SPR Society for Psychotherapy Research

President's Message

Bruce Wampold

SPR is now officially 50 years old.  Our celebration in Buenos Aires marked the end of the first 50 and the beginning of next 50.  Louis Castonguay inspired all of use with his discussion of our legacy and the luminaries of SPR.  What was most inspiring to me were the comments that several young researchers attending SPR for the first time. 

Several commented, “SPR will be my academic home.  The welcoming climate and scientific rigor are amazing.”  In that way, we have maintained the principles on which SPR was founded. Join us for the 51st annual SPR conference in Amherst (see accompanying article). The responsibility of every president is to nurture the organization so that we continue our traditions.  However, as we grow, the pressures on the organizational side increase.  This coming year, we are “modernizing” the way we organize and present ourselves:

•    New website
•    More efficient conference portal and conference organization
•   Hiring of an Administrative Officer Bernedette Eels, who will organize our processes, which will lead to greater efficiency

I look forward to my year as president and the chance in Amherst to provide my reflection on psychotherapy research.

 Mariane Krause, Ph.D.

Past President's Message

Mariane Krause

Dear colleagues and SPR members,

It has been both an honor and a wonderful experience to serve as President of SPR over the last year. I would like to thank you all for this remarkable opportunity of getting to know SPR from the very inside. After my years on the EC I can say, without any doubt, that the spirit of SPR has the best balance between academic excellence and warm interpersonal relationships.

Our last conference, in Buenos Aires, was a highlight for SPR, and personally for me. We celebrated our 50th anniversary with joy, and were proud looking back on our history. We are now a mature organization that has improved the field of psychotherapy research in the world. Personally, it was very meaningful to deliver my presidential address in the Latin American context. All our SPR conferences strengthen the local communities of researcher. To be part of this phenomenon in Buenos Aires was a beautiful experience.

When I was GVP candidate, four years ago, I stated that I would like to collaborate in making our society even more inclusive and international than it had been. Being Program Chair of the Amsterdam conference, in 2018, gave me a unique opportunity of enhancing diversity within SPR, promoting the involvement of colleagues coming from countries and cultures that were still underrepresented in our society.

Another goal I had when I started this four-year journey on our Executive Committee was to strengthen SPR’s intermediate structures. Therefore, I am happy to say that we were able to increase the special interest sections, and to add a new regional group.

And last-but-not-least, I also thought it was very relevant for SPR to pay attention to its own renovation, by recognizing and supporting the work of students and young researchers. After these years, I am glad I can say that we have increased substantially our support for the new generations of researcher, by facilitating their attendance to conferences, and through the funding of research projects of emerging scholars.

The Executive Committee also renews itself continuously, through the GVP elections we have every year. The participation of everyone is important for the future of our organization. Therefore, my last words in this message are: Don’t forget to vote on the upcoming election!!!


General Vice President Election

Our two candidates running for the office are Shelley McMain and Gary M. Diamond

Please see their candidates’ statements below and vote.
The electronic polls are now open and close October 31, 2019.

Click here to cast your vote »

Shelley McMain, Ph.D., University Toronto,Canada

This is an exciting andchallenging time forthe field of psychotherapy research. Big data, advanced research methodologies and technical advances are transforming both our practicesand research. As social stigma around mental illness decreases, the demand for therapy is apparent with enormous unmet need. A growing global mental health crisis is pushing our field to change. It is demanding that we enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of treatments, improvetherapist training, design scalable models of therapy, and advance personalizedapproaches to address complex clinical presentations. SPR must be a leader in producing newand cutting-edge research methods and findings that advance the practice of psychotherapy and improve the lives of people seeking treatment.

SPR has been vital to my development as a clinician and psychotherapy researcher. I attended my first international meeting in Torontoin 1989; this gathering is now a treasured annual ritual for which I always yearn,  one  that  gives  me  time  with people who have  become life-long  friends and  collaborators. Interacting informally with extraordinarily wise and warm people has afforded me relationships with colleagues from many countries who share my interests; it has afforded me the gift of seeing things more broadly and experiencing the richness of diversity in all things clinical research.

People from all over the world are the heart of SPR. We are a strong community with a rich legacy. With our exceptional meetings and influential journal (PsychotherapyResearch) we possess important networking opportunities and dissemination vehicles to cultivate the identities of researchers and practitioners worldwide. I am confident we will continue to grow, develop as an organization, and nourish researchers and practitioners in the years ahead. We need to do so as we have a great deal of work ahead of us.

