Adelphi University: Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Process and Outcome Research Team

Hilsenroth, M. (2007). A programmatic study of short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy: Assessment, process, outcome and training. Psychotherapy Research, 17, 31-45.
Hilsenroth, M.J., Cromer, T., & Ackerman, S. (2012). How to make practical use of therapeutic alliance research in your clinical work. In Levy, R. A., Ablon, J. S., & Kächele, H (Eds.). Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Research: Evidence-Based Practice and Practice-Based Evidence. (pp. 361-380). New York: Humana Press.
Kuutmann, K., & Hilsenroth, M. (2012), Exploring in-session focus on the patient-therapist relationship: Patient characteristics, process and outcome. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 19, 187-202.


The goals of this ongoing treatment program incorporate an evaluation of interrelated issues regarding psychological assessment, psychotherapy process, treatment outcome and clinical training (see Hilsenroth, 2007 for full description).


The design of this treatment program is primarily an effectiveness model that has integrated the assessment and technique/training aspects of an efficacy model within a naturalistic setting. The participants utilized in this program are patients admitted for individual psychotherapy at a university-based, community outpatient psychological clinic. Patients are accepted into treatment regardless of disorder or comorbidity and assigned to treatment clinicians in an ecologically valid manner.


Patient characteristics, psychotherapy process, technique and treatment outcomes are all evaluated from three perspectives including: patient self-report, therapist ratings, and independent raters using videotape. These measures are administered longitudinally: prior to beginning treatment, at different (standardized) points during the treatment, and at the termination of treatment. Treatment consists of once or twice weekly, videotaped sessions of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.


In this program treatment manuals are utilized for intensive training in technique. However, these manuals are used to aid, inform, and guide the treatment rather than to prescribe it. Thus, therapists are encouraged to provide the interventions in an optimally responsive manner. Advanced graduate students enrolled in an American Psychological Association approved Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program provide therapy in this project. Each therapist receives weekly superivison in both individual and group format that focuses heavily on the review of videotaped case material and technical interventions.


This research program integrates the rigor of assessment and technique training components of an efficacy model within an effectiveness design to exam clinical processes and outcomes of Psychodynamic psychotherapy from multiple perspectives. Incorporation of these efficacy features in a naturalistic treatment setting allows for the examination of therapy process that is more generalizable to applied clinical practice.

Additionally, this program is distinctive in that it was one of the first to examine the effects of a psychological assessment process itself on the ensuing treatment. Limitations include the absence of a control group and the use of graduate clinicians as therapists.


Dr. Mark J. Hilsenroth

Derner Institute, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY 11530-0701