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Physiological evidence for the efficacy of Transference Focused Psychotherapy

Dr. Mark F. Lenzenweger of Binghamton University and colleagues recently published hopeful findings in regards to the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. Investigators took functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of ten women with BPD before and after a 12-month Transference Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) treatment. Results indicate that there is a significant relationship between TFP and cognitive-emotional improvements insomuch that the women’s brain scans showed activation increases in cognitive control areas and activation decreases in areas of emotional reactivity.

Dr. Levy and Dr. Kristen Kelly recently mentioned in VICE Australia article

This month VICE Australia highlighted Dr. Levy and Dr. Kelly’s 2010 article Sex differences in jealousy: A contribution from attachment theory . While the main premise of the article was to discuss the evolutionary explanations for sex differences in jealousy, the author incorporated Dr. Levy and Dr. Kelly’s work on the influence of attachment on jealous behavior. They found that individuals with dismissing attachment styles are more often distressed by sexual infidelity, while secure and anxious attachment styles find emotional infidelity more hurtful. The VICE Australia article, “Why Does Evolution Want Infidelity to Hurt So Much?” can be found VICE webpage.

Dr. Levy to make Keynote presentation at the BACP 2016 Research Conference

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s (BACP) 2016 Research Conference Brighton, United Kingdom, May 20 -21, 2016
Dr. Levy has been invited to make a keynote presentation at the 22nd Annual British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s (BACP) Research Conference this coming May. The over-arching theme of the 2016 conference is ‘Research matters: Evidence for an evolving profession’, which Dr. Levy will relate to his extensive work with treatment of personality disorders, specifically borderline personality disorder. More information about the conference and Dr. Levy’s keynote presentation may be found here.

A Busy Conference Instore for Dr. Levy

APA Division 39 Research Award Symposium and Invited Panel Presentation Atlanta, Georgia, April 6 – 10, 2016
This April Dr. Levy will travel to Atlanta, Georgia for the 36th Annual Spring Meeting of the APA Division of Psychoanalysis (39), with the theme, ‘Hot and bothered: Coming together without falling apart’. There, he will participate in a Division 39 Research Award Symposium with Andrew Gerber, Ph.D. in honor of Miriam Steele, Ph.D. Dr. Levy will also present a panel, How Evidence about Interpretative and Reflective Processes Impacts What we know about Clinical Process, moderated by Diana Diamond, Ph.D. The conference has an exciting line up of presentations and speakers in the works for April!

In Honor of Sidney Blatt, Ph.D.

Annual Convention of the Society for Personality Assessment Chicago, Illinois, March 9 - 13, 2016
Dr. Levy and colleagues John Auerbach, Ph.D and David Zuroff, Ph.D. have been chosen to speak during the Marguerite R. Hertz Memorial Presentation in memory in Sid Blatt during the 2016 Annual Convention of the Society for Personality Assessment. Sidney Blatt, Ph.D. was a graduate school mentor and close friend of Dr. Levy. Visit the SPA website for more information about the conference.

Exploratory Workshop on the Horizon

Swiss National Science Foundation International Exploratory Workshop Lausanne, Switzerland, February 3 - 5, 2016
The Swiss National Science Foundation will be hosting an International Exploratory Workshop week in Lausanne, Switzerland, from February 3 – 5, 2016. At the workshops, Dr. Levy is scheduled to present on his work exploring the ‘Mechanisms of Change in Treatments of Personality Disorders: State of the Art’. More in-depth workshop-specific information may be accessed here.

Dr. Levy presents Keynote in Switzerland

Dr. Levy recently traveled to Lausanne, Switzerland where he was invited to give a keynote at CHUV Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois. His keynote address was entitled: The treatment of borderline personality disorder: Empirical and ethical considerations.

Tracy Clouthier Receives Federal Grant

A huge congratulations is in order for Tracy Clouthier who is the recipient of a Doctoral Research Scholarship (B2) from the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture [Quebec Research Fund - Society and Culture]. It will provide funding for her for up to three years. Tracy is the fourth graduate student from the lab to receive a federal grant for their dissertation research!

Dr. Levy Gives Talk in Copenhagen

On May 28th, Dr. Levy traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, to present a talk on treatment for borderline personality disorder, titled “Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder: Ethical, Clinical, and Empirical Considerations.” He was invited by the University of Copenhagen, where he also had the opportunity to serve on Hannah Katznelson’s Ph.D. dissertation committee.

2015 Congratulations and Graduation Announcements


Several members of the lab are leaving us this year. Some have graduated and others are going on to graduate programs in the fall. We would like to congratulate them all on where they are headed and for some of their achievements during their last year at Penn State.


Lauren Lipner

Congratulations to former lab manager Lauren Lipner for accepting her invitation to Adelphi University’s Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology. Lauren will be working with Dr. J. Christopher Muran, who studies ruptures and repairs in the therapeutic alliance in psychotherapy.


Colin Carey

Congrats as well to former lab manager Colin Carey who will be attending the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology at The California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego (part of the Alliant University system). Their program is very strong among other professional school programs and he will be working with researchers such as Dr. Irwin Rosenfarb and Dr. Veronica Perez. We hope he enjoys his time on the West Coast!