With a growing number of people entering the practice of psychotherapy and our science advancing rapidly, a threat to our profession is science illiteracy and the spread of misinformation. This situation poses problems such as science’s slow impact in changing practice. As technologies evolve, we must focus on enhancing our communications strategies. We need to facilitate the dissemination of psychotherapy research and inform political activities within the broader health and social service systems. For example, it will be important for SPR to continue the type of work done by the UK SPR chapter who spearheaded calls to improve upon the methodology of the NICE guidelines for depression. We also need to further increase our presence and engagement in non-traditional methods of communications such as social media, webinars and web-based information. These efforts will grow ourprofession, shape the practice of psychotherapy and influence decisions of health care policy makers.

If we want to maximize our impact on the future of psychotherapy, we need to actualize what makes us who we are as a research community–our commitment and ability to work together.  We need to build a framework to advance international collaborations; support the development of research through small grants that enable researchers to bid for larger grants inclusive of grants involving several of our research teams; and provide a research mentoring system that pools together and disseminates expertise via webinars and a range of other e-resources. Finally, there is much to be done in terms of attracting new students and regular members while maintaining existing ones.

I view the SPR community as a thought leader in the field of psychotherapy because we are in the enviable position of providing numerous formal (e.g., lobbying) and informal (e.g., networking) benefits to our members. There are many opportunities to strengthen our community. We should be active in
developing and supporting students and putting forward plans to develop graduate psychotherapy research education internationally.

Currently, I am a clinical psychologist working as the Head of the Borderline Personality Disorder Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and am on faculty in the Department of Psychiatry (University of Toronto). My research investigates the effectiveness of treatments for complex patients diagnosed with chronic suicidality and borderline personality disorder. Within this context, I have investigated change in different forms of psychotherapy. Additionally, I have studied moderators and mediatorsof treatment outcome including client factors (personality style, defensive functioning), relational factors (the alliance and alliance ruptures) and therapist factors (adherence).

I treat patients within a publicly-funded hospital and am co-director of a community of private practitioners at the Center for Mindbody Health. I am actively involved in training psychotherapists and regularly train clinicians from remote communities in Northern Canada to large urban centres in various parts of the world. I started working as a psychotherapist at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry under the supervision of Jeremy Safran who nurtured my interest in psychotherapy research and alliance ruptures. I was fortunate to complete my PhD under the supervision of Leslie Greenberg who further nurtured my psychotherapy research interests and my interest in emotion. After graduating, my early work with substance users led to many years of collaboration with Marsha Linehan who provided me with mentorship on clinical trials with those diagnosed with BPD.

My career has been multi-faceted and has provided me with a diverse international perspective on psychotherapy practice and research. I am past president of the North American Society for Psychotherapy Research and was an Associate Editor for Psychotherapy Research. I have been active in numerous administrative roles as a member of the board for the International Society for Studies in Personality Disorders, the co-Chair of the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration and a board member of the International Strategic Planning Group for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. In addition to being the Director of a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Certificate Program at the University of Toronto, I am the co-Director of a province-wide ECHO project in Ontario, Canada a project deploys video conferencing and connects experts to primary care providers in remote areas while facilitating the sharing of knowledge, expansion of clinical skills and capacity, and improving psychotherapy practice for people with mental illness.

I am honoured to be nominated for the position of President-Elect. If successful, my activities will focus on strengthening the following priorities:

1.Serve our membership and Society by improving communications and becoming a leading source to navigate information on psychotherapy research. 

2.Attract new members and retain and better serve a diverse and inclusive international membership.

3.Support the SPR community by organizing stimulating meetings, furtheringin ternational collaborations and advocatingf or a stronger psychotherapy enterprise.

SPR has been my academic home for over 30 years. If elected I will serve it with a constant eye on collaboration and the dedication required to make a positive difference for our members and our field of research.


Gary M. Diamond, Ph.D., Ben-Gurion University, Israel

It is an honor to be nominated for the position of general vice-president. SPR has been my professional home since 1999, when I attended my first international conference in Braga. And what a fantastic home it has been-warm, challenging, supportive and stimulating. A place to meet icons who inspired and continue to influencemy research, as well as aplace tobe exposed to new ideas, develop professional collaborations and form deep, meaningful friendships.

