SPR Newsletter March 2016

SPR Society for Psychotherapy Research

J. Christopher Perry: President’s message

It has been several weeks since being back from the Winter Meeting of the Executive Committee.  We met at the historic YMCA in West Jerusalem, where the June Annual Meeting will be held.  Before I tell you more, I want to convey two statements endorsed by all of the members of the Executive Committee pertaining to issues of safety for the meeting and politics of meeting in Jerusalem.

Message on safety

Some members have conveyed concerns as to whether meeting in Jerusalem will be safe, given the ongoing political unrest.  In particular news items have been carried around the world reporting on attacks on individuals in East Jerusalem and nearby Westbank.  Although they are uncommon, they clearly reflect serious tensions between Israeli and Palestinian individuals and respective societies. However, Gary Diamond, chairman of the Host Committee reminded us that the rate of violent crimes in Jerusalem is 1/66th of that in New York City.  
The members of the Executive Committee preceded the meeting with a motor and walking tour of several areas of Jerusalem, including the old walled city, guided by our own Gaby Shefler of Hebrew University. We then had a lecture by an anthropologist- scholar who reviewed the 3000 years’ history of Jerusalem up to the present. This includes a long history of occupations, and different ethnic and religious groups sharing the same city. Over the course of the meeting, we visited sites in the area, as well, including walking at night to and from restaurants in the area.  At the conclusion of the meeting we reviewed everything we knew and experienced during our stay.  Most of us agreed that we felt safe and comfortable, while some pointed out that, like in other major cities, they might not feel comfortable walking alone at night or far from the YMCA. I personally spent an extra day walking around the areas of the YMCA, the old walled city, and an hour getting lost looking for a particular Cathedral a mile outside the old walled city.  I experienced what I would call normal pedestrian life, seeing people of all manner of dress, mothers with baby carriages, unaccompanied children and elderly, in short, all the signs of many individuals who seemed quite at ease in everyday life.  
The EC agrees that each of you planning to attend in June should check with your own country’s department of state (foreign office, etc.) for travel advisories, and make your own determination in regard to your safety.  However, having said that, we personally feel safe, and would only suggest that individuals use the same caution that they would visiting any other unfamiliar city. Of course if there are any further developments, we will communicate them to you.

Politics and the Choice to Meet in Jerusalem

SPR has received letters from some individuals outside of our organization questioning whether we should hold our annual meeting in Jerusalem.  While the points offered against meeting in Jerusalem vary, the overarching theme is as follows.  The writers believe that the Israeli-Palestinian problems are largely due to oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli government, and that to meet in Israel is in fact to condone such oppression, or to seem to condone it.  The Executive Committee discussed this over many emails prior to the meeting and at several points during and at the end of the meeting and arrived at the following position.
We are a scientific organization which supports research on psychotherapy by colleagues around the world. We meet in different countries and regions to promote the opportunity to exchange ideas widely with members, some of whom may not always be able to attend far away meetings.  Every country and society has a need to improve the effectiveness and delivery of psychotherapy which addresses major concerns of public health.  Psychotherapy is based on open dialogue, and like psychotherapy itself, providing a forum for open dialogue is SPR’s best contribution to issues that both Israeli and Palestinian colleagues and others may share.  We therefore fully support having our meeting in Jerusalem.

Update your passport and obtain any necessary visa

George Silberschatz reminded me that this is a great time to check when your passport expires.  Generally when you travel, your passport should have at least 6 months remaining on it before expiration, or you can be refused entry into a country.  Paradoxically, when I returned from the EC meeting, a guy got on my shuttle back to the parking lot who this happened to.  He flew to Switzerland for a vacation and was refused entry and had to return immediately, because he had only 2 months remaining before his passport expired.  This is a real issue, so renew now.
Similarly, if Israel requires a visa to enter from your country of origin, now is the time to take the steps necessary.  Gary Diamond can help if any additional documentation is required from the Host Committee (see his article in this newsletter).

