2021 Student Paper Award Winners

Jeffrey E. Barnett Psychotherapy Research Student Paper Award Winner

Heather Muir is a fifth-year graduate student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In 2014, Heather graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in psychology, with highest honors. Her senior honors thesis examined themes of autobiographical memories. After graduation, Heather worked as a Research Coordinator of the Interpersonal Relationships Laboratory at the University of Maryland. In 2017, Heather began her graduate work at UMass. She was awarded a Graduate Fellowship during her first year. Her master’s thesis examined the impact of integrating of motivational interviewing with CBT on interpersonal outcomes for generalized anxiety disorder. Additional projects have focused on routine outcomes monitoring and patient expectations in therapy. This work has been disseminated at professional conferences and in peer-reviewed publications. In the future, she is interested in examining therapist effects and patient/therapist commitment to treatment.

Abstract: Integrating Responsive Motivational Interviewing with CBT for Generalized Anxiety disorder: Direct and Indirect Effects on Interpersonal Outcomes

In a recent trial, responsively integrating motivational interviewing (MI) into cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) outperformed CBT alone on long-term worry reduction (Westra et al., 2016). Consistent with MI’s target, this effect was mediated by less midtreatment resistance in the integrative treatment. Insofar as GAD is marked by interpersonal styles of nonassertiveness and over accommodation, we tested here whether MI-CBT also outperformed CBT, across acute treatment and follow up, on reducing these interpersonal problems. Moreover, as patient resistance is an interpersonal event for which person-centered MI may be more helpful than directive CBT, we tested if resistance would also mediate the acute and long-term effects of treatment on the interpersonal outcomes. Eighty-five patients with severe GAD were randomly assigned to 15 sessions of MI-CBT or CBT. Patients completed the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems repeatedly through treatment and follow up. Observers rated patient resistance at midtreatment. As hypothesized, and consistent with the previously tested worry outcome, structural equation models revealed comparable reductions in the interpersonal problems across active-phase MI-CBT and CBT. Additionally, MI-CBT versus CBT also prompted greater reduction in over accomodation over the follow-up period. For problematic nonassertiveness, the effect was directionally consistent, but only approached significance. Finally, as predicted, the treatment effect on both interpersonal problem levels at 12 months following treatment was mediated by less midtreatment resistance in MI-CBT versus CBT. The findings support the beneficial reach of MI-CBT for GAD to interpersonal change, and help to clarify (at least partly) the ways in which variants of CBT for GAD influence such changes.

Mathilda B. Canter Education and Training Student Paper Award Winner

Shuyi Liu, M.Ed., is a sixth-year doctoral student from the counseling psychology program at Iowa State University. She is currently in her pre-doctoral internship at UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services. Prior to her doctoral training, Shuyi received her master’s degree in psychological counseling at Teachers College of Columbia University. Her enthusiasm for research is rooted in the belief that research represents not only a pure intellectual process allowing one to gain new knowledge, but also a profound mechanism for giving voice to the voiceless. Shuyi’s two primary research lines focus on minority stress (e.g., racial discrimination, acculturative stress, and bicultural stress) and clinical supervision. The former aims to empower the groups who are vulnerable to oppression in society, while the latter involves the support of trainees who are vulnerable to the power differential inherent in supervisory relationships.

Abstract: A Latent Profile Analysis of Supervisory Styles

The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to identify different profiles of supervisory styles using the Supervisory Styles Inventory, and (2) to examine how the identified profiles differentially relate to three counselor training outcomes (i.e., counseling self-efficacy, supervisory working alliance, and psychological needs satisfaction in supervision). A total of 117 counselor trainees from counseling psychology and counseling-related programs participated in this study. The latent profile analysis identified four distinct profiles of supervisory styles. The four styles were labeled as Multitalented, Laid-Back, Jack of All Trades, and Case Manager. The four identified profiles were differentially associated with three counselor training outcomes (i.e., counseling self-efficacy, supervisory working alliance, and basic psychological need satisfaction). The results also indicated that those in the Multitalented profile had the highest levels of supervisory working alliance and supervisee basic need satisfaction, followed by those in the Laid-Back profile, the Jack of All Trades profile, and finally the Case Manager profile. All four groups were significantly different from one another on two of the outcome variables: supervisory working alliance and supervisee basic psychological need satisfaction. Furthermore, participants in the Multitalented profile reported significantly higher levels of counseling self-efficacy than those in the Laid-Back profile and the Case Manager profile. However, participants in the Multitalented profile were not significantly different from those in the Jack of All Trades profile on the outcome of counseling self-efficacy. Lastly, there was no significant difference in supervisee counseling self-efficacy among the Laid-Back, Jack of All Trades, and Case Manger profiles.

