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Basic Research Findings for the Practicing Clinician
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Journal of Psychotherapy Integration: Practice-Oriented Evidence Reviews

Abstracts of available articles that have already been published or are in press appear below.

Practice-oriented evidence reviews—co-edited by Michael J. Constantino and Marvin R. Goldfried—is a recurring series in the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. This series underscores the importance of translating basic behavioral science research to the clinical situation, thus privileging both cross-discipline and science-practice integration.

The spirit of the practice-oriented evidence review is to synthesize current knowledge from a basic science realm on human behavior, and to spell out the implications of this knowledge base for practitioners and practice-focused researchers. As just a few examples, such reviews focus on the clinical implications of research on psychopathology, attributional style, close relationships, emotion, stereotyping, etc. Other possibilities might deal with intergroup conflict, neuroscience, behavioral genetics, and emotion. In addition to linking the research findings to practice, the reviews also highlight potential future research directions that lie at the interface of clinical psychology and the relevant basic behavioral science domain(s).

We envision that the practice-oriented evidence review can be authored by a knowledgeable psychotherapy researcher who is cross-trained in a basic behavioral science, or co-authored by a basic science researcher and a practitioner or student working “in the trenches.” Whatever the format, authors should structure the paper in a manner that keeps returning to the central questions:

  1. What are the most likely connections between research findings in this basic science domain and direct clinical practice?
  2. What types of future integrative research designs would best advance knowledge at the basic-applied psychology intersection?

New to this series, we will also now accept process research reviews that are written for clinicians. These reviews can focus on traditional psychotherapy process variables or process research that has followed clinical trial work, such as moderators and mediators of treatment effects. The overarching goal remains translational reviews; however, the scope can now expand beyond just basic research to also include psychotherapy process research directly written for the practicing clinician.

Although variability in length is expected based on the topic, reviews should be a maximum of 8,000 words inclusive of an abstract, references, tables, and figures. Authors should also limit their use of references in the service of highlighting the clinical implications.

Interested authors should contact either of the co-editors ( and/or to determine if their proposed paper fits the series. If so, the authors should first submit their work directly to both co-editors. If after the co-editors’ review the paper is accepted for submission, the authors will then submit the manuscript through the online portal, selecting “special section” as the paper type. For interested authors, we can also send a suggested outline template to guide preparation of the report. We look forward to your submissions!


Journal of Psychotherapy Integration
in press

Emotional Processes in Borderline Personality Disorder: An Update for Clinical Practice

Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Jessica R. Peters
Alpert Brown Medical School

Eric A. Fertuck
The City College of New York

Shirley Yen
Alpert Brown Medical School

Despite prior assumptions about poor prognosis, the surge in research on borderline personality disorder (BPD) over the past several decades shows that it is treatable and can have a good prognosis. Prominent theories of BPD highlight the importance of emotional dysfunction as core to this disorder. However, recent empirical research suggests a more nuanced view of emotional dysfunction in BPD. This research is reviewed in the present article, with a view towards how these laboratory-based findings can influence clinical work with individuals suffering from BPD.


Journal of Psychotherapy Integration
in press

Traumatic Bereavement: Basic Research and Clinical Implications

Nicole Barlé
Stony Brook University

Camille B. Wortman
Stony Brook University

Jessica A. Latack
Stony Brook University

Losing a loved one suddenly or under traumatic circumstances often leaves survivors completely overwhelmed, their lives fundamentally changed. Survivors experience what is termed traumatic bereavement, which is associated with enduring symptoms of trauma, such as intrusive thoughts, and of grief, such as yearning for the loved one. Research has found that in most cases, the symptoms associated with traumatic loss are significantly more intense and prolonged than those following a natural death. They are also more pervasive, affecting virtually all aspects of the survivor’s life. Moreover, it has also been found that survivors of traumatic loss often have difficulty accepting what has happened, struggle with issues surrounding responsibility and guilt, question their religious beliefs, worry that their loved one may have suffered, and live in fear that they or someone in their family will also die. In this article, we review basic research on the domains of life affected by a traumatic loss and the risk factors that heighten survivors’ vulnerability to traumatic bereavement. We then describe a comprehensive treatment approach, which is based on the available research on traumatic bereavement, specifically developed for survivors of sudden, traumatic loss. The treatment involves 3 critical components: building resources, processing trauma, and facilitating mourning.


Journal of Psychotherapy Integration
2016, Vol 26, No 2, 103-115

Cognitive Attributions in Depression: Bridging the Gap between Research and Clinical Practice

Liza M. Rubenstein, Rachel D. Freed, and Robert L. Fauber
Temple University

Benjamin G. Shapero
Massachusetts General Hospital

Lauren B. Alloy
Temple University

Individuals seeking treatment for depression often are struggling with maladaptive cognitions that impact how they view themselves and the world. Research on cognitive attributions that underlie depressed mood focuses on the phenomenon of negative cognitive style, in which depressed people tend to view undesirable occurrences in life as having internal, stable, and global causes. Based on research, clinicians have developed various techniques that seek to modify depressive attributions in order to alleviate symptoms of depression. In this article, the authors review the literature on attributions in depression, present clinically relevant interventions based on empirical support, provide case examples, and summarize future directions and recommendations for researchers and practitioners.


