Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Press Release: Robert Elliott Receives Distinguished Research Career Award, Society for Psychotherapy Research, 2008

Entry for 18 June 2008:

Robert Elliott, Professor of Counselling in the University of Strathclyde’s Faculty of Education, has been awarded the Distinguished Research Career Award for 2008 by the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR). SPR is the main international scientific organization for researchers investigating psychotherapy and counselling; founded in 1969, it has more than 1000 members, who come from more than 30 countries. It offers two awards, an early career award for researchers within 10 years of their highest degree, and a senior career award for a career of outstanding contributions to the field of psychotherapy research. “This is the highest award that a psychotherapy researcher can aspire to, and the culmination of a lifetime dream. I am absolutely delighted,” says Elliott, who came to the University of Strathclyde in 2006 to take up a chair in counselling.

Robert Elliott received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1978. He taught at the University of Toledo (Ohio, USA) from 1978 to 2006, where he was Professor of Psychology, 1988 – 2006, and where he continues as Professor Emeritus of Psychology. He has also held visiting faculty positions as Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium, 1990, 2004 - 2006), York University (Canada, 1992-93), University of Sheffield (UK, 1984-85), and La Trobe University (Australia, 1999).

A member of the Society for Psychotherapy Research since 1976, Elliott has served SPR in several capacities, including North American Chapter President (1991), co-editor of its journal Psychotherapy Research (1994-1998), Program Chair (1999-2000), President (2000-2001), and currently Chair, Scottish Local Area Group. He is co-author of Facilitating emotional change (1993, with Leslie Greenberg and Laura Rice), Learning process-experiential psychotherapy (2004, with Jeanne Watson, Rhonda Goldman, and Leslie Greenberg), and Research methods in clinical psychology (2nd ed., with Chris Barker & Nancy Pistrang), as well as more than 100 journal articles or book chapters. He is a Fellow in the Divisions of Psychotherapy and Humanistic Psychology of the American Psychological Association and winner of the 2008 Carl Rogers Award for Contributions to Humanistic Psychology. He also served on the Board of the World Association for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychology and Counseling, 2000-2003, and was Managing Editor of its journal, Person-Centered Counseling and Psychotherapy (2001 – 2006).

Elliott is best known in the psychotherapy research field as an innovator and developer of new research methods. Early in his career he promoted the use of tape-assisted recall methods for studying client and therapist moment-to-moment experiences within therapy sessions. This led to ground-breaking research on significant therapy events, during which clients experience psychological change. Elliott used tape-assisted recall of significant events to create a taxonomy of ten types of helpful therapeutic change, which was later used by Stiles and others as the basis of the Assimilation Model. The line of research on significant events led Elliott to develop qualitative, interpretive methods to analyze them. In the late 1980’s, he, Leslie Greenberg, and Laura Rice developed Process-Experiential therapy (now commonly called Emotion-Focused Therapy), an integrative humanistic therapy recently officially recognized as an Empirically Supported Therapy by the American Psychological Association’s Division of Clinical Psychology.

In the 1990’s, Elliott introduced several additional research methods, including the Revised Session Reactions Scale, Comprehensive Process Analysis, and the Change Interview. During this time he helped popularize the use systematic qualitative research methods for psychotherapy research and published an important set of guidelines for reviewing qualitative studies. He also published the first meta-analysis of outcome research on humanistic (e.g., person-centred) psychotherapies. In the past 8 years, he has introduced Hermeneutic Single Case Efficacy Design, promoted the use of Item Response Theory methods in therapy research, and has developed instruments for studying psychotherapy and counselling training.

Since moving to the University of Strathclyde two years ago, Elliott has set up a new research clinic on the Jordanhill campus, and initiated research programs on social anxiety, practice-based counselling research, and the effects of counselling training. He is involved in curriculum development for counselling research training at the PGDip, MSc and PhD levels, with support from ESRC Researcher Development Initiative; the development of a competency framework for humanistic-person-centred-experiential psychotherapies (a Department of Health Skills for Health project); promoting research in counselling and psychotherapy training centres in Europe and North America; developing practitioner-based systematic single case research (with support from an ESRC Seminar grant); and an expanded meta-analysis on the outcomes of humanistic therapies (with support from a grant from the British Association for the Person-Centred Approach). He is married and has two adult children, loves Scottish traditional music, is a science fiction fan, and enjoys running along Glasgow’s canal paths.

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