Research Programs

Psychotherapy Research Program at Harvard Medical School’s
Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center

Kristin Osborn, MA, LMHC, Current Director

This research program focuses on analyzing and improving the effectiveness of psychotherapy through intensive analysis of videotaped psychotherapy sessions. The work builds on 18 years of programmatic study of Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. Two clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of the Affect Phobia model at termination of treatment and two-year followup (Winston et. al., 1994) and, from the Norwegian Technical University in Trondheim, (Svartberg et al., Am J Psychiatry, 2004).  

Leigh McCullough founded this research program in 1997 and served as Director until 2008. During this period, Nat Kuhn and Stuart Andrews served as her Co-Director. In 2008, Leigh McCullough accepted her position as Director of Research at Modum Bad Psychiatric Hospital in Norway and asked Kristin Osborn to assume her role as Director. 

From 1997-2007, this research group developed the Therapeutic Achievement Objectives Scale (ATOS) and analysed hours of psychotherapy sessions. During this period the research group worked closely with Jakob Valen and colleagues at the Norwegian Technical University in Trondheim where the inspiration for an on-line training tool was discovered and led to the development of ATOS-Trainer. 

From 2007-2016, this research group developed the ATOS-Trainer and four more coding scales, ATOS-Therapist, Accessibility, Congruence/InCongruence and The Control Mastery Scale. These scales helped launch a 5 year study on the non-verbal interplay between clinician and clients. A book has been written about this project, Paraverbal Communication in Psychotherapy: Beyond the Words  (Donovan, J., Osborn, K., Rice, S., (2016). 

In 2016, Kristin Osborn and Katie van Dorn of Adelphia University are launching a research study that focuses on Therapist Affect Phobia and Patient Outcome. 

Ronete CohenResearch