The Executive Committee Meeting

We began the EC meeting with an awe-inspiring tour of Jerusalem, guided by SPR’s own Gaby Shefler of Hebrew University as our guide.  The EC then met for two days, January 29-30.   Before going further, let me say that the YMCA will be a terrific venue for our upcoming June meeting.
Marna Barrett joined us as the Executive Officer in-waiting, ensuring a smooth transition when Tracy Eells turns over his bank accounts, spreadsheets (and any unpaid bills) when he steps down after the June meeting.  Here are some of the other events and decisions.
Plans for future meetings are looking good, with Toronto in 2017, and Amsterdam in 2018.  I’m pleased to announce that Andres Roussos has agreed to chair the Host Committee for the 2019 meeting to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  This should be terrific opportunity for a great turnout from our growing Latin American chapter.
Chris Muran presented a varied and interesting program – see his newsletter contribution – and we are hoping for attendance to surprise us on the upside.  The Host Committee is also making concerted efforts to invite and facilitate the attendance and presentations by Palestinian colleagues. This is something we haven’t experienced at other meetings which I am looking forward to.
We reviewed the small grants awards program and everyone agreed that it is valuable, especially those who are just beginning to build their curriculum vitae. We also agreed that we need a new, larger award size, up to 5,000 USD, for collaborative projects across more than one site.  The challenge now for SPR is to increase the total budget for the awards program.
We have decided to examine our various travel awards, as all agree some review is warranted.  We also agree that we would like to see more of awards, which any growth in SPR’s income might allow.
Speaking of growth, we now have an Investment Committee (IC) to manage a portion of SPR’s capital, with the aim of increasing the rate of return on money currently sitting in the bank.  Investing entails both risks and rewards.  Although there may be years with low or even negative returns, over the long-term investing should result in growth of these funds, which can in turn provide for an increase in expenditures for SPR programs. As approved by the Executive Committee, the Committee consists of three people: The Executive Officer, myself, and Paul-Crits-Christoph.  The IC will report to the EC regularly.
Friday at 4 PM of the meeting, the EC had a surprise pleasure.  For our afternoon break we accompanied Gaby Shefler up the tower at the YMCA to its Carrillon.  Gaby is an accomplished musician and he played his Friday afternoon concert with us in tow. Bells rang out across Jerusalem for Jeanne Watson, as Gaby played Happy Birthday in her honor.  As we listened intently (they are quite loud up close), we also snapped some pictures of Jerusalem from the tower’s observation deck, a very surreal experience. Why am I telling you this?  You will get to hear Gaby yourself on the Friday of the annual meeting, so don’t miss this special pleasure.
Let me end by repeating a request I made in the previous newsletter.  We are reorganizing the Webinar function by having the Webinars run under the aegis of the Communications Committee, chaired by Tali Boritz.  The chair of the Webinar subcommittee will be in charge of finding topics/presenters for the Webinars and participate as a member of the Communications Committee, drawing any additional help and expertise from the committee as needed.  We need a regular or student SPR member to volunteer to chair the Webinar Subcommittee.  
If you are interested, or would like to suggest someone, please email me: jchristopher.perry@mcgill.ca.  

Thank you and happy planning for the June meeting.


J. Christopher Muran: Program Committee Report

On behalf of the program committee, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all of you who submitted papers, posters, discussions and panels for the international SPR conference to be held in Jerusalem, June 22-25, 2016.  We were thoroughly impressed by your responsiveness to our call & believe that we have a program that reflects the scholarly legacy of our organization as well as the historical ambition of our venue: That is, a place whose atmosphere is peace where [prejudices and] jealousies can be forgotten and international unity [and community] can be fostered and developed.  We received more than 300 proposals and over 450 people have indicated their intention to attend, with representation from 34 countries across six continents.

The theme of our meeting in Jerusalem, Israel is "Spinning Threads for the Fabric of SPR". The Program Committee encouraged proposals that spin the following threads that have long been of interest to the SPR community: evidence-based psychotherapies, psychotherapy integration, mindfulness-based intervention, alliance & interpersonal process, practice-training-research networks, attachment & development, child & family, culture & identity, and quantitative & qualitative method.

The aim of the conference is two-fold: To refine our understanding of each thread and to introduce the regional community to our fabric.  Each thread will be launched by a pre-conference workshop or semi-plenary and then developed through the program with invited presentations & dialogues.  Our program committee was organized into teams of experts who coordinated the programming of these threads.  We have papers, panels, discussions, and posters from a broad spectrum of clinical researchers representing diverse orientations, methodologies, and cultures to contribute to the refinement of these threads and to the strengthening of our fabric.

Program Structure: Our host site is the Jerusalem International YMCA, an historic institution that has served the city for 133 years and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 in recognition of its efforts to promote unity among the diverse communities of Jerusalem. The program begins on Wednesday, June 22, with 14 pre-conference workshops scheduled in morning (9AM-12PM) and afternoon (2PM-5PM) blocks, followed at 6PM by the official opening ceremony. The evening program will include the Presidential Address, awards ceremony, and a reception.

Thursday and Friday mornings will open at 9AM with semi-plenary sessions covering eight conference threads. Thursday sessions will present alliance & interpersonal process, child & family, practice-training-research networks, and psychotherapy integration, while Friday semi-plenaries will address the topics of attachment & development, evidence-based psychotherapies, mindfulness-based interventions, and culture & identity.