Diversity Student Paper Award Winner

Shuyi Liu

Abstract: Self-Compassion and Social Connectedness Buffering Racial Discrimination on Depression Among Asian Americans

The purpose of this study is to understand what personal and social resources Asian American college students might have to help them cope with psychological distress that is related to racial discrimination. Self-compassion (i.e., self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness) and social connectedness are the two resources this study investigates. This study was a cross-sectional study that examined whether there was a three-way interaction among racial discrimination, self-compassion, and social connectedness on the students’ levels of depression. In total, 205 college students who identify as Asian Americans participated in this study. The results indicated social connectedness and self-kindness together moderated the association between racial discrimination and depression. In detail, when social connectedness and self-kindness were both at their higher levels, the association between racial discrimination and depression was not significant. However, with higher social connectedness and lower self-kindness, there was a significantly positive association between racial discrimination and depression. Furthermore, in situations of lower social connectedness and higher self-kindness, the association between racial discrimination and depression was found to be significantly positive. However, when social connectedness and self-kindness were both at their lower levels, the association between racial discrimination and depression was not significant. The same results applied to when social connectedness and mindfulness were moderators, but not when social connectedness and common humanity were moderators. In summary, both examined personal (i.e., self-compassion) and social (social connectedness) resources work in tandem to buffer the effect of racial discrimination on depression among Asian American college students.

Donald K. Freedheim Student Development Paper Award Winner

Kate McMillen is a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. candidate in the Derner School of Psychology at Adelphi University, NY. She is currently completing her doctoral internship at Kansas State University and is expected to graduate in May 2022. Her research interests are focused primarily on psychotherapy processes and outcomes, particularly in the areas of depressive disorders, interpersonal functioning, and LGBTQ populations

Abstract: Interpersonal Clusters in a Depressed Outpatient Sample

Prior research suggests that DSM diagnostic classification alone does not provide a full clinical picture for psychotherapy patients. Interpersonal problems, which are often overlooked in psychotherapy research, are a promising area to aid in studying patient experience and functioning, as well as build upon our existing understanding of psychotherapy treatment processes and outcomes. 71 outpatients were enrolled in individual psychodynamic psychotherapy and assessed for current major depressive symptoms and global assessment of functioning (GAF) score. Interpersonal problems were measured by the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (IIP-C; Horowitz et al., 2000). Each participant met criteria for a DSM-IV Axis I diagnosis of a depressive spectrum disorder. 3 distinct interpersonal clusters were found via hierarchical cluster analysis: 1) Non-assertive; 2) Socially Avoidant; and 3) Overly Nurturant. The subtypes did not significantly differ in terms of depressive diagnosis, global symptomatology, current major depressive symptoms, or GAF score. However, the Socially Avoidant cluster had significantly more male patients than the Non-assertive or Overly Nurturant clusters (p = .014). Further research is needed to confirm whether these clusters maintain consistent throughout psychotherapy, and to investigate how the interpersonal types may respond differentially to treatment, independent of quantitative levels of distress. It may be important to assess a patient’s interpersonal functioning early in order to improve psychotherapy process and depression outcomes.

Student Excellence in Practice Award

Rivian Lewin (she/her/hers) is a rising fifth-year clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Memphis. She received a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Arizona and Master of Science in psychology from the University of Memphis. She is currently a graduate-level clinician at an integrative primary care clinic, practicing Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (FACT) in conjunction with patients’ medical care. Earlier in her graduate training, she collaborated with a colleague to create an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) group intervention to address the psychological needs of graduate students on her campus. She has delivered the treatment multiple times over the course of several years and now serves in a training and peer supervisory role to student clinicians learning ACT and delivering the intervention. Rivian has also worked with individuals presenting with a wide range of clinical concerns at her program’s community-based clinic as well as through her experience on the Athena project, which is a clinical research center that provides psychological evaluations to women who have experienced intimate partner violence. Her research and clinical work inform one another, as her research focuses on psychotherapy process and outcome, with an emphasis on transtheoretical factors of therapy that contribute to improvement in client outcomes. Rivian is a member of the American Psychological Association, Society for Psychotherapy Research, Association for Psychological Science, and Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.

Student Excellence in Teaching/Mentorship Award

Nur Hani Zainal, M.S. is a clinical fellow in psychology at the Harvard Medical School – Massachusetts General Hospital and Ph.D. candidate at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research program focuses on how executive functioning, mindfulness, cognitive behavioral strategies, and psychoneuroimmunology link to the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders. To achieve these aims, she uses a variety of approaches and datasets. These include cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys, basic science experiments, ecological momentary assessments, and prospective cross-panel designs. To this end, she hopes to make novel and strongly positively impactful contributions to basic science and translational clinical science research and practice. Hani also received the National University of Singapore (NUS) – Overseas Graduate Scholarship which places her on track to serve as a faculty member responsible for research, teaching, and clinical supervision by mid-2024.

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