A few words about myself. I received my Ph.D. from Temple University and then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania. In 1998, I immigrated to Israel to join the Department of Psychology at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev Desert. I am a full professor and have served in numerous academic and clinical leadership roles, including chair of the department and director of clinical training. I also took lead in founding, and serve as the director of, the department’s community clinic, which provides state-of-the-art, subsidized therapy for underserved communities adjacent to the university.

For the past two decades, my colleagues Guy S. Diamond(nofamily relation) and Suzanne Levy and I, have developed and tested attachment-based family therapy for depressed and suicidal adolescents, an experiential, emotion-and attachment-focused treatment. My research has primarily examined moment-by-moment therapist interventions and client processes (e.g., emotional processing, alliance, vulnerability) associated with within-session change events and treatment outcome. I also took lead on adapting the treatment for sexual and gender minority (i.e., LGBT+) adolescents, who suffer higher rates of depression and suicidal ideation. For this work, I received, along with Guy Diamond, the 2014 Annual Research Award for Contribution to Suicide Prevention given by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In collaboration with SPR colleagues from Australia, Latin America, Europe and the U.S, I have had the opportunity to present our findings, and train therapists in the model, internationally.

Currently, I am conducting a five-year clinical trial for LGBT+ young adults and their non-accepting parents. The primary goal of the treatment is to foster more accepting, honest and loving relationships. This work has challenged me and my students to further adapt our approach in order to better connect with, and meet the needs of, deeply religious families,and families who immigrated from Arabic and predominantly Muslim countries, whose values are in many ways different from the more liberal, secular familieswe have treated in the past.

Over the years, I have had opportunities to give back to SPR in appreciation for all that it has given me. I was proud to serve on the scientific committees for a number of the international conferences. I also served as the local host for the 2016 conference in Jerusalem, which was a wonderful experience. In this role, I worked closely with the executive committee and got to know many SPR members personally. An exciting outcome of the Jerusalem conference was the establishment of the Israeli regional group, initiated by me and other long-time SPR members, and now in the hands of the next generation of talented, capable Israeli psychotherapy researchers. Over the past four years, I have also personally reached out to researchers in the field of LGBT treatment research in an effort to both attract scholars who have not been a part of SPR in the past, and increase the profile of such research at conferences. What started out as one panel at the conference in Copenhagen (2014) blossomed into three panels, two independent papers and a number of posters and discussion groups by the time we reached Amsterdam.

If elected, as part of the executive committee I would work to further initiatives that broaden the scope and diversity of our membership. For example, I would work to bring more family and couple psychotherapy researchers to SPR. I would also work to continue and expand already existing mentorship and financial support mechanisms that foster our younger generation of talented psychotherapy researchers. Our students and junior colleagues are the future. Finally, I would work to further bridge the research-practice gap. SPR has already taken important steps in this direction, including sponsoring pre-conference clinical trainings during international conferences, webinars and open-access articles from the journal. If elected, I would want to explore additional ideas about how to attract more clinicians to our conferences, and how to disseminate our findings more effectively and widely to mental health providers and systems.

SPR’s 51st Annual Meeting

June 17-20, 2020 in Amherst, MA (USA)

After an exciting and enriching conference in Buenos Aires, the Executive Committee is very much looking forward to our next meeting in Amherst, Massachusetts. Meeting preparations have begun in earnest, and we intend to create another amazing SPR experience next summer.  Thus, please save the dates of June 17-20, 2020! 

Research in psychotherapy is continuously moving beyond the straightforward testing of sequenced treatment packages based on singular theoretical orientations. Rather, the inherent variability among therapy participants, and the complexity of the therapeutic process, have contributed to an appreciation that one “size” fails to uniformly fit all patients, providers, or processes. This perspective is embedded in the growing trend toward treatment personalization.

In this context, the theme of the 2020 SPR conference will be “Personalizing psychotherapy to its participants and moments.” We are enthusiastic to learn more about the myriad ways in which the field has progressed toward personalizing and tailoring, and to discussing how we can implement and integrate these empirical advances within day-to-day clinical practice.

Notably, our last conference was SPR’s 50th anniversary. This was a great opportunity both to revisit the past and to look into the future. We look forward to seeing you next year in Amherst, when we can start creating this future together!

Please stay tuned for the call for submissions. As in previous years, we plan to offer CE credits through APA Div.29.

