Donald D Dirks, Ph.D.


Member, Head and Neck Surgery

Emeritus Member, Brain Research Institute

Professor Emeritus, Surgery

Contact Information

Work Phone Number: 310-825-6147


Clinical Interests: Individual and family psychological care for patients to speed recovery from surgery and facilitate adjustment to medical illness; issues of death and dying; medical hypnosis; psychoneuroimmunology. Research Interests: Identifying patient risk factors for increased utilization of medical services and providing behavioral interventions to manage these risks and offset medical costs by improving quality of life. Dr. Dafter is the Associate Director of the Mind-Body Medicine Group within the division. He has worked closely with Dr. David Rapkin to implement the PsychPrep and PsychCare programs for providing brief and in-depth pre-operative assessment and treatment to head and neck surgery patients including hospital follow-up and post-discharge care. He consults with hospital staff about patient management and provides clinical interventions to individuals, couples, and families to improve their capacity to adapt to illness while reducing risks for medical utilization. He utilizes a wide range of biobehavioral approaches including medical hypnosis, cognitive- behavioral techniques, guided imagery, depth psychotherapy, and meditation. He provides clinical training of psychological interns as well as surgical residents in psychological aspects of recovering from surgery and acute medical illness. He is a core member of the committee developing a post-doctoral psychology training program in mind-body medicine within UCLA Medical Center.