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Dear colleagues and students,

I would like to invite you to join the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR).  Dedicated to the advancement of scientific knowledge about psychotherapy and behavioral change, SPR brings together researchers, clinicians, and students from a variety of theoretical orientations (e.g., cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, integrative/eclectic, interpersonal, psychodynamic, systemic) and professional backgrounds (e.g., psychiatry, psychology, social work).  

Research conducted by SPR members involves a rich diversity of quantitative and qualitative methodologies (within individual case analyses, randomized clinical trials, large naturalistic studies) and spans a variety of treatment modalities (individual, couple, family, and group therapies), client populations (children, adolescents, adults, older adults), and clinical problems: Anxiety disorders, mood disorders, conduct disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders, substance use disorders, marital discord, grief and bereavement, and suicide -- just to name a few.  

The primary mission of SPR is to foster the development and dissemination of scientifically rigorous and clinically relevant studies related to the outcome of psychological interventions, the process of change, and the characteristics of clients and therapists.  Among the many therapeutic factors and issues that have been investigated at SPR are the therapist’s techniques and competence, therapeutic alliance, empathy, emotional expression, transference and counter-transference, expectations, interpersonal problems, therapist’s effect, client’s feedback, dose-effect relationships and patterns of change during treatment, inpatient psychotherapy, behavioral medicine, computerized treatments, psychopathology, attachment, development, neuroscience, culture, diversity, spirituality, gender, assessment and case formulation, prevention, supervision, and training.

For more than 40 years, SPR has provided an ideal forum to address questions such as: Does psychotherapy work? Is there a type of psychotherapy that is superior to all others? Are there forms of therapy that are particularly indicated for specific clients? Can we predict who will benefit from therapy, who will terminate treatment prematurely, and who might get worse during psychotherapy? Is client-therapist cultural-matching beneficial? Are there therapeutic factors that cut across different types of treatment? If so, how important are these common factors for the client’s improvement?  What is more important for change to take place: a good therapeutic relationship, the use of powerful techniques, or the complex interaction between them and client’s characteristics? Do expert therapists do what they say they do?

SPR has also fostered discussion among leaders of the field about controversial issues such as, the link between research and practice, the pros and cons of treatment manuals and empirically-supported treatments, empirically-supported therapeutic relationships, and the strengths and limitations of efficacy and effectiveness research.  

Every year, researchers and clinicians from around the world attend SPR’s international meetings. Regional chapters (Europe, Latin America, North America, UK) also meet regularly, as do local SPR organizations (e.g., Mid-Atlantic, Ohio, Taiwan).  All of these meetings are very friendly, interactive, and welcoming to newcomers.  In addition, SPR has it own official journal: Psychotherapy Research.  Published by Taylor & Francis, this highly respected peer-reviewed journal features exciting and influential articles aimed at improving our understanding of change and the beneficial effects of psychotherapy.

If you are a student, clinician, educator, or researcher and you are interested in psychotherapy, I strongly encourage you to join SPR.  The dues are reasonable ($115 US for regular members; $105 for regular members from Eastern Europe and Latin America; $60 for students; $65 for retired members). The meetings offer great opportunities to network with leaders and innovators in the field, and the journal will keep you abreast of cutting edge, clinically relevant, and sophisticated research.  

To join, visit SPR’s web site at or email me at

I hope you will join us soon!

Louis G. Castonguay, Ph.D.
Society for Psychotherapy Research



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