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SEPI Dissertation Award
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Graduate students who are (a) SEPI student members, (b) not members of the SEPI research committee, and (c) had a dissertation proposal approved by their university, but have not yet completed the project at the time of submission, are eligible. The topic of the dissertation must be related to psychotherapy integration—the integration of different theoretical orientations and/or the integration of research and practice. This $1,000 monetary award can be used for any purpose related to the dissertation, such as materials, instruction, or conference participation. Doctoral students can nominate themselves or can be nominated by any SEPI member. Awardees will summarize their work at a SEPI conference once the dissertation is complete.

The 2018 winner of the dissertation award is Samantha L. Bernecker, Ph.D. Samantha is currently a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst doctoral program (mentor and nominator, Michael Constantino), and is a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University. Her dissertation title is “Testing a skills training course for use in a peer-delivered mental health intervention” and focuses on the development and initial testing of a novel common factors intervention aimed at expanding the reach of  mental health intervention through peer counseling. Samantha independently devised a project to develop and test a novel intervention aimed at improving mental health, which she has termed “crowdsourcing mental health” (CMH). This included an online course that she developed for teaching members of a dyad how to “deliver” empirically supported integrative mental health interventions to each other in a peer-counseling program. Notably, Samantha received a prestigious pre-doctoral dissertation fellowship, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support this innovative work. Sam has been remarkably impressive and productive for someone at such an early stage in one’s career, and she has an extraordinary grasp of the psychotherapy literature. We have no doubt that she will continue to make a substantial impact on psychotherapy integration.

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