), Psychology and the Law (Div 41), and Psychotherapy (Div 29) of the American Psychological Association, a fellow of the American Psychological Society and of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, and a chartered psychologist of the British Psychological Society.

Dr. Bongar has also been a winner of the Edwin Shneidman Award from the American Association of Suicidology for outstanding early career contributions to suicide research, and the Louis I. Dublin award for lifetime achievement in research on suicidology. In 2008, he was awarded the Florence Halpern award by the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association for distinguished contributions to the practice of clinical psychology.

Since 2001, he has also become interested in the psychology of mass casualty events and suicide terrorism. From 2002-2005, he was the founding director of the National Center on Psychology of Terrorism.

His research and published work reflects his long-standing interest in the wide-ranging complexities of therapeutic interventions with difficult patients in general, and in suicide and life-threatening behaviors in particular.

Websites and Other Relevant Links: 
Selected Publications: 

Selected Books:

Brown, L. M., Frahm, K. A., & Bongar, B. (2013). Crisis intervention. In G. Stricker, T. A. Widiger, I. B. Weiner (Eds.) , Handbook of psychology, Vol. 8: Clinical psychology (2nd ed.) (pp. 408-430). Hoboken, NJ US: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Bongar, B.,& Sullivan, G. R. (2013). Treating and managing care of the suicidal patient. In G. P. Koocher, J. C. Norcross, B. A. Greene (Eds.) , Psychologists' desk reference (3rd ed.) (pp. 185-190). New York, NY US: Oxford University Press.

Bongar, B.,& Sullivan, G. R. (2013). The suicidal patient: Clinical and legal standards of care (3rd ed.). Washington, DC US: American Psychological Association.

Bongar, B.,Brown, L. M., Beutler, L. E.,  Breckenridge, J. N., & Zimbardo, P. G. (2006). Psychology of Terrorism. New York, NY US: Oxford University Press.

Beutler, L. E., Clarkin, J., & Bongar, B. (2000). Guidelines for the Systematic Treatment of the Depressed Patient. New York, NY US: Oxford University Press.

Bongar, B.& Beutler, L.E. (1995). Comprehensive Textbook of Psychotherapy: Theory and Practice. New York, NY US: Oxford University Press.  

Selected Articles:  

Wood, S. E., Packman, W., Howell, S., & Bongar, B. (2014). A Failure to Implement: Analyzing State Responses to the Supreme Court's Directives in Atkins v. Virginia and Suggestions for a National Standard.Psychiatry, Psychology & Law21(1), 16-45.

Chu, J., Floyd, R., Diep, H., Pardo, S., Goldblum, P., & Bongar, B. (2013). A tool for the culturally competent assessment of suicide: the Cultural Assessment of Risk for Suicide (CARS) measure. Psychological Assessment25(2), 424-434.

Chu, J., Floyd, R., Diep, H., Pardo, S., Goldblum, P., & Bongar, B. (2013). Cultural Assessment of Risk for Suicide Measure.

Testa, R. J., Sciacca, L. M., Wang, F., Hendricks, M. L., Goldblum, P., Bradford, J., & Bongar, B. (2012). Effects of Violence on Transgender People. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice43(5), 452-459.

Kleespies, P., Van Orden, K., Bongar, B., Bridgeman, D., Bufka, L., Galper, D., & ... Yufit, R. (2011). Psychologist suicide: Incidence, impact, and suggestions for prevention, intervention, and postvention.Professional Psychology, Research And Practice42(3), 244-251.

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