Congratulations to the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy 2019 Award and Grant Winners!

2019 SAP Award & Grant Winners

Each year, the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy offers an array of psychotherapy research grants to psychologists and students to further the field of psychotherapy.   

The Charles J. Gelso, Ph.D., Psychotherapy Research Grants, offered to graduate students, predoctoral interns, postdoctoral fellows, and psychologists (including early career psychologists), provide three $5,000 grants toward the advancement of research on psychotherapy process and/or psychotherapy outcome.

The Norine Johnson, Ph.D., Psychotherapy Research Grant, offered to early career psychologists (within 10 years post earning the doctoral degree), provides $10,000 toward the advancement of research on psychotherapist factors that may impact treatment effectiveness and outcomes, including type of training, amount of training, professional degree or discipline of the psychotherapist, and the role or impact of psychotherapists’ personal characteristics on psychotherapy treatment outcomes.

The Diversity Grant program awards up to two $2,000 Diversity Research Grants to pre-doctoral candidates (enrolled in a clinical or counseling psychology doctoral program) and one $1000 Diversity Research Grant to an early career psychologist (within 10 years of graduation) who are currently conducting dissertation research that promotes diversity or an applied project that promotes diversity as outlined by the American Psychological Association (APA).  

The International Research Grant was established in order to promote more international and cross-cultural research within SAP and within the profession of psychotherapy and provides $1000 to a graduate student or early career professional (within 10 years of receiving the doctoral degree) to support the completion of a research project.  

Charles Gelso Grant Awardees

Abby Blankenship

Abby Blankenship, PhD is an Assistant Professor and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Dr. Blankenship is the Chief of Psychology for the STRONG STAR Consortium and the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD at the Fort Hood site. She oversees the day to day clinical operations for clinical intervention research for combat related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and deployment related problems in active duty service members, veterans, and their families. Dr. Blankenship has expertise in the areas of training, supervision, and consultation in evidence-based assessments and treatments for PTSD and families experiencing military related transitions. 



Amy Weisman de Mamani

Dr. Amy Weisman de Mamani is a Professor and the Associate Director of the Adult Division of the Department of Psychology at the University of Miami. Her primary research areas focus on family and cultural factors that influence the course of serious mental illness (e.g, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease). She has published over 75 peer reviewed manuscripts on these topics.  A major focus of her research has been aimed at developing and testing a 15-session culturally informed treatment for schizophrenia (CIT-S), which expands earlier interventions in an attempt to better serve minority families and patients coping with the illness. In particular, several spiritual and existential components were developed and combined with previously established cognitive behavioral techniques to make treatment more relevant for Hispanics and other minorities prevalent in Miami. Her recent research indicates that this intervention is effective (relative to a psycho-education only control condition) in reducing the severity of patient’s psychiatric symptoms (in both single family and group format) and in decreasing shame, guilt, and psychological burden in schizophrenia caregivers.  Surprisingly, her research also shows that religious individuals are more likely to drop out of CIT-S prematurely. Based on this finding, Dr. Weisman de Mamani is currently extending this line of research through a pilot grant funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Through this project, she has combined forces with Reverend Laurie Hafner, Senior Pastor at Coral Gables United Congressional Church of Christ (UCC). This grant will allow her to examine whether systematically integrating religious components early on in treatment alongside already established cognitive-behavioral approaches, and offering some of the groups in a religious intuition, will make treatment more relevant and appealing to religious individuals. She expects that this will improve efficacy and satisfaction with treatment and increase therapy retention. The current grant (Gelso) will allow Dr. Weisman de Mamani and her research team to extend this study to Spanish speaking individuals. 

Margaret Boyer

Margaret Boyer is a doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to her graduate studies, she received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Economics from Haverford College and managed the Emotion and Self-Control lab at the University of Michigan. Her current research pursuits explore the integration of positive psychology in psychotherapy, interpersonal processes in emotion regulation, and therapeutic processes in psychological assessment. She currently serves as student supervisor of the Psychological Assessment Center at UCSB and provides individual and group therapy in local university and college counseling settings.

The goal of the current project is to establish a strategy for efficiently and effectively measuring clients’ vagal tone as a meaningful predictor and indicator of psychotherapeutic change. It is hoped that this research can bridge disciplines of positive psychology and affective neuroscience by utilizing a novel methodology to study vagal tone as both outcome and facilitator of psychological growth.    

Norine Johnson Grant Awardee

Joanna M. Drinane

Joanna M. Drinane is entering her second year as an Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of Utah. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Denver in 2018. Her scholarship has consistently focused on psychotherapy process and outcome with an area of emphasis on the relational and cultural dynamics that unfold between clients and therapists. In this vein, Joanna has contributed to the development of the framework of multicultural orientation, has written about microaggressions, within therapist identity-based disparities, and cultural concealment, and has worked to explore how social identity conversations influence the trajectories of change clients undergo while in therapy. 

Joanna’s 2019 Norine Johnson Psychotherapy Research Grant proposal is well aligned with her growing body of research. Her study aims to use novel methodology to obtain objective ratings of therapist cultural comfort/discomfort (operationalized as emotional arousal) in response to client statements about various social identities. Specifically, Joanna plans to use software to analyze basic linguistic processes to provide quantitative ratings of emotional arousal in response to cultural stimuli, and to examine the associations between these ratings and internal mechanisms of self-regulation and therapist response patterns to clients (direct, indirect, and avoidant). The primary goal of this work is to understand the relationships between these variables in order to yield information about potential profiles of providers who might engage more or less effectively in clinical and professional contexts which require culturally sensitive dialogues. The use of these methods will foster more in depth awareness of provider/patient interactions and can contribute to the enhancement of educational methods and the reduction of disparities that occur at the individual provider level. 

Diversity Grant Awardees

Sarah Bloch-Elkouby

Sarah Bloch-Elkouby, Ph.D., is a post-doctoral fellow at the Zirinsky Center for Bipolar Disorders and the Brief Psychotherapy Research Program at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital. Originally from France, she moved to Israel after high school where she attended Law School and passed the Bar Exam. However, her lifelong passion about psychology, coupled with her strong commitment to social justice and helping professions, then led her to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology that she completed at Adelphi University, in New York, under the mentorship of J. Christopher Muran. Her doctoral research focused on psychotherapy outcome assessment and treatment failure and was awarded the Sylvia Sanger Foundation Award for Psychotherapy Research. She was also awarded the Career Development Leadership Award by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America for her clinical work. Her post-doctoral work focuses on alliance ruptures and microaggressions among racially diverse dyads, as well as on the short and long term risk factors which put individuals at high risk for imminent suicidal behaviors. The Early Career Diversity Research Grant provides her with the opportunity to investigate the interpersonal dynamics reflected in and resulting from therapist-initiated racial microaggressions in the initial phase of cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Brian TaeHyuk Keum

My name is Brian TaeHyuk Keum and I am a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at the University of Maryland-College Park. I am currently completing my pre-doctoral internship at the University of Maryland’s Counseling Center. I am a scientist-practitioner-advocate with one overarching goal: make mental health services more accessible, relevant, and effective for diverse individuals in today’s society, particularly for historically marginalized groups who have been understudied and underserved in psychotherapy. To contribute to this goal, I have been developing research in the following interrelated areas: (a) development of awareness and advocacy on contemporary violence and marginalization, such as online racism, and gendered racism, (b) therapist training in multicultural competence and advocacy work, and (c) multicultural measure evaluation/development. Upon completing my Ph.D., I hope to continue working towards this goal through a career in academia.

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