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General Vice President Election (2011)
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2011 General Vice President Elections

The candidates are:

The candidates' statements

Hadas Wiseman, Ph.D.
University of Haifa, Israel


George Silberschatz I am deeply honored and delighted to be nominated as candidate for General Vice-President of SPR. SPR has been central to my professional development, which began as a doctoral student of Laura Rice in clinical psychology at York University, Toronto. When I attended meetings as a graduate student, it was exciting to encounter personally the key psychotherapy researchers that have inspired me, coupled with the lasting impression of the welcoming atmosphere. The first SPR conference that I attended as a new PhD was in Ulm, Germany in 1987. This was particularly memorable for me, as I had the special privilege to present my dissertation research in a panel led by Ed Bordin on Therapeutic Tasks and Change. In the last session, David Orlinsky presented on "How to do psychotherapy research without a grant." From there on I was determined to find ways to continue to do psychotherapy research (with or without a grant) and have SPR be a big part of my professional community. As a psychotherapy ‘change process’ researcher, my first opportunity to engage in psychotherapy research after returning to Israel involved applying Strupp's “success and failure design” to study a 'central issue' marker in Mann's time-limited psychotherapy. Later I joined the SPR Collaborative Research Network (CRN), translated the Development of Psychotherapists Common Core Questionnaire into Hebrew and collected data from Israeli psychotherapists. My involvement in the CRN with David Orlinsky and Helge Rønnestad spans 20 years, including serving on the CRN steering committee since 2000. Another part of my long commitment to SPR is service since 1996 on the advisory Editorial board of Psychotherapy Research. A major focus of my research has been on interpersonal patterns in- and outside of psychotherapy. I used CCRT methodology combined with qualitative- narrative methodology in a funded study of interpersonal themes and emotions in children of Holocaust survivors (Wiseman & Barber, 2008). My current funded research (with Orya Tishby) aims to shed light on change in interpersonal processes over time in the context of the therapeutic relationship, focusing on the interplay of client and therapist interpersonal patterns, working alliance, and outcome. Being deeply identified with the scientist-practitioner model, I both teach and do research at the University of Haifa and maintain a small clinical practice; doing therapy stimulates and informs me of the challenges that face us as psychotherapy researchers.

As SPR General Vice-President, I will work to promote development of theory and research from a wide variety of therapeutic orientations, modalities, and scientific methodologies. Another goal is to further promote internet communication and international collaboration among researchers from different cultures and continents, and of researchers with clinicians, trainers and supervisors (e.g., via ResearchGate). I hope also to foster engagement of younger researchers with seasoned ones, building on the mentoring that occurs between the generations at SPR conferences, and to find other ways to invest in the future of our field. Another challenge we face, given the impressive growth of SPR (over 700 attended the Bern conference), is finding creative ways to develop smaller structures of exchange, e.g., through current SPR interest sections and new ones that will develop, and through regional chapters and area groups, working together under the umbrella of international SPR. Drawing on my academic administrative experience, I look forward to working with the SPR Executive Council and members, to meet these and other vital challenges.

I thank the nominations committee for their trust, and welcome the opportunity to ‘give back’ to SPR what I have received for so many years in terms of personal connection, mutual commitment, and the support of a genuine scientific community.

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Hans Znoj, Ph.D.
University of Bern, Switzerland


Hans Znoj Is there such a thing as a scientific home? Knowing our society I can clearly say: yes. When I was introduced to its organization during my first years after my studies, I found helpful and friendly senior researchers who took real interest, despite the fact that I was a complete newcomer. In my post-doc years in San Francisco, being a stranger and coming from Europe, I felt a hearty welcome from people I already knew from the few conferences I was lucky to attend.

When I was informed of my nomination as General Vice – President of SPR, I felt greatly honored. I see myself as a devoted, yet skeptical researcher of psychotherapy and its related fields; I have always strongly believed that psychotherapy is part of a greater picture of the human condition, based on biology, culture, and experience. This led me in my student years to become a scholar of Klaus Grawe, who shared a humanistic perspective and at the same time was convinced that general scientific principles determined what happens in psychotherapy. It was through him, more than 20 years ago, that I came into contact with other scientists, psychotherapists, and researchers who gathered in their own community, the Society of Psychotherapy Research.

My love for research and this Society enabled me to fulfill my great dream: After my doctorate I was awarded a 3-year post-doc in San Francisco. There, I thought, was the culminating point of everything I was attracted to: wonderful nature, sophisticated and tolerant people, highly awarded scientists, and competition in order to reach the best possible result. I was also guided into new areas such as the study of emotions, or life-events as both risk and chance for personal development and growth. While attending most SPR meetings and still interested in the process of change, I was temporarily drawn towards the topic of the general ability of people to overcome even greater disturbing experiences, such as loss of a close person or experiencing life-long disabilities. Investigations and studies led me to think that many of the strategies and mechanisms we found are also ingredients of change in the psychotherapeutic process.

Working as a Professor for Clinical Psychology, I was able to obtain grants to do research, and I subsequently authored and co-authored papers and book chapters on various topics and themes. What strikes me most is the universal ability to change and learn from experiences, which is also the core of the psychotherapeutic process. Back in California, together with coworkers, I began to study bereavement. What happens there is massive change, unwelcome and threatening. However, many people manage not only to overcome grief but also to develop a sense of a more fulfilling, richer life. We as scientists can describe this phenomenon, however, we only scarcely know the predictors of such personal growth. Similarly, in psychotherapy, we have many different perspectives and instruments to study the process and outcome but still have difficulties to predict the outcome on distinct factors and variables. Therefore, I am optimistic that even in 50 years from now we as a research community will have plenty of work. Research, however, is nothing without ethics. One of my duties in our University is to chair the ethics committee. I understand this task as helping to promote a humanistic and at the same time scientifically rigorous research.

In the past, psychotherapy research was more often based on opinions and traditions rather than empirical facts and theoretically sound concepts. The Society for Psychotherapy Research has a strong focus here – it is my hope that concepts developed in one tradition will be spread and tested in different conditions to obtain a truly developing science. Here are a few concrete ways I can imagine contributing to the continuing development of SPR:

  1. Promote and test the exchange of concepts, techniques, and instruments by promoting collaborative studies and promoting the exchange with and among young researchers
  2. Exchange ideas and work not only with scientific papers (that are sometimes hard to read and might even hide important aspects of the research) but by using new technologies like the Internet, where there is much more room for presenting tools and processes
  3. Help to protect and further establish the open and truly friendly atmosphere that is so typical of SPR
  4. As a European member, my focus is naturally more driven by international topics and politics. With respect to new members, especially from other continents, I would like to maintain the stimulating atmosphere and further widen the cultural and methodological diversity found in our society.

Last but not least: In Bern I experienced my first SPR meeting. That was 1989! Therefore it was my special honor and joy to co-host, together with Franz Caspar, the recent SPR meeting in Bern, more than 20 years later. Being part of SPR and having a more active role in SPR is a highly exciting perspective, and this privilege asks for a lot of commitment. I thank the nominations committee for nominating me and I assure you that I will work hard to serve the Society as the General Vice-President. Thank you for your trust!

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