Martin grosse Holtforth
SPR President-Elect and Program Chair


Executive Officer Report

Marna S. Barrett

SPR 2020 Membership opens October 1st!

Time to renew your membership for 2020. With early bird rates in effect through January 15th, now is the time to renew!!!

Please encourage students and colleagues to join now while rates are low in order to receive discounts for the 2020 Amherst international conference.


Amherst, MA: The Quintessential American College Town

Michael Constantino

On behalf of the Local Organizing Committee, I am pleased to invite you to the campus of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) in Amherst, MA for the 51st meeting of the Society for Psychotherapy Research. After this past year’s wonderful city life of Buenos Aires, come join us for a change of pace in the Pioneer Valley from June 17-20, 2020, but also feel free to extend your stay before or after as you please! There’s lots to see.

Of course, SPR’s annual academic “family reunion” is always reason enough to attend; however, we also highlight some other quality reasons:

(1)    New England charm – Home to both UMass and Amherst College, Amherst is the quintessential American college town, surrounded by other small and vibrant towns in the “Five-College Area” (e.g., Northampton and Smith College; South Hadley and Mount Holyoke College).

(2)    Surrounding attractions – Amherst is a geographic oddity in that it is a couple of hours from everywhere! So, plan to spend some time in Boston, the Berkshires, renowned Cape Cod, or even New York City before or after the meeting.

(3)    Campus convenience and affordability – With all events on the UMass campus, it will be easy to navigate physically. And, for off-campus travel, we will provide nightly shuttles to and from Amherst Center and downtown Northampton to allow people to explore the numerous restaurants and bars.

(4)    Cutting-edge scientific program – As a staple of SPR, we can also promise a cutting-edge scientific program put together by President-Elect, Martin grosse Holtforth, and his team, and kicked off by the address of President, Bruce Wampold. As noted above, the theme of “Personalizing psychotherapy to its participants and moments” is sure to deliver!

Among the numerous features that we’ll arrange, and in addition to the copious information we’ll circulate over the year on entertainment opportunities pre- or post-meeting, I highlight here just a few things about which we are especially excited:

•    An outdoor NE-style clam bake for the opening reception
•    A psychotherapy-themed trivia night for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows
•    A Saturday evening banquet by the UMass pond with live music and, of course, dancing

Finally, we will send lots of travel information in advance of the meeting; however, for long-range planners, the most important details are as follows:
•    Airport options: Hartford, CT; Boston, MA, Albany, NY; New York, NY
•    Lodging options: UMass Campus Hotel; UMass residence halls; other nearby hotels/motels
See you in Western Mass in June 2020!

Michael Constantino
Chair, Local Organizing Committee


Report from the Communication Committee (ComCom)

Catherine M. Reich


Recent webinars include Felicitas Rost's presentation "Time for a Sea-Change, NICE Guidelines Need a Revised Methodology" and student member Nili Solomonov's presentation "Toward a Personalized Approach to Psychotherapy Process and Outcome." 

Archived recordings of these webinars are available on the website. Communications committee is currently planning a webinar by Orya Tishby in December and efforts are underway to develop our first Spanish-language webinar.Webinars showcasing special issues in the SPR journal are also in the works. As requested by early career members, journal editor Jeff Hayes discuss how to write a high quality peer review in a future webinar. Details for these and other upcoming webinars will be announced on the listserv.

Student and Early Career Member Listserv

In August we rolled out a separate listserv for student and early career members with student member, Rivian Kenyan Lewin, as moderator. This email distribution list is for announcements specific to student and early career member such as student research participant recruitment, student/early career member events, award/grant announcements, opportunities (internships, trainings, job listings), etc. This listserv can also be used for networking and collaboration between members. So far 120 members have subscribed.

If you haven’t already subscribed and you would like to receive these messages, please send an email to: studentearlycareer@psychotherapyresearch.org with the SUBJECT: "Subscribe" from the email account you wish to enroll.

To send a message on the student/early career listserv, send an email (with or without an attachment) from your preferred email address to studentearlycareer@psychotherapyresearch.org. Rivian Lewin, the manager of the listerv, will approve your email and then send it to the entire list.

Upcoming Events

51st International Annual Meeting, Amherst, MA (USA), June 17-20 2020

Society for Pyschotherapy Research
Website » | Contact »