Holly Matto, PhD, LCSW-C

Holly Matto
Titles and Organizations

Professor, Social Work

Contact Information

Email: hmatto@gmu.edu
Phone: 703-993-6107
Building: Peterson Hall
Room 3608, MSN: 1F*
Phone: (703) 993-6107


Holly Matto, PhD, LCSW-C is a Professor in the Department of Social Work in the College of Public Health at Mason. Dr. Matto values interdisciplinary collaborations and has established research relationships with colleagues in social work, bioengineering, mathematics, visual and performing arts and others at Mason that have resulted in grant-funded projects. Over the past several years, she has been working with colleagues to develop interventions that help patients monitor their biobehavioral state and deliver personalized patient-specific self-regulation strategies. Specifically, her work examines how change in visual sensory input can be used to regulate autonomic nervous system activity. Currently, Dr. Matto is leading a team of researchers to examine the use of Virtual Reality (VR) simulations to build recovery-regulating interventions that minimize craving urges by modulating neurophysiological response to drug triggers (NIH STTR Grant 1 R41 DA 50225-01). In addition, she is currently a core faculty member of the Center for Adaptive Systems of Brain-Body Interactions (CASBBI) at Mason (https://casbbi.gmu.edu/people and is a faculty member with CASBBI’s NSF NRT where she mentors interdisciplinary graduate students in the program on their community-engaged research projects. 


Research Interests

  • Biobehavioral Health Wearables
  • Intervention Research
  • Clinical Trials
  • Substance Abuse
  • Creative Arts for Social Work Practice
  • Neuroscience 
  • Community Health

Recent Publications

Matto, H. C., Seshaiyer, P., Carmack, S., Peixoto, N, & Scherbel, M. (2021).  When triggers become tigers: Taming the Autonomic Nervous System via sensory support system modulation. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions (in press).

Matto, H. C., & Sullivan, K. (2021). Ashes2Art: Mitigation strategies for short-and long-term distress in emergency services personnel during COVID-19, Clinical Social Work Journal. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10615-021-00797-w

Matto Holly, Ihara Emily, Tompkins Catherine, Kathryn McNeil, Adriana Lopez-Piper,Maxine Eber, Dhokai Niyati, Davis Rick, Cortes Nelson, Caswell, Shane V, Coogan Sarah, Fauntroy Victoria N, Elizabeth Glass, Gwen Baraniecki Zwil, & Ambegaonkar Jatin. (2021). A Novel Participant-Empowered Pedagogical Approach to Engage and Retain Control Group Participants in Arts-based Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs). Families in Society, https://doi.org/10.1177/1044389421997356

Matto, H.C., Seshaiyer, P., Newcomb, A., Rothberg, S., & Lopez-Piper, A.  (2019). A novel mobile biobehavioral regulation system for personalized trauma recovery support. Patient Experience Journal, 6(2). Special Issue July:  the role of technology and innovation in patient experience. (in press).

Newcomb, A., Moore, L.G., & Matto, H. C. (2018). Family-centered caregiving from hospital to home: Coping with trauma and building capacity with the HOPE for families model. Patient Experience Journal, 5(1).

Matto, H. C., & Seshaiyer, P.  (2018). Harnessing the Power of the Recovering Brain to Promote Recovery Commitment and Reduce Relapse Risk. Social Work in Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 9(2), 341-358

Gibson, S., Matto, H. C., & DeMonte, A. (2017). Should they stay or should they go? Greek housing and college campuses. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, (published online January 18, 2017).

Matto, H. C., & Cleaveland, C. (2016). Using a Social-spatial Lens to Understand the Impact of Poverty on Trauma and Addiction Recovery Trajectories. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions: Special Issue: Substance Use & Violence, 16(1-2), 7-23.

Matto, H. C., Tompkins, C. J., Ihara, E. S., Inoue, M., & Byrd, A. (2015). Results from a Music, Imagery, and Movement (MiM) Treatment Intervention in a Long-Term Care Facility. Families in Society, 96(4), 277-283.

Matto, H. C. (2015). Bioehavioral Response Redirection: Innovations to Activate Personalized Recovery Cues and Decrease Relapse Risk. End Note: Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 15, 450-453.

Spera, C., & Matto, H. C., & Travis, W. (2015). Research Note: Satisfaction with Air Force Way of Life: Pre- and post-9/11. Armed Forces & Society, 41(4), 734-741.

Matto, H. C., Hadjiyane, M. C., Kost, M., Marshall, J. K, Wiley, J., Strolin-Goltzman, J., Khatiwada, M., & VanMeter, J. W. (2014). fMRI clinical trial of a dual – processing treatment protocol for substance-dependent adults. Research on Social Work Practice, 24(6), 659-669.

Matto, H. C, Strolin-Goltzman, J., Hadjiyane, M., VanMeter, J., Kost, M., Marshall, J. K, & Wiley, J. (2013). Clinical trial of an innovative dual-processing group therapy relapse prevention protocol conducted in a community-based setting. Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 8(4), 240-261.

Matto, H. C., Strolin-Goltzman, J., & Mogro-Wilson, C. (2010). Dual Processing Treatment Modality: An innovative treatment to decrease physiological craving in substance abusers. Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 5(2), 113-123.

Matto, H. C., & Strolin-Goltzman, J. (2010). Integrating social neuroscience and social work: Innovations for advancing practice-based research. Social Work, 55(2), 147-156.

Spera, C., Wentzel, K., & Matto, H. C. (2009). Parental aspirations for their children’s educational attainment: Relations to ethnicity, parental education, children’s academic performance, and parental perceptions of school climate. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38, 1140-1152.


Honors and Awards


  • Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), 2017, Society for Social Work and Research



  • PhD, Social Work, University of Maryland
  • MSW, Interpersonal Practice, University of Michigan
  • BFA, Art Therapy, Ohio University