What works in psychotherapy?
My research is about mechanisms of change in psychotherapy, mainly about patient-therapist relationship quality and patients’ capacity for mentalization. Many psychotherapy researchers are preoccupied with finding the best treatment method, but the most common result of such studies is that different methods achieve roughly equal results. At the same time, there is a lot of room for improved effects, since on average only about half the patients in research trials show measurable improvement. To be able to improve psychotherapy I believe that it is necessary to study variables that do not differ among methods, but that may be important for outcome.
I am also interested in methods development to be better able to study cause-effect relationships even when experimental manipulation is not possible, and for studying differences between patients in which processes are most important for therapy outcome. Another area of interest is cultural differences in how psychological distress is experienced and interpreted, and what consequences this can have on the patient-therapist relationship and treatment effectiveness.