In devising the program schedule we sought to distribute presentations relating to each of the conference threads to maximize opportunities for participants to connect with researchers working in their areas of interests as well as to identify new potential for connection and collaboration. Our semi-plenaries set the context for nearly 100 panels, 12 structured discussions, and 19 brief paper sessions comprised of more than 90 individual papers, representing the diverse breadth of clinical research conducted by our members and guest scholars. In addition, evening poster sessions on Thursday and Friday will introduce more than 80 projects to SPR’s international research community.

Participants are encouraged to visit SPR Chapter meetings on Thursday from 1-2PM to become acquainted with their fellow regional members and activities. The General Membership meeting will be 1-2PM Friday. Special Interest Groups also will have the opportunity to meet at appointed sessions throughout the program.  Finally, opportunities for mentoring will be provided for during the Sat lunch period 12-1PM.

The banquet and closing reception on Saturday evening, at the Jerusalem International YMCA, is a delightful opportunity to reflect on the previous days’ experiences while relaxing with old and new colleagues alike.  It will be a Bedouin Feast!

Registration: Access to the conference registration portal is available at www.psychotherapyresearch.org or the conference website at http://www.sprconference.com. Registration opened on Feb 22nd. Registrants will be eligible for early bird rates until Apr 1st.

Program Planning Committee:
  Chris Muran (Program Chair), Gary Diamond (Local Host), Lauren Knopf (Program Coordinator), Ulrike Dinger, Louis Castonguay, Kim de Jong, Catherine Eubanks, Christoph Flückiger, Miguel Gonçalves, Rhonda Goldman, Betty Gomez, Jeff Hayes, Jonathan Huppert, Laurie Heatherington, Mariane Krause, Shigeru Iwakabe, Ken Levy, Wolfgang Lutz, Paulo Machado, Shelley McMain, Nick Midgley, Sarah Peter, Gaby Shefler, Orya Tishby, Hadas Wiseman, Sigal Zilcha-Mano.


Gary Diamond: Host committee: Details on Hotels and other Travel information

Dear Membership,
While for some of you the weather may still be cold, and the summer still feels far off, here in Israel the al-mond trees are already in full bloom and we are preparing for your arrival! The June conference is less than 120 days away (but who is counting?).

As you can see on the conference webpage (www.sprconference.com), we have listed a number of lodging options, day tours and sights to see in Jerusalem. Here are some recommendations for restaurants to whet your appetites:

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Jeff Hayes and Wolfgang Lutz: Change in Editor, Psychotherapy Research

As Psychotherapy Research enters its second quarter-century of publication, the journal’s editorial team is undergoing a transition, and we wanted to take this opportunity to share some thoughts with our fellow SPR members. First, we would like to express our gratitude to Chris Muran for his devotion to the journal as co-editor for the past six years.  Chris has thoughtfully guided Psychotherapy Research with a remarkable mix of wisdom, diplomacy, humor, skill, and determination, and the society is indebted to him for his efforts.  Fortunately, SPR will continue to benefit from Chris’ leadership in his capacity on the Executive Council as President-elect.  We also would like to thank an extraordinarily gifted and devoted team of associate editors, each of whom has served the journal for several years: Scott Baldwin, Miguel Goncalves, Martin Grosse Holtforth, Christoph Flückiger, and Shelly McMain.  We are delighted that Christoph will continue as an associate editor, and we are equally happy to announce that the new associate editors are Lynne Knobloch-Fedders, Heidi Levitt, and Andrew Page.  We are grateful to Lynne, Heidi, and Andrew for their willingness to share their expertise with the journal. 

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Louis Castonguay, Bernhard Strauss Jacques P. Barber: Book review

A Review of Visions in Psychotherapy Research and Practice: Reflections From Presidents of the Society for Psychotherapy Research by Bernhard M. Strauss, Jacques P. Barber, and Louis G. Castonguay (Eds.)

For over 40 years, the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR) has been actively advancing the scientific study of psychotherapy. Founded by David Orlinsky and Kenneth
Howard in 1969, the society’s mission was to bring together multidisciplinary and international psychotherapy researchers under one group. Since its inception, SPR has championed a value of antielitism, welcoming novice and developing researchers to its doors. The ethos of inclusivity may be a reflection of the era when SPR was originally founded in America, a time of brewing political awareness and antiauthoritarianism.In any case, in his introduction to the text, David Orlinsky described that it was with a strong sense of conviction that he and Ken Howard set out to challenge the attendance practice in place in psychotherapy conferences at the time. Rather than having select invitations issued based upon nominations by established professionals, all psychotherapy researchers were welcomed to attend the initial meeting. They were welcomed to join SPR in the spirit of developing a vibrant atmosphere of curiosity and cooperation.

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