Journal of Psychotherapy Integration
2016, Vol 26, No 2, 91-102

Perceived Control and Mindfulness: Implications for Clinical Practice

Francesco Pagnini
Harvard University and Universita` Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Katherine Bercovitz
Harvard University

Ellen Langer
Harvard University

A broad range of studies conducted over the past 50 years suggest that perceived control is an important construct to physical health and psychological well-being. When people feel that they can exert control, they demonstrate better immune responses, cardiovascular functioning, physical strength, increased longevity, increased life satisfaction, and decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms. The authors discuss how perceived control can be understood through lens of mindfulness without meditation. In this framework, mindfulness is defined as the act of noticing new things, a process that promotes flexible responding to the demands of the environment. It is the opposite of mindlessness, which describes the overreliance on previously learned categories. Both lack of perceived control and mindlessness are rooted in rigidity and a view of the world as unchangeable. The authors present insights into how clinicians can use Langerian mindfulness to improve the perception of control, and therefore well-being, in their clients.


Journal of Psychotherapy Integration
2016, Vol 26, No 2, 116-128

An Integrative Theory of Psychotherapy: Research and Practice

Seymour Epstein
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Martha L. Epstein
Park City, Utah

A dual-process personality theory and supporting research are presented. The dual processes comprise an experiential system and a rational system. The experiential system is an adaptive, associative learning system that humans share with other higher-order animals. The rational system is a uniquely human, primarily verbal, reasoning system. It is assumed that when humans developed language they did not abandon their previous ways of adapting, they simply added language to their experiential system. The 2 systems are assumed to operate in parallel and are bidirectionally interactive. The validity of these assumptions is supported by extensive research. Of particular relevance for psychotherapy, the experiential system, which is compatible with evolutionary theory, replaces the Freudian maladaptive unconscious system that is indefensible from an evolutionary perspective, as subhuman animals would then have only a single system that is maladaptive. The aim of psychotherapy is to produce constructive changes in the experiential system. Changes in the rational system are useful only to the extent that they contribute to constructive changes in the experiential system.

Seymour Epstein passed away shortly before this article appeared


Journal of Psychotherapy Integration
2015, Vol. 25, No. 2, 59–70

I-Sharing on the Couch: On the Clinical Implications of Shared Subjective Experience

Elizabeth C. Pinel University of Vermont

Samantha L. Bernecker University of Massachusetts–Amherst

Nolan M. Rampy University of Vermont

When 2 or more people believe that they are having an identical subjective experience, they believe that they “I-share.” I-sharing fosters connectedness (Pinel, Long, Landau, Alexander, & Pyszczynski, 2006), overcomes group boundaries (Pinel & Long, 2012), and facilitates prosocial behaviors (Huneke & Pinel, 2015; Johnson, Pinel, & Long, 2014). After reviewing the construct of I-sharing, the related construct of existential isolation, and the pertinent data, we highlight applications of this work to the clinical realm. In particular, we consider the potential for I-sharing to improve the therapeutic alliance, extratherapeutic relationships, and treatment outcomes.


JPI Abstracts of Basic Research Reviews for the Practicing Clinician

Journal of Psychotherapy Integration
2014, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1–12

The Problem Is My Partner: Treating Couples When One Partner
Wants the Other to Change

Kieran T. Sullivan
Santa Clara University

Joanne Davila
Stony Brook University

Partners commonly present to couple therapy expecting that the relationship will only improve if their partner changes. In other words, the partner is the problem. In this article, the authors review research on people’s capacity for change, the process of behavior change, and personality change, especially the role of attachment theory. They then review techniques for working with couples based on empirically validated approaches to couple therapy and general change principles in therapy. Finally, the
authors present a case study and recommendations for working with change-demanding couples, emphasizing the importance of focusing on emotional acceptance.


Journal of Psychotherapy Integration
2014, Vol. 24, No. 3, 155–167

Basic Science and Clinical Application of the Contrast Avoidance Model in Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Michelle G. Newman
The Pennsylvania State University

Sandra J. Llera
Towson University

Thane M. Erickson
Seattle Pacific University

Amy Przeworski
Case Western Reserve University

The Contrast Avoidance model (Newman & Llera, 2011) proposes that individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are excessively sensitive to negative emotional shifts (contrasts) in response to unpleasant events, and thus recruit a state of sustained intrapersonal negativity via worry as a defensive stance against such shifting states. Here we review the basic science related to environmental, psychological, and biological risk factors in the development of such emotional sensitivities in GAD, and present evidence supporting the position that worry and maladaptive interpersonal styles are employed as defensive strategies to protect against emotional contrasts. We present 2 case examples to elucidate these issues, as well as to introduce specific clinical recommendations for targeting and treating these behaviors. Suggestions for future avenues of research are also discussed.



For more on closing the gap between research and practice, click
visit the The Two-Way Bridge Between Research & Practice website, where practicing therapists have disseminated their clinical observations on important issues that can be investigated by the researcher.


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