Psychotherapy Bulletin

Psychotherapy Bulletin

Strengthening International Collaboration for Advancement of Psychotherapy: A Report from the International Domain/Committee

Since its inception in 2015, the SAP (Div. 29) International Domain/Committee has actively pursued international engagement and collaboration for the purpose of advancing psychotherapy as a science, as a profession, and as a service promoting mental health for citizens and communities in the global village as well as in the United States (U.S.). Guided by the mission of the Domain, we have diligently and actively pursued our division’s interest in learning from and sharing with our international colleagues, psychotherapy scholars, and practitioners from different countries in the past eight years. In the pages to follow, we will submit to you, our division colleagues, and those who are interested in advancing psychotherapy for the diverse communities of the world, a brief report/summary of our activities. We will focus on the ongoing projects that are open for your input and/or participation. As a Division 29 Domain/Committee, we strive to represent your professional interests and to assist you on our shared journey of advancing psychotherapy. While it is impossible to include all the efforts our committee members have made in their roles, we want you to know that all our members are to be deeply appreciated for their commitment, devotion, and effort to the mission we are pursuing together. Due to time zone differences, some of our members stay up until midnight or get up as early as 5am to attend our regular committee meetings. Collectively we have made our team a supportive, friendly, and productive community.  

Goal Oriented Efforts and Projects

Our committee has made specific efforts consistent with our Domain mission through collaborative programs and projects in the following areas. We will let you know how you can get involved if you wish to at the end of each area description. 

1) Building a team of scholars, practitioners, and graduate students who are committed to the mission of the SAP International Domain and interested to serve and offer leadership toward our goals.

We have been successful in attracting leaders within and outside the United States. Currently, our international committee consists of 16 individuals from 11 countries/regions: Argentina, Guatemala, Hong Kong China, India, Israel, Mainland China, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, U.S.  

Lauren Behrman (U.S.)           

Maria del Pilar Grazioso (Guatemala)   

Alfredo Padilla-Lopez (Mexico)  

Rod Goodyear (U.S.)  

Keeyeon Bang (Korea)  

Sean Waters (South Africa)  

Changming Duan (U.S.)  

Sigal Zilcha-Mano (Israel) -on leave  

Jeff Zimmerman (U.S.)  

Patrick WL Leung (Hong Kong, China)  

Pragya Sharma (India)   

Xiubin Lin (Mainland China) 

Adil Qureshi (Spain) 

Dana Tzur Bitan (Israel) 

Javier Fernandez Alvarez (Argentina/Spain) 

Kehan Shen (international student- U.S.) 

March 2023 Committee Meeting

The committee meets regularly to plan, implement, and evaluate the various international projects. As a committee, we are open to new members from other international communities.

2) Enlarging SAP membership outside of the United States.

We have made efforts to achieve this goal at both individual and organizational levels. We intentionally invite non-U.S. scholars and practitioners to join our committee, and as a result, they become SAP members and serve as messengers/recruiters for SAP in their country/region. Moreover, we have facilitated organizational levels of collaboration between SAP and professional organizations in other countries. We have achieved one successful such collaboration, the SAP-OI (Oriental Insight – in China) Collaboration Agreement, which has led to a sizable SAP membership (over 260 presently) in China. Moreover, we have designed and implemented an active member-engagement agenda with this group (see 2022-2023 report below) aiming at all three goals identified by our Division Mission Statement. We hope to be able to advance/replicate this membership development in other parts of the world and we welcome your suggestions and participation. 

3) Creating opportunities for SAP members in the U.S. to collaborate with colleagues from non-U.S. countries.

We have done so by connecting individual SAP members with international colleagues and organizing international conference trips yearly (although not during COVID). One of the several successful programs based on individual SAP members’ collaboration with international colleagues/organizations is the long-term, systematic, and outside university clinical supervision training program, organized by the Chinese Clinical and Counseling Psychology Registration System and instructed by SAP members, Drs. Rodney Goodyear and Carol Falender. The training program has graduated over 600 first generation of clinical supervisors for China. Using international conferences as grounds for growing international collaborations, we have organized significant SAP presence at the World Congress of Psychotherapy conference in Paris, France (2017), the International Congress of Applied Psychology (ICAP) in Montreal, Canada (2018), and the Interamerican Congress of Psychology in Havana, Cuba (2019). After the break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year we attended the Society for Psychotherapy Research conference in Dublin, Ireland (2023). See below for detailed information of our SPR presentations. 

4) Helping SAP members learn internationally diverse cultural perspectives in psychotherapy practice and advancement by bringing scholarship, voice, and expertise from psychotherapists and colleagues from other countries.

There are several projects on going in this area. First, we have engaged in ongoing interviews with international scholars and have written up the interviews for SAP’s Bulletin and website. Currently, we are finishing the creation of a home-study for CE course presenting the interviews with the two 2022 winners of Distinguished Award for the International Advancement of Psychotherapy from China (Dr. Guangrong Jiang) and Argentina (Dr. Hector Fernandez Alvarez) regarding psychotherapy in cultural contexts. Each interview was conducted in the home language of the awardee, with English interpretation/caption provided. Secondly, we have initiated and established a collaborative relationship with APA Div. 42 journal, Practice Innovations, which has agreed to publish a special issue on Psychotherapy Around the World. Two of our committee members are guest editors, Drs. Dana Tzur-Bitan and Rodney Goodyear. If you are interested in contributing to this special issue, please feel free to contact the co-editors. Thirdly, we are working with Division web management team to build an International Hub on SAP Website, where we will have information on psychotherapy practice and advancement as well as SAP-connected international professional activities presented in different languages. We welcome your suggestions and contribution to make this program successful.  

5) Enhancing culturally localized research on common topics related to psychotherapy advancement by engaging researchers from different cultures and countries.

Advancing psychological science requires the involvement of diverse cultural perspectives. We have been working toward developing true international research by engaging researchers and participants from diverse countries. Currently, we are in the middle of a coordinated research project on understanding professionals and non-professionals’ attributions of mental health and illness in relation to cultural values and societal economic equality/inequality. At present, we have seven countries involved with at least one researcher from the country leading the project implementation. We look forward to having more countries/regions involved. If you are interested in joining this effort, please let us know.  

SAP Participation in 2023 SPR Conference in Dublin

As the first in-person international engagement post the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Domain/Committee decided to attend the annual convention of Society for Psychotherapy Research in Dublin, Ireland. We organized and submitted 6 conference programs, and each was accepted. The six programs, listed below, involved 43 presenters from 17 countries (Argentina, Chile, China, Germany, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States).  

Panel Presentation 1: Clinical supervision around the world  

Program Chair: Keeyeon Bang 

Discussant: Rod Goodyear 

Presenter/Topic: Adelya Urmanche/ Power dynamics in supervision, Aisling McMahon/ Supervising the supervisors: An observational, participatory action research study of meta-supervision, Sarah Luk/Peer relationship: A neglected factor in training and supervision research, Xiubin Lin/Will master’s-level training improve facilitative interpersonal skills (FIS)? A longitudinal study in China   

Panel Presentation 2: Perspectives on mental health or illness in diverse cultural contexts 

Program Chairs: Lauren Behrman & Pragya Sharma 

Discussant: Pragya Sharma 

Presenter/Topic: Alemka Tomicic/Qualitative research on the experiences of mood disorders in undergraduate students of psychology in Chile, Vânia Silva/Quality of relational processes in video conference and in-person psychotherapy during COVID-19, Keeyeon Bang/Effects of CBT group psychotherapy for anxiety reduction of South Koreans: A meta-analysis 

Panel Presentation 3: Focusing on the strengths: The activation of patient’s resources as a mechanism of change 

Program Chairs: Javier Fernández Alvarez 

Discussant: Christopher Flückiger 

Presenters: Jan Schürmann-Vengels, Ioana Podina, Ulrike Willutzki, Javier Fernández Alvarez 

Panel Presentation 4: Cultural differences in psychotherapy expectations 

Program Chairs: Dana Tzur-Bitan & Javier Fernández Alvarez 

Discussant: Michael Constantino 

Presenter/Topic: Pragya Sharma/Process expectations in India and Argentina, Dana Elberg/Process expectations in Israel, Agostino Brugnera/The predictive effect of psychotherapy expectations on therapeutic outcomes 

Structured Discussion 1: Transdiagnostic and personalized psychotherapy: Complementary or opposite approaches? 

Program Chairs: Javier Fernández Alvarez & Anna Babl  

Presenters: Zach Cohen, Shimrit Fisher, Jaime Delgadilo, Brian Schwartz, Kim de Jong, Shannon Sauer, Martin grosse Holtforth 

Structured Discussion 2: Paradigm shift in psychotherapy: Is it necessary? 

Program Chairs: Jeff Zimmerman & Changming Duan 

Presenters: Changming Duan, Harold Chui, Zac Imel, Lauren Behrman  

2022-2023 Summary of Member Engagement/Recruitment Activities in China

In order to help our Chinese SAP members feel engaged and connected with the division, our committee worked closely with OI and developed and implemented an active member-engagement agenda, including the following organized activities: 

Asking an Expert (问问专家)

Two rounds of “Asking an Expert” programs were completed in China 2022-2023. To decide on the topic, SAP members were first surveyed for clinical questions they encountered and hoped to learn more about. The most frequently raised questions were selected as the basis for this program. As the result, the first topic/theme selected was “Understanding and prevention of premature dropouts” and the second “Understanding psychotherapy integration and becoming an integrated psychotherapist.” Then identified experts (Drs. Jeffery Zimmerman, Debra Gregory, Joshua Swift, and Barbara Vivino for the first, and Drs. Beatriz Gomez and Jeffrey Magnavita for the second) provided written responses to a series of specific questions on the topic, before offering an online presentation and member interaction.  

The experts’ written responses were translated and published over professional social media to SAP members first, and after two months, the publication became available for non-members. Over 8,700 professionals in China had accessed the published material, and many of them provided comments on how helpful it was to read experts’ answers to those common practical questions they often encountered. The pictures below provide a visual image of how the information was disseminated through the WeChat social media platform. 

Online Forum (线上论坛)

We organize online forums on specific topics related to psychotherapy or mental health promotion regularly. All the experts who have provided written answers to SAP members’ questions were invited to attend an online forum in which they can deepen the discussion on the topic and engage members in discussions. Additionally, an online forum was held to address the need of mental health promotion on China’s College Student Mental Health Day.  


The five online forums offered by seven experts, SAP members from the United States, were all broadcast live and received enthusiastic responses. Over 8,300 individuals listened in, and a cumulative 682 messages/comments were received. During the live streaming, many interactive comments were shared, questions raised, and sentimental reactions expressed. Many openly expressed gratitude for having such a learning opportunity and felt they positively benefited. When the session ended, some felt “having not had enough” (意犹未尽), and inqured about how to access video playback.  

One tangible impact of these programs is the enhanced visibility of SAP in the Chinese professional community. During the live streaming of the online forum, 122 individuals added the WeChat number of the SAP China Member Operation Assistant, showing they were interested in learning more about SAP. Eventually among the 40 who applied to join SAP after the events, we approved 6 who met the membership requirements. 

Psychotherapy Article Abstract Translation (心理治疗文章摘要翻译)

OI has provided the Chinese translation of all Psychotherapy articles’ abstracts for Chinese SAP members. There have been over 80 translated abstracts available at the present time. 

Member Salon (会员沙龙)

After reading the Chinese translation of Psychotherapy articles’ abstracts, SAP members voted to select one article from each issue of the journal that they want to know more about. Then OI identifies one qualified individual who has good English comprehension to lead a sharing and discussion session on the article. Usually, the lead person would do a presentation of the major points of the article and then facilitate the member discussions. This activity has received extremely positive feedback from the SAP members and promoted the idea of science-practice integration among them.  

This member salon has been held four times online in 2022-2023 (Topics: Therapist perceived meaning in life; Challenges for psychodynamic therapists; Collaborative crisis assessment and management, and Therapists compassion, corresponding to 4 Psychotherapy articles). The salon was streamed live, and over 2,500 people watched them. A total of 207 written comments were received. 

Dissemination of Psychotherapy Bulletin Articles (文章传播)

OI has provided SAP members with Chinese translation of selected articles from Psychotherapy Bulletin. Selected articles are mostly those with practical implications, such as those related to supervision, crisis intervention, and self-care. In the past few months, eight articles have been widely distributed. This activity received positive feedback from many professionals, including clinical supervisors and mental health teachers, and some of them even shared the articles with their supervisees or students.  

Positive Impact of the Programs (活动的积极影响)

The activities described above have aroused interest in SAP among Chinese mental health professionals. Some have started following SAP and hope to join it. OI has built SAP Event Community (via WeChat) and over 700 people have joined this community. Besides our SAP members, this group of people will have priority in receiving information about our future events. We hope that those who qualify for SAP membership among this group will eventually join SAP.  


Our society, Div. 29, is one of the few APA divisions that have built an administrative structure, such as our International Domain/Committee, to promote international engagement. In the past eight years, under the leadership of SAP governance board and with the strong support from many colleagues among SAP members, our international committee members’ diligent efforts in developing and pursuing an active international engagement agenda has yielded encouraging positive results. However, we know it is only the beginning and there is a lot more that we need to continue doing to further enhance our Domain’s mission. In doing so, we welcome your perspectives and contributions. Together we can make international advancement of science, practice, and teaching of psychotherapy possible.      

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Changming Duan is a Chinese American counseling psychologist, and currently a professor of counseling psychology in the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Kansas. Her research interests include exploring the role of various variables related to culture, diversity, values, and social environment in counseling process and outcome among diverse populations. She is also involved in research specifically about psychotherapy practice in China, and mental health related issues among Chinese college students and Chinese international students.

Cite This Article

Duan, C., Behrman, L., del Pilar Grazioso, M. (2023). Strengthening International Collaboration for Advancement of Psychotherapy: A Report from the International Domain/Committee. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 58(2,3),  37-43. 



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