The McGill Psychotherapy Process Research Group has merged with the McGill Health Psychology Research Group, and is now the Science and Practice in Psychology (SAPP) research group.

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The MPPRG consists of established researchers and graduate (Master’s and Doctoral) students who conduct research in mental health. Our research focuses on the following topics:

Process and Outcome of Psychotherapy

Our data are generated during psychotherapy sessions using quantitative and qualitative measures of therapeutic process completed by psychotherapists, clients/patients, and trained external observers or raters who analyze the treatments. Most of our research examines the natural unfolding of psychotherapeutic treatments as delivered by either experienced clinicians or clinicians in training, depending on the study. As such, we aim to determine and understand how the therapist and patient have an effect on one another, what psychotherapists do in therapy, why they do it at any given point in time, and what effect that has on the patient, and ultimately on outcome.

Variables that we have examined include for example therapist interventions and techniques, the therapeutic alliance, emotional expression and experiencing, diverse indices of psychopathology, general functioning, satisfaction, and psychological functioning (including diagnoses, symptoms, cognitive processing, defensive functioning, coping, interpersonal functioning and interpersonal patterns), and treatment outcome.

Researchers in the MPPRG are from diverse theoretical schools and backgrounds. As such, our research examines different forms and models of psychotherapy, including psychodynamic psychotherapies, cognitive behavioral therapies, experiential therapies, and psychoanalysis.

Knowledge Translation and Clinician-Researcher Service Delivery

The research agenda of the MPPRG includes knowledge translation (KT). KT, as undertaken by the team, goes beyond the simple dissemination of findings through scholarly meetings and peer reviewed publications. It involves a rigorous review and analysis of the literature, and translating this material into knowledge that is reliable and readily usable by clinicians and policy makers. While there are different forms of KT, the MPPRG focuses predominantly on practice guidelines.

Concurrent with this, the team also examines other means to facilitate and improve communication between researchers and practitioners, while improving treatment delivery and outcome. Examples of this include the use of progress monitoring methods by clinicians and the implementation of practice-research networks. The MPPRG conducts research on clinician and trainer knowledge about progress monitoring methods. We also examine some of the barriers and facilitators to using such methods.

In order to support the practice of clinicians, the MPPRG, in collaboration with the Science and Practice in Psychology Research Group (SAPP) and research centres across Canada, has developed a website dedicated entirely to best practice in psychotherapy. Please click here to access that website.

Service Delivery

The MPPRG, in collaboration with its partners, conducts research into different variables related to service delivery in mental health. Examples of this include studies into the professional relationships between different professionals in mental health, clinician knowledge about evidence based interventions and effective practice, and access to psychotherapy. More specifically, the team examines the types of services offered outside the public health sector, and the types of clientele that are seen in private practice. With our partners, we also conducts research on the cost-effectiveness of psychotherapy, and the need to facilitate access to psychotherapeutic services for all those in need. Numerous studies have indeed shown that low income is an important barrier to accessing adequate psychological treatments. Access to psychological therapies should be based on needs, not income. Furthermore, because patient preferences can have an important effect on treatment outcome, researchers from the MPPRG believe that adding psychotherapy to the repertoire of treatments routinely available would be truly beneficial.



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