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General Vice President Election (2012)
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2012 General Vice President Elections

The candidates are:

The candidates' statements

Brin Grenyer, Ph.D.
University of Wollongong, Australia


Brin GrenyerI am deeply honoured to be nominated for a leadership position. SPR has been my academic and intellectual home for the past 20 years. My journey with SPR began when as a PhD student I wrote to Lester Luborsky and found myself in 1993 attending my first SPR in Pittsburgh. In that year, I embarked on a study tour across the USA, which started with a visit to George Silberschatz and the Mt Zion group in San Francisco, and finished at the Centre for Psychotherapy Research at the University of Pennsylvania with Lester Luborsky, Jacques Barber, and Paul Crits-Christoph. During the trip and at the conference I was amazed to meet many influential psychotherapy researchers, including Orlinsky, Howard, Strupp, Horowitz, Beck, Kächele and many others, and was impressed by the warmth and openness of the SPR.

The experience of my first SPR set my research direction, and I was able to continue my doctoral studies with Lester Luborsky's guidance which involved work on the content analysis of transcripts of psychotherapy using a new method of self-understanding and self-control (Grenyer & Luborsky, 1996, JCCP). This was followed by CCRT work for the Understanding Transference 2nd Edition and my own Mastering Relationship Conflicts Book (APA 2002) among many other studies (www.uow.edu.au/ health/psyc/staff/UOW024966.html). Currently I am a full Professor and also Chair of the Psychology Board of Australia. My research has grown around a focus on personality and relationships in psychotherapy - including studies of attachment patterns, the CCRT, interpersonal problems and personality disorders (www.projectairstrategy.org). Most of the 20 doctoral students I have supervised have contributed to SPR, with many presenting at our meetings.

I have been active in promoting SPR in Australia and our region, as well as serving as Advisory Editor for Psychotherapy Research. For the first 10 years of attending SPR, I was often the only Australian and the distance and cost of travel continues to be a barrier for our students and young faculty, meaning local developments are important. Like my Latin American colleagues, we started small, and with my colleague Robert King we decided to try running our first regional SPR conference in Australia in Brisbane in 2004, then Wollongong 2007, Brisbane 2009, Newcastle 2010, Sydney 2011, soon Melbourne 2012, before we host the 2013 international meeting in Australia.

As SPR General Vice President, I will work to grow SPR through exploring ways to strengthen and enrich our international connections and regional groups. For example, the Asia-Pacific comprises some 45 countries - including China, Taiwan, India, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The strategy of growing regional groups at a local level first, supported by the SPR executive, is a formula that has worked well for us and I will promote it. I have the skills and experience through my national and international leadership positions to reach out to multiple groups and regions.

Another goal will be to welcome and challenge the next generation of psychotherapy researchers from across the globe to learn from the past and reach for new frontiers and discoveries. Psychotherapy is enhanced by neuroscience, linguistics, genetic and early developmental attachment research. The pluralism of SPR benefits us all and I will work to promote a genuine dialogue between different sciences and orientations, with a goal of respectfully being prepared to be challenged by the meaning of data.

I am honoured to be nominated as a candidate and I welcome the opportunity to give back to SPR what it has provided me, and to further grow the boundaries of our scientific community.

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Jeanne Watson, Ph.D.
University of Toronto, Canada


Jeanne Watson It is a great honor to have been nominated for General Vice President for the International Society for Psychotherapy Research. The nomination is very meaningful to me because SPR has provided a space for me to grow and develop as a psychotherapy researcher – the support of its membership has been invaluable to me in my career, providing inspiration, challenge, leadership, support, validation, and connection over the years. Laura Rice, my mentor, encouraged me to attend my first SPR conference in Evanston in 1985. As a young graduate student, I was thrilled to attend the conference. I recall that I watched from the sidelines as Laura conversed with the authors whose papers I had read and who had made major contributions to the field. A little overwhelmed, I retreated to sit by the lake with a copy of Rollo May to reflect on the ideas that had been shared by the scholars on the panels that I had attended. I knew I would return, having found my academic home. Since then I have regularly attended SPR conferences around the world, often accompanied by my students, as I mentor them and seek to introduce them to a community of likeminded scholars.

Currently, I am Professor and Associate Dean, Programs, at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Prior to assuming this role, I was Chair of the Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology, and before that Chair of the Counselling Psychology Program Committee. These administrative positions have provided me with the opportunity to engage with the larger academic community beyond my discipline and to work with colleagues to restructure our programs. In 2005 I served as Program Chair for the 21st Annual Conference of the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration and served as co-editor of Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy from 2007-2011. In these different roles, I have had to work with scholars of different persuasions from varied and diverse backgrounds, while acquiring and honing the skills of negotiation, compromise, and leadership. It is these skills that I would like to bring to SPR. After I received the Outstanding Early Achievement Award from SPR in 2002, David Orlinsky approached me and said that one day I would be asked to give back to the society – the time has come to offer my services. It would be an honor to share the responsibility to sustain the dream and spirit of the Chicago Group who founded SPR in 1969 by insuring that the Society remains vibrant and alive for current and future scholars, so that they may continue to value and benefit from this wonderful organization.

As an experiential-humanistic theorist and researcher, I have worked to develop and promote emotion-focused psychotherapy (EFT). My research focuses on psychotherapy process and outcome. I have participated in and conducted a number of outcome studies. From 1998-2002, I conducted a randomized control trial at the University of Toronto to compare the efficacy of CBT and EFT in the treatment of depression. This study, along with others by colleagues at York University in Toronto, has contributed to EFT being recognized as an empirically supported treatment for Depression. In terms of psychotherapy process, I have used both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to investigate the processes of change to identify the common and specific factors in CBT and EFT. Specifically I have investigated the role of empathy as a common factor of change as well as the role of emotional processing in psychotherapy. In pursuing these goals I have developed a number of transtheoretical process measures to identify and describe specific change processes in psychotherapy. Colleagues in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Portugal, United Kingdom, and North America are using these measures for research and teaching. I am the author and co-author of a number of books on humanistic and emotion-focused psychotherapy that are used around the world to train researchers and clinicians in this approach. In addition to my scholarly pursuits I remain an active clinician and teach workshops on emotion-focused psychotherapy in Europe and North America.

At the recent conference in Virginia Beach I was pleased to see that process research is strong and vibrant at SPR. Researchers from different approaches have been inducting a new generation of young, talented research clinicians who have much to offer to the field. I would like to continue to encourage and support the work that is shared at SPR by colleagues from around the world so that we might focus our efforts more Page 4 SPR Newsletter, 2012:2 effectively to answer the questions identified as being in the forefront of psychotherapy research: What psychotherapy, for whom, when? It is time for us to recognize that the psychotherapies that we have worked hard to develop are indeed effective in many instances but not all. A more refined understanding of what happens when therapies are ineffective and the people or populations for whom this is so needs to be identified and alternative treatments provided. Learning to be a more responsive researcher and clinician is an important goal. To do this we need to draw on and expand on the expertise of colleagues from around the globe the membership and participation of whom is essential to the strength of our organization. We stand on the shoulders of giants and based on their wisdom and direction, I am committed to working with the members of our International Society to continue to support the work of fellow researchers and to nurture the younger generation, so that they will continue to add to the field for years to come. I hope you will give me the opportunity to participate in the leadership of this wonderful organization.

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