Charles J. Gelso, Ph.D., Psychotherapy Research Grant


This program awards grants for research projects in the area of psychotherapy process and/or outcome.

Program Goals

  • Advance understanding of psychotherapy process and/or psychotherapy outcome through support of empirical research
  • Encourage talented graduate students towards careers in psychotherapy research
  • Support psychologists engaged in quality psychotherapy research

Funding Specifics

  • Three (3) annual grants of $5,000 each are paid in one lump sum to the individual researcher, to the researcher’s university grants and contracts office, or to an incorporated company. Individuals who receive the funds may incur tax liabilities (see IRS webpage on Grants to Individuals:
  • A researcher can win only one of these grants (see Additional Information section below).
  • Funds must be transferred to the researcher, university grants and contracts office, or to an incorporated company by December 15 of the year in which the grant award notification is made.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Demonstrated or burgeoning competence in the area of proposed work
  • IRB approval must be received from the principal investigator’s institution before funding can be awarded if human participants are involved
  • The same project/lab may not receive funding two years in a row
  • Applicant must be a member of the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (Division 29 of APA). Join the Society at

Evaluation Criteria

  • Conformance with goals listed above under “Program Goals”
  • Magnitude of incremental contribution in topic area
  • Quality of proposed work
  • Applicant’s competence to execute the project
  • Appropriate plan for data collection and completion of the project

Requirements Components for All Proposals

    • Description of the proposed project to include title, goals, relevant background, target population, methods, anticipated outcomes, and dissemination plans: not to exceed 3 single-spaced pages (1-inch margins, no smaller than 11-point font)
    • CV of the principal investigator that focuses on research activities (not to exceed 2 single-spaced pages)
    • A 300-word biosketch that describes why your experiences and qualifications make you suited for successfully carrying out this research proposal
    • Timeline for execution (priority given to projects that can be completed within two years)
    • Full budget and justification that clearly indicates how the grant funds would be spent. The budget should be no longer than 1 page. Indirect costs may not be included in the budget.
    • A statement as to whether the grant funds will be used to initiate a new project or to supplement current funding. The research may be at any stage, but justification must be provided for the current request of grant funds. If the funds will supplement other funding or if the research is already in progress, please explain why the additional funds are needed (e.g., in order to add a new component to the study, add additional participants, etc.).
  • Graduate students, predoctoral interns, and postdoctoral fellows should refer the next section for additional materials that are required.

Additional Required Components for Graduate Students, Predoctoral Interns, and Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Graduate students, pre-doctoral interns, and postdoctoral fellows should also submit the CV of the mentor who will supervise the work.
  • Graduate students and pre-doctoral interns must also submit 2 letters of recommendation, one from the mentor who will be providing guidance during the completion of the project and this letter must indicate the nature of the mentoring relationship.
  • Postdoctoral fellows must submit 1 letter of recommendation from the mentor who will be providing guidance during the completion of the project and this letter should indicate the nature of the mentoring relationship.

Additional Information

  • After the project is complete, a full accounting of the project’s income and expenses must be submitted within six months of completion
  • Grant funds that are not spent on the project within two years must be returned
  • When the resulting research is published, the grant must be acknowledged
  • All individuals who directly receive funds from the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy will be required to complete an IRS W-9 form prior to the release of funds, and will be sent a 1099 after the end of the fiscal year (December 31)

Submission Process and Deadline

  • All materials must be submitted electronically.
  • All applicants must complete the Gelso Grant Application Form, in MSWord or other text format.
  • CV(s) may be submitted in text or PDF format. If submitting more than 1 CV, then all CVs must be included in 1 electronic document/file.
  • Proposal and budget must be submitted in 1 file, with a cover sheet to include the name of the principal investigator and complete contact information (address, phone, fax, email).
  • All required materials for proposal should be submitted to: Tracey A. Martin in the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (Division 29 of APA) Central Office,
  • You will receive an electronic confirmation of your submission within 24 hours. If you do not receive confirmation, your proposal was not received; please resubmit.
  • Deadline: May 1, 2022

Questions about this program should be directed to the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy Science and Scholarship Domain Representative (Dr. Patricia T. Spangler at, or Tracey A. Martin in the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (Division 29 of APA) Central Office,

Charles J. Gelso, Ph.D., Psychotherapy Research Grant

2020 Recipient: Lisa Wallner Samstag

I am currently a tenured Full Professor at Long Island University (Brooklyn), and have been working in the fields of psychotherapy research, psychotherapy training, and clinical practice for over 30 years. I was introduced to psychotherapy research when I started working with Jeremy Safran, Ph.D. and Chris Muran, Ph.D. at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto, in the late 1980s.  As a member of this research team, I was involved with the development of the first rupture-resolution model.  We continued our collaborative work together in New York at Beth Israel’s Psychotherapy Research Program (now Mount Sinai-Beth Israel) where I am privileged to be a supervisory member of the Alliance-Focused Training group.  I thank the Society for the Charles J. Gelso PhD Psychotherapy Research Grant to pursue a study on power dynamics, alliance, and response styles in the supervisory relationship.

2020 Recipient: Alice E. Coyne

Alice Coyne is a seventh-year graduate student working under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Constantino in the Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is currently on pre-doctoral internship at the Charleston Consortium. Broadly speaking, her research program aims to identify, and develop ways to capitalize on, patient, therapist, and dyadic characteristics and processes that enhance the efficacy of mental health care. More specifically, she studies personalized pathways to therapeutic change through answering the broad questions of how, for whom and in what contexts, and when delivered by whom does psychotherapy work? For example, her Master’s thesis examined the impact of patient-therapist alliance and session progress convergence on treatment outcomes. Her dissertation, which was supported by several grants, awards, and fellowships, found that different therapists use common therapeutic processes (e.g., alliance quality, patient outcome expectation) to differing therapeutic benefit. Her current project builds on this work by identifying trainable, therapist-level pathways to improving patient outcomes in routine clinical settings.

2020 Recipient: Wilson Trusty

Wilson Trusty is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Idaho State University. Prior to his graduate studies he received his bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Idaho, where he conducted research on self-critical perfectionism and depression. His current research is focused on psychological help-seeking, religion and spirituality in psychotherapy, and microprocesses related to the working alliance. He is also a scholar in the Southeast Idaho Area Health Education Center, where he serves on the steering committee for interdisciplinary research on clinician experiences of telebehavioral health during COVID-19. He currently provides therapy and assessment services in community mental health and college counseling settings.

Charles J. Gelso, Ph.D., Psychotherapy Research Grant

Previous Recipients

2019- Abby Blankenship, Amy Weisman de Mamani, & Margaret Boyer

2018 – Robinder Bedi; Elizabeth Demeusy; Sigal Zilcha-Mano

2016 – Jennifer S. Cheavens; Ken Critchfield; Rayna Markin

2015 – Samantha Bernecker; Stephanie Hoover, Joel M. Town

2013 – Jenelle Slavin-Mulford

2012 – Marilyn Cornish

2011 – Michael Constantino

2010 – Stephanie Budge