This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are used for visitor analysis, others are essential to making our site function properly and improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Click Accept to consent and dismiss this message or Deny to leave this website. Read our Privacy Statement for more.
Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In
SPR Interest Section on Therapist Training and Development (SPRISTAD)
Share |

This Section welcomes all SPR members who are interested in the training and development of psychotherapists. The Section seeks: (a) to promote research on psychotherapy training (including candidate selection, instruction and supervision, and continuing education); (b) to further understanding of psychotherapist development at all career levels; (c) to facilitate collaboration among members; and (d) to encourage the communication and utilization of research-based knowledge about therapist training and development to scientific, clinical, and mental health policy communities.

Founding year of the interest group

SPRISTAD was formally organized as a special interest section of SPR in 2011, but stems from an informal SPR Collaborative Research Network (CRN) that was formed to study psychotherapist development in 1989 (cf. Orlinsky & Rønnestad, 2005). SPR/CRN members organized a series of reports on psychotherapeutic professions in 18 countries for the 2008 SPR conference in Barcelona that were published on the SPR website.
Please click here to read the reports.

Activities of the interest group

SPRISTAD organizes panels, structured discussions and workshops for international and regional SPR conferences, and may engage in other projects. However, the main activity of SPRISTAD to date has been to plan and implement the international multisite “Collaborative Longitudinal SPRISTAD Study of Psychotherapy Trainees.” This was launched by Section members in 2012 with the goals of (1) tracking progressive changes in trainees over time; (2) identifying the factors that facilitate or impede trainee development; and (3) relating therapist characteristics and development to psychotherapy process and outcome (Orlinsky, Strauss, Rønnestad et al., 2015). The study utilizes both quantitative and qualitative data, and by mid-2018 collaborators from 19 countries had collected data from 52 training institutes and more than 800 trainees. All university-based and free-standing training institutes with programs lasting at least one year qualify to take part in the study. Trainees are able to participate confidentially via links to interactive online instruments which are currently available in Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovenian and Spanish.

Please note that collaborative research differs in important respects from the more familiar 'entrepreneurial' or 'PI' model of research organization, both in structure and in spirit. In the 'entrepreneurial' model, individual principal investigators (PIs) conceive and plan a study, obtain funding for it via a successful grant application, and use those funds to hire research assistants or associates who work for the PIs—who control the work and the right to its publication. The structure is hierarchical and operates more or less in a spirit of individual acquisition. By contrast, in the collaborative research model studies originate among groups of colleagues who share an interest in a specific topic and who together design and implement a project as partners, each contributing to and sharing proportionately in the resulting work and right to its publication. There will be senior partners who originate the study or are most involved in its conduct (often through their own resources or with minimal external aid) and take responsibility for coordinating the partnership; contributing partners who provide significant help in carrying out the work; and junior partners (typically students completing degree requirements through the project)—but all who contribute substantially to the partnership have a stake in its achievement. The structure is collegial and operates in a spirit of cooperation (add link to: Orlinsky et al., in preparation). Section members interested in becoming partners in SPRISTAD's Collaborative Study of Psychotherapy Trainees may gain more information by writing to


» Detailled information about the study and FAQ



SPRISTAD currently has more than 200 members from all SPR regional chapters. As provided in our By-Laws [add link], Section activities are coordinated by a Steering Committee consisting of the elected Section Chair, Chair-Elect, and Immediate Past-Chair (the 'executive group') in consultation with elected counselors representing early-career, mid-career and senior career levels. The Collaborative Longitudinal SPRISTAD Study is coordinated by the Research Committee chair in conjunction the Steering Committee executive group.
The current Section chair is Ulrike Willutzki (2018-2020), preceded by Michael Helge Rønnestad (2016-2018), Bernhard Strauss (2014-2016), and David Orlinsky (2011- 2014). The current chair-elect is Armin Hartman, and the counselors are Héctor Fernandez-Alvarez (senior career), Henriette Löffler-Stastka (mid-career), and Erkki Heinonen (early career).

How to become a member

Applications for membership can be made to the current SPRISTAD Chair via email at the following address:


Orlinsky, D. E., Rønnestad, M. H., & the SPR Collaborative Research Network (2005). How psychotherapists develop: A study of therapeutic work and professional development. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Assn.


Orlinsky, D. E., Strauss, B., Rønnestad, M. H., Hill, C. Castonguay, L., Willutzki, U., Hartman, A., Taubner, S., & Carlsson, J. (2015). A Collaborative Study of Development in Psychotherapy Trainees. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 50 (4), 21-25.


Orlinsky, D. E., Willutzki, U., Rønnestad, M. H., & Hartman, A. (in preparation). The Organization and Practice of Collaborative Research: Guidelines for Participation in the SPRISTAD Longitudinal Study of Psychotherapy Trainee Development.

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal