Psychotherapy Bulletin

Psychotherapy Bulletin

Congratulations to the Society For the Advancement of Psychotherapy 2019 Student Paper Award Winners

Diversity Award Winner

Alayna Park, MA, C.Phil, is a fifth-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), working under the mentorship of Dr. Bruce Chorpita. She is currently completing her pre-doctoral internship at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System. Her research focuses on improving the quality and effectiveness of public sector mental health services for traditionally underserved communities through innovations in clinical decision-making. For her doctoral dissertation, Ms. Park investigated strategies for improving the utility of evidence-based treatments for the diverse youth referred for community mental health services. Her work has been recognized with awards from UCLA, the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), the American Psychological Association (APA), the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology (SSCP), the Society for Implementation Research Collaboration (SIRC), and the Delaware Project.

Abstract: Provider Perceptions About Engaging Underserved Populations in Community Mental Health Services

Alayna Park, MA, C.Phil
Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program
University of California, Los Angeles

Youth and families from traditionally underserved groups are not only less likely to have access to high quality mental health services compared with the general U.S. population but are also less likely to fully participate in psychotherapy once enrolled. To maximize the benefits of psychotherapy for underserved youth and families, it is important to identify barriers to treatment engagement as well as feasible and sustainable strategies for improving engagement. This study explored community mental health providers’ perceptions about barriers and facilitators to engaging underserved populations in psychotherapy. Providers (N=55) employed by a large community mental health and welfare agency completed semi-structured interviews that asked about perceived barriers and solutions to engaging traditionally underserved youth and families. Responses were coded using an iterative thematic analysis based on grounded theory methods that is common for mental health services qualitative research studies. Results revealed that many providers endorsed difficulties with building rapport and encouraging consistent treatment attendance with ethnic minority youth as well as with families receiving social services. Many providers believed that client-provider racial and linguistic matching, engagement practices (e.g., accessibility promotion), and implementation supports facilitated engagement, but these views were not unanimous. Some providers reported feeling uncertain about what they could do to engage underserved youth and families. Providers perceived an agency and service system culture focused on productivity to be detrimental to client engagement and endorsed feeling largely powerless to help families navigate stressors stemming from the sociopolitical environment (e.g., immigration concerns). Findings shed light on providers’ perceived barriers to delivering high-quality care to underserved communities and illuminate potential engagement strategies. Although further research is needed to continue exploring engagement concerns and effective solutions with traditionally underserved communities, the current findings may serve as a useful guide for informing promising intervention directions.

Park, A. L., Boustani, M. M., Saifan, D., Gellatly, R., Letamendi, A., Stanick, C., … Chorpita, B. F. (Under review). Community mental health professionals’ perceptions about engaging underserved populations.

Donald K. Freedheim Student Development Award Winner

João Francisco Barreto is currently completing his PhD in Psychology supervised by Paula Mena Matos at the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Porto, Portugal, and is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Students Support Service at the School of Health, Polytechnic Institute of Porto. As a researcher, he is interested in countertransference, therapist mentalization and relational processes in psychotherapy across orientations.

Abstract: Mentalizing Countertransference? A Model for Research on the Elaboration of Countertransference Experience in Psychotherapy

João Francisco Barreto
University of Porto, Portugal
Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal

In this paper we present the construct of the elaboration of countertransference experience (ECE), intended to depict the implicit and explicit psychological work to which therapists submit their experiences with clients. Through ECE, defined as a mentalizing process of a particular kind, therapists’ experiences are presumed to acquire and increase in mental quality and become available for meaning-making and judicious clinical use. We claim that such an ongoing process facilitates engagement with common therapeutic factors, such as the therapeutic alliance and countertransference management, enhancing therapist responsiveness in psychotherapy. Drawing on a literature review on countertransference, mentalization, and in particular therapists’ mentalization, we propose a model for assessing ECE in psychotherapy, comprising six diversely mentalized attitudes towards experience (factual‐concrete, abstract‐rational, projective‐impulsive, argumentative, contemplative‐mindful, and mentalizing countertransference positions) and seven dimensions of elaboration (experiencing, reflective elaboration, epistemic position, experiential groundedness, emotional differentiation, temporal focus, and internal focus). Strengths and limitations of the model are discussed.

Barreto, J. F., & Matos, P. M. (2018). Mentalizing countertransference? A model for research on the elaboration of countertransference experience in psychotherapy. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 25, 427-439.

Mathilda B. Canter Education and Training Award Winner

Kristina Clevinger is a PhD candidate in Counseling Psychology at the University of North Texas and will be completing her doctoral internship at the University of Houston. During her doctoral training, Kristina has gained clinical experience in university counseling, Division I athletics, community mental health, and pediatric health. Her clinical interests include identity development, athlete mental health, body image and disordered eating, interpersonal and relational concerns, and coping with medical/health concerns. Additionally, Kristina has developed a strong interest in clinical supervision and training through various opportunities to supervise and teach less advanced graduate trainees. Her dissertation examined the efficacy of psychological interventions during sport injury rehabilitation.

Abstract: Supervisor Self-Disclosure: Supervisees’ Perceptions of Positive Supervision Experiences

Kristina Clevinger, MS, CMPC
University of North Texas

Within clinical supervision in psychology, supervisor self-disclosure plays an important role in normalizing supervisees’ clinical experiences and process of identity development. This article explores three examples of supervisees’ experiences with supervisor self-disclosure. We discuss the circumstances surrounding supervisor self-disclosure and how it facilitated professional development and clinical competency. Each supervisee reported an existing strong supervisory relationship and experienced the disclosure as beneficial to their identity development. We recommend future research examine the impacts of supervisor self-disclosure on supervisee development. Additionally, we suggest that training on supervisor self-disclosure be more readily available and integrated into existing supervision training opportunities.

Clevinger, K., Albert, E., & Raiche, E. (2019). Supervisor self-disclosure: Supervisees’ perceptions of positive supervision experiences. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 13(3), 222-226.

Jeffrey E. Barnett Psychotherapy Research Paper Award

Elizabeth Penix is a second-year graduate student in Idaho State University’s clinical psychology doctoral program. Prior to her graduate studies, she worked as a research assistant at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) on projects related to mental health risks among U.S. Army populations, psychotherapy treatment-seeking, and evidence-based practices. In her current work with her collaborators at WRAIR and her advisor at Idaho State University, she has continued to pursue her research interests in military populations, evidence- based practices, and process and outcome research.

Abstract: Client and Therapist Agreement in Moment-to-Moment Helpfulness Ratings in Psychotherapy: A Micro-Process Approach

Elizabeth Penix
Idaho State University

The present study utilized a micro-process approach to examine client-therapist agreement in moment-to-moment helpfulness ratings in psychotherapy and evaluate whether agreement was associated with the therapeutic alliance. Clients (n = 16) and their therapists (n = 10) from a psychology department training clinic provided moment-to-moment helpfulness ratings while reviewing a video recording of one of their recent sessions. Clients and therapists completed alliance measures separately. Client-therapist agreement was examined using 3 methods: absolute difference between mean ratings (discrepancy), sum of mean ratings (pooled sum), and correlation between moment-to-moment ratings (congruence). On average, clients and therapists rated session content similarly. However, the mean standard deviation of moment-to-moment ratings was greater for clients than therapists (d = 0.52), highlighting the variability in client perceptions within a session. Discrepancy was positively associated with client-rated session alliance (r = .60); congruence was positively associated with client-rated global alliance (r = .52). Pooled sums were not associated with either. Agreement was not associated with therapist-rated session or global alliance. Within-session changes in client and therapist perceptions illustrate the research utility of within-session approaches and clinical utility of monitoring perceptions on a within-session level. Further, findings suggest that facilitating therapist attunement to clients’ perceptions may enhance the alliance.

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