Brittani Hollern

We are also excited to announce that former lab manager Brittani Hollern will be attending Eastern Michigan University’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program where she will be working with Dr. Alissa Huth-Bocks who’s research focuses include early developmental psychopathology, parenting, and attachment relationships.

There are a handful of other lab members we would like to congratulate on graduating and thank for their hard work over the past few years. We wish you the best of luck on your future endeavors: Ana-Sophia Ross, Julie Meinert, Alyssa Spaw, Sydney Risley, and Jessica Berry.

We would like to further congratulate former lab manager Ana-Sophia Ross who won third place in the social science category at the Undergraduate Exhibition where she presented her honors thesis. Ana also received the department's Mona Shibley Bird Award given every year to an outstanding graduating senior!

Congrats also to former Training Coordinator Julie Meinert who received an honorable mention for the University Libraries Award for Information Literacy at the Undergraduate Exhibition for her thesis research.

New 2015-2016 Lab Managers and Coordinators

We are proud to announce that Joanna Pantelides, Caroline Gooch, and Megan Parker have been selected to be our 2015-2016 lab managers. Their notable dedication to the lab has proved them worthy of their new roles and we cannot wait to see all that they will accomplish.

We would also like to congratulate all of our new coordinators, Carrie Rein, Madison Altmyer, and Jackie Proszynski, who will be assisting the lab managers throughout the year with a variety of lab responsibilities.

Christina Temes Matches at Mass General for Pre-Doctoral Internship

Congratulations to Christina Temes, M.S, M,Phil., who matched at Massachusetts General Hospital's (MGH) prestigious pre-doctoral clinical psychology internship site at Harvard Medical School. MGH is one of the most sought-after and competitive internships in the country and offers state of the art training and scholarship opportunities in psychotherapy and assessment.

Christina joins a long line of successful internship applicants from the Levy Lab. Lori Scott and Joe Beeney both matched at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Both Rachel Wasserman and Bill Ellison matched at Harvard Medical School internship sites, Rachel at Cambridge Hospital and Bill at Massachusetts Mental Health.

Nationally there is an internship crisis in psychology with 20-25% (800-1,000 students) not matching. All of the graduate students from our lab have matched and typically at their first or second choice institution!

Congratulations, Christina!

Kevin Meehan Recently Interviewed by The Atlantic

In January, Kevin Meehan, Ph.D., a former graduate alumni and current associate professor at Long Island University, was interviewed and quoted in The Atlantic for his knowledge of the Rorschach Inkblot test. The Rorschach is one of the most frequently used projective tests in Japan, as it gives the patient the ability to answer questions in a very open manner, leading away from methods that utilize right or wrong answers. It is a tool that mental health specialists are trained to use consistently in therapy. Japanese use of the Rorschach has a long history which dates back to 1925, and the acceptance of the Rorschach test among the Japanese is so popular that 52 percent of the International Rorschach Society is Japanese. However, in the United States, the test has been criticized and viewed as unreliable by many mental health professionals. Meehan provides some explanation of the Rorschach: “The reason patients would be given the Rorschach, as part of a larger assessment battery, is if it’s not clear why they’re struggling.” Patients typically use emotional self-evaluations in therapy, Meehan explains: “With the Rorschach, you have no idea if you’re giving a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ response. I could imagine that that test would be more appealing in a culture where there’s a greater need for social desirability.” Social desirability is important when trying to have a patient express his/her true feelings. Japan's cultural behavior emphasizes less emotional expression, making the Rorschach a good test for reading a patient's emotions. There is some speculation about the Rorschach's validity due to cross-cultural differences in perception. Even with cross-cultural perspectives, the Rorschach is not necessarily about what you see, but how you see it. Meehan explains: “It’s not really what they say; it’s more about how they pull together the image. And the how is very cross-culturally stable.”




The full article can be found at:

You can view Kevin Meehan's graduate profile here:

Dr. Kenneth Levy Recently Interviewed in the Carlat Psychiatry Report


In the November/December Carlat Psychiatry Report, Dr. Kenneth Levy was interviewed extensively on the subject of Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) for borderline personality disorder. Dr. Levy discussed what (TFP) is and how it is used to help Borderline Personality Disorder patients. He explains: "TFP is a face-to-face individual therapy that takes place twice weekly in 45 to 50 minute sessions. The focus is on reducing symptomatology that is associated with personality disorders (PD), particularly parasuicidality, suicidality, and self-destructive behaviors."

Dr. Levy was also asked questions about setting treatment frames, "When a patient starts psychotherapy, the therapist usually begins by setting a treatment frame that lays out how often you meet, when you meet, etc. -basic things." If therapy starts to work, "we see improvements in affect regulation. Patients start to be aware of disparities between what they might be saying or doing in one moment versus another—especially in the present relationship between them and the therapist" When long term treatments and therapy start to work real changes can be seen: "I have seen people recapture really good lives—lives that are consistent with their interests and their abilities."


Dr. Levy also offers additional information during this interview on (TFP) learning resources. These including the following sites:

The American Psychological Association, Borderline