The Center for Psychotherapy Research is a part of the Department of Psychology at the Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Brno. It is devoted to the realization of research projects, as well as bridging the worlds of research and practice, in psychotherapy and counseling.
Main areas of research
Psychotherapy process and outcome monitoring
Psychotherapy is an expert activity that requires constant assessment and decision-making on the part of the therapist. We are developing an online monitoring and feedback tool that will allow for automated analysis of session audio recordings, as well as for the administration and evaluation of process and outcome questionnaires. Our aim is to develop an application that will provide therapists with useful and comprehensible feedback on their work. An experimental version of the application is available at DeePsy.cz.
Psychotherapy in psychosomatics
We study the effectiveness of psychotherapy in patients with medically unexplained somatic symptoms and change processes that mediate this effect. We are also interested in patients' experience of being in psychotherapy, as well as psychotherapists' experience of treating these patients. In answering these questions, we combine quantitative and qualitative methodology.
Side effects of psychotherapy
We study adverse effects of psychotherapy using both qualitative and quantitative methods. We are interested, for instance, in what kind of moments or aspects of psychotherapy are identified as adverse by clients. We also examine which variables, such as the initial impairment or the quality of working alliance, can predict the occurrence of side effects.
Case study methodology
Case study is a natural and easily understandable way of generating and communicating knowledge about the psychotherapy process. We strive to develop this form of research in various contexts and using diverse methods.
Psychotherapist training and development
We are especially interested in how psychotherapists become integrative and how they develop their personal therapeutic approaches. We have explored this process in a series of qualitative studies and we continue to study this area further. We also continue in conducting studies on psychotherapy trainings focusing, for instance, on psychotherapist competencies and trainee experience of the training process.
Adaptation of research instruments
One of the reasons for a slow development of psychotherapy research in the Czech Republic is a lack of measurement instruments available in the Czech language. We have translated a number of measures and we continue in their psychometric evaluation. In doing so, we collaborate with the authors of the measures wherever possible. The list of adopted measures is available in the Czech version of the website.
We conduct surveys to explore and describe current psychotherapy practice in the Czech Republic. For instance, we have conducted a survey among psychotherapists on the use of psychotherapy techniques, change principles, and other aspects of practice. We also did a survey in the general population to explore perceived obstacles in entering psychotherapy.
Psychotherapists are often not well prepared to face intense emotions that arise in the contact with their clients. By ignoring their own emotional reactions they increase the risk of the burnout syndrome and also the risk of harming their client. We study the processes and strategies psychotherapists can use in dealing with their own in-session emotions, as well as their impact on the therapeutic process.