Amy Wachholtz head shot
Associate Professor • Program Director Clinical Health Psychology
Clinical Health Psychology

Mailing Address:
Department of Psychology 
Campus Box 173, PO Box 173364 
Denver, CO 80217-3364

Physical Location:
North Classroom Building
1200 Larimer Street
Room 5005E (5th floor)

Office Hours:
By Appointment

Expertise Areas:
I specialize in Clinical Health Psychology based in the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model with a particular interest in identifying ways to improve pain management including in palliative care, acute medical care, and comorbid pain and opioid addiction settings. I am also interested in the impact of psychopharmacology on the intertwined areas of pain, sleep, and mental health.

B.A. (Psychology) DePauw University
M.Div. (Theology) Boston University
Graduate Certificate (Bioethics) Boston Theological Institute-joint pgm Harvard University and Boston University
MA (Clinical Psychology) Bowling Green State University
PhD (Clinical Psychology) Bowling Green State University
Clinical Psychology Internship, Duke University Medical Center
Medical Psychology Fellowship, Duke University Medical Center
MS (Psychopharmacology) Fairleigh Dickenson University
Psychopharmacology Fellowship, University of Massachusetts Medical Center

Dr. Amy Wachholtz is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Colorado Denver. Dr. Wachholtz graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Boston University where she specialized in Bioethics. She the continued her education to earn her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Bowling Green State University where she had a dual specialization in Behavioral Medicine and Psychology of Religion. She completed her internship through fellowship training at Duke University where she focused on medical psychology and pain management.  She also completed a post-doctoral Master’s degree in Psychopharmacology.  Her primary research, teaching, and clinical interests focus on 1) bio-psycho-social-spiritual model of chronic pain disorders and 2) the complexities of treating of co-morbid pain and opioid addiction in both acute pain and chronic pain situations.  Her translational research ranges from human laboratory psycho-physiological assessments to developing and implementing empirically validated treatments.  She is NIH funded to study comorbid pain and opioid addiction and also has a number of smaller grants to improve multi-dimensional pain management in advanced cancer patients, to reduce burnout among health care workers, and assessment of cross-cultural concepts of health and well-being.  She enjoys teaching students about health psychology and links between biology and psychology across classroom, clinical, and research settings.

Peer-reviewed publications

*indicates trainee co-authorship

  1. *Bhattacharya, R, Shen, C., Wachholtz, A., Dwibedi, N., & Sambamthoori, U. (in press). Depression treatment decreases healthcare expenditures among working age patients with comorbid conditions and Type 2 diabetes mellitus along with newly-diagnosed depression.  BMC Psychology.
  2. Lee, J., Wachholtz, A., Bhromrick, A. (in press) Does Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use reduce negative life impact of headaches for chronic migraineurs? A national survey. Journal of Headache and Pain.  DOI: 10.1186/s40064-016-2362-7
  3. *Han, S., Kheder, J., Bocelli, L., Fahed, J., Wachholtz, A., Seward, G., & Wassef, W. (in press). Smoking Cessation in Chronic Pancreatitis Population. Pancreas.
  4. Park, C., Masters, K., Salsman, J., Wachholtz, A., Clements, A., Salmaego-Blotcher, E., Trevino, K., & Wischenka, D. (in press). Advancing our understanding of religion and spirituality in the context of behavioral medicine. Journal of Behavioral Medicine.10.1007/s10865-016-9755-5
  5. Wachholtz, A., Fitch, C., Makowski, S., Tjia, J. (in press). A comprehensive approach to the patient at end of life: Assessment of multidimensional suffering. Southern Medical Journal
  6. Lee, J., Kim, J.K., & Wachholtz, A. (2015). The benefit of HRV biofeedback and relaxation training in reduction of anxiety and pain among college students in South Korea. Korean Journal of Health Psychology, 20, 391-405.
  7. *Malone, C., Bhowmick, A., & Wachholtz, A., (2015) Migraine Treatments, Comorbidities, and Quality of Life: Migraine in the USA. Journal of Pain Research, 8, 537-547., PMID: 26316804.
  8. *Wachholtz, A., Malone, C. & Pargament, K. (2015). Effect of different meditation types on migraine headache medicine use. Behavioral Medicine  DOI: 10.1080/08964289.2015.1024601
  9. Fortuna, L R, Porche, MV, Wachholtz, A.B, Torres Stone, R. (2015). Religion and Spirituality as Protective Factors for Alcohol Use in a National Sample of Emerging Adults.  Religions, 6, 365-384. DOI: 10.3390/rel6020365,, PubMed PMID:4486303
  10. *Dharmawardene, M., Givens, J., Wachholtz, A., Makowski, S. Tjia, J. (2015). A Systematic Review of Mindfulness Interventions for Health Professionals and Informal Caregivers. British Medical Journal: Palliative Care. DOI: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2014-000819
  11. Dzeutter, J, Lyckx, K., & Wachholtz, A. (2015) Stability and Change of Meaning in Life – profiles in Chronic Pain Patients: Relationships with Pain Experience and Psychological Well-being. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38, 384-396. DOI: 10.1007/s10865-014-9614-1
  12. *Wachholtz, A., Foster, S, & Cheatle, M. (2015). Psycho-Physiology of pain and opioid use: Implications for managing pain in patients with an opioid use disorder. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.10.023. PubMed PMID: 25468815.
  13. *Han S, Kheder J, Fahed J, Bocelli L, Carrasquillo Y, Wachholtz A, & Wassef W. (2015). Quality of Life Comparison in Chronic Pancreatitis patients. Global Journal of Medical Research, 15, 15-19.  
  14. Wachholtz, A., & Gonzalez, G. (2014). Comorbid Opioid Addiction and Chronic Pain: Effect of long term opioid maintenance on acute pain. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 145, 143-149. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.10.010. PubMed PMID: 25456326. PMC: 4254606
  15. Lee, J., Wachholtz, A., & Choi, K-H. (2014). A Review of the Korean Culturally-Bound Disorder Hwa-Byung: Suggestions for Theory and Intervention. Journal of Asia Pacific Counseling (Asia Taepyongyang Sangdam Yongu), 4, 49-64. PubMed PMID: 25408922; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4232959.
  16. *Tonelli, M. & Wachholtz, A. (2014). Meditation-Based Treatment Yielding Immediate Relief for Meditation-Naïve Migraineurs. Pain Management Nursing, 15,36-40. PubMed PMID: 24602422; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4109722
  17. Dezutter, J., Casalin, S., Wachholtz, A., Luyckx, K., Hekking, J. & Vandewiele, W. (2013). Meaning in life: An important factor for the psychological well-being of chronically ill patients?  Rehabilitation Psychology, 58, 334-341. PubMed PMID: 24295525; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4113206
  18. Wachholtz, A.B. & Rogoff, M. (2013). The relationship between spirituality and burnout among medical students. Journal of Contemporary Medical Education, 1, 82-91. doi: 10.5455/jcme.20130104060612
  19. Wachholtz, A.B. (2012). Religious and spiritual coping in the midst of pain: Findings, reflections, and questions. Conference Proceedings of the 9th China Symposium of Social Scientific Study of Religion, 9, 29-39. Renmin University Press.
  20. *Dezutter, J., Wachholtz, A., & Corveleyn, J. (2012). Prayer and pain: The mediating role of positive re-appraisal. Journal of Behavioral Medicine,34 (6), 542-549. DOI: 10.1007/s10865-011-9348-2. PubMed PMID: 21516338 
  21. Rosmarin, D., Wachholtz, A., & Ai, A. (2012). Beyond descriptive research: advancing the study of spirituality. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 34(6), 409-413. DOI: 10.1007/s10865-011-9370-4. PubMed PMID: 21751040
  22. Wachholtz, A.B., Ziedonis, D. & Gonzalez, G, (2011). Co-Morbid Pain & Opioid Addiction: Psycho-social and Pharmacological Treatments. Substance Use and Misuse, 46, 1-17. DOI: 10.3109/10826084.2011.559606. PubMed PMID: 21756033
  23. Wachholtz, A.B., & Sambamthoori, U. (2011). Changes in prayer for coping with health concerns from 2002 to 2007: Findings from the National Health Interview Survey. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 3, 67-77.
  24. *Lysne, C. & Wachholtz, A. (2011). Pain, Spirituality, and Meaning Making: What Can We Learn from the Literature? Religions, 2, 1-16; doi:10.3390/rel2010001.
  25. Wachholtz, A.B., Binks, M., Suzuki, A., Kolotkin, R., & Eisenson, H. (2010). Does pain predict interference with activities of daily living in an obese residential treatment seeking population? International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 17 (2), 118-124. PubMed PMID: 20387027
  26. Wachholtz, A.B., Binks, M., Suzuki, A., & Eisenson, H. (2009). Sleep Disturbance and Pain in an Obese Residential Treatment Seeking Population.Clinical Journal of Pain, 25(7), 584-589. PubMed PMID: 19692799
  27. O’Connell-Edwards, C., Edwards, C.L., Pearce, M., Wachholtz, A.B., Wood., M., et al. (2009). Religious Coping and Pain Associated With Sickle Cell Disease: Exploration of a Non-linear Model. Journal of African American Studies, 13, 1-13.
  28. Wachholtz, A.B. & Pargament, K.I. (2008). Migraines and meditation: does spirituality matter? Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31, 355-361. PubMed PMID: 18551362
  29. Wachholtz, A.B., Pearce, M., & Koenig, H. (2007). Exploring the relationship between spirituality, coping, and pain: Past research and future directions. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 30, 311-318. PubMed PMID: 17541817
  30. Wachholtz, A.B. & Keefe, F.J. (2006). What physicians should know about spirituality and chronic pain. Southern Medical Journal, 99, 1174-1175. PubMed PMID: 17100061
  31. Mahoney, A., Carels, R.A., Pargament, K.I., Wachholtz, A.B., Edwards-Leeper, L., Kaplar, M., & Frutchey, R. (2005). The Sanctification of the Body and Behavioral Health Patterns of College Students. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion,15,221-238.
  32. Wachholtz, A.B. & Pargament, K. (2005). Is Spirituality a Critical Ingredient of Meditation? Comparing the Effects of Spiritual Meditation, Secular Meditation, and Relaxation on Spiritual, Psychological, Cardiac, and Pain Outcomes. Journal of Behavioral Medicine,28,,369-384. PubMed PMID: 16049627
  33. Kaplar, M., Wachholtz, A., & O’Brien, W. (2004). The impact of religious and spiritual variables on the psycho-social and biological health factors: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psycho-Social Oncology, 22, 39-49.
  34. Pargament, K.I., Tarakeshwar, N., McCarthy, S., Wachholtz, A., Shaw, P., Ano, G., Sirrine, N., Phillips, K., & Vasconcelles, E. (2004). From research to practice: Developing a group psychospiritual intervention for women facing HIV/AIDS. Southern Medical Journal, 97, 1201-1209. PubMed PMID: 15646758
  35. Wachholtz, A. (2000). Bioethics of xeno-transplantation: Three religious perspectives. Journal of Faith and Science Exchange Annual Review, 4, 317-326.

 Books/Stand alone

  1. PDQ Supportive and Palliative Care Editorial Board (contributing author; 2015). Pain (PDQ) Summary: Health Professional Version. NIH-PDQ Cancer Information Summaries, Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. PMID: 26389387.
  2. PDQ Supportive and Palliative Care Editorial Board (contributing author; 2015). Spirituality in Cancer (PDQ) Summary: Health Professional Version. NIH-PDQ Cancer Information Summaries, Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. PMID: 26389436.
  3. Hademenos, G., Campbell, C, Murphy, S. Wachholtz, A., Warner, J., Zahler, K, (2015, 2016, 2017) MCAT 2015 Behavioral and Social Sciences & Critical Analysis. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
  4. Hademenos, G., Campbell, C, Murphy, S. Wachholtz, A., Warner, J., Zahler, K, (2015, 2016, 2017) MCAT 2015 Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
  5. Hademenos, G., Campbell, C, Murphy, S. Wachholtz, A., Warner, J., Zahler, K, (2015, 2016, 2017) MCAT 2015 Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
  6. Hademenos, G., Campbell, C, Murphy, S. Wachholtz, A., Warner, J., Zahler, K, (2015, 2016, 2017) MCAT 2015: Two Full-Length Practice Tests . Boston: McGraw-Hill.
  7. Braissant, O; Wakamatsu, H. Kuo-Kang, Allegaert, K, Yonwimon, L., & Wachholtz, A.(Eds.) (2011). Recent Researches in Modern Medicine. Cambridge, UK: WSEAS Press.


  1. *Wachholtz, A. & Austin, E. (2013).  Meditation: Contemporary therapeutic practice. In K. Pargament (Ed.-in-Chief), J. Exline & J. Jones (Assoc. Eds.), APA handbooks in psychology: APA handbook of psychology, religion, and spirituality: Vol 1. (pp. 311-327). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  2. *Pargament, K.I., Falb, K., Ano, G., & Wachholtz, A.B. (2013). The religious dimensions of coping. In R. Paloutzian & C. Park (eds) The Handbook of the Psychology of Religion, 2nd edition. (pp. 560-580). New York: Guilford Press.
  3. Wachholtz, A. & Makowski, S. (2012). Pain vs. Suffering at the End of Life. In RJ Moore (ed)  Handbook of Pain and Palliative Care: Biobehavioral Approaches for the Life Course. (pp 697-713)  NY: Springer.
  4. Pearce, M.J. & Wachholtz, A. (2012). Temperance and Addiction. Religion, Spirituality, and Positive Psychology: Understanding the Psychological Fruits of Faith. (pp 195-212) West Port, CT: Prager/Greenwood Press.
  5. Wachholtz, A.B. & Pearce, M.J. (2010). Shaking the Blues Away: Energizing practices and the treatment of chronic pain. In T.G. Plante (ed): Contemplative Practices in Action: Spirituality, Meditation, and Health.(pp 205-224). Westport, CT: Praeger/Greenwood Publishers.

Invited Non-peer-reviewed publications

  1. Gonzalez, G., & Wachholtz, A. (2015). Medical Student Education in Pain Management, Safe Opioid Prescribing, Prevention and Screening: Initial review of potential competencies for teaching and assessment. Proposed Entrustable Professional Activities (EPSs) Medical Students.  White Paper, Governor’s Council on Medical Student Education.  Boston, MA.
  2. Sankaran, P., & Wachholtz, A. (August, 2015). Pain and the Opioid Addiction Crisis in MA. Simply Wellness Blog, UMass Medical Center.
  3. Jayatunge, R., & Wachholtz, A. (June 29, 2015). Meditation as a Treatment for Chronic Pain.
  4. Simha, N., Pulchalski, C., Wachholtz, A. (May 7, 2015). Spiritual Care in Palliative and End of Life Care. White Paper in Support of the World Health Organization (WHO) resolution on including spiritual care in palliative care, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  5. Wachholtz, A. & Park, C. (2012). The role of religion and spirituality across multiple dimensions of health. Society of Behavioral Medicine Outlook, SS12,1-2.
  6. Wachholtz, A.B., & Dorshimer-Chaplin, K. (2010). At the Bedside: Coping with Chronic Pain. Vision, 20 (1),18-20.
  7. Tweney, R.D., & Wachholtz, A.B. (2004). Wegner’s “Illusion” Anticipated: Jonathan Edwards on the Will. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27, 676.

Non-print materials

  1. Wachholtz, A. (2008). (1) Progressive Muscle Relaxation; (2) Sleep Imagery, (3) Pain Reduction. On M. Binks (ed) Guided Self-Awareness. (Audio CD and iTunes) Duke Diet and Fitness Center/Duke Medicine; Durham, NC.

Advanced Psychopathology
Health Psychology
Undergraduate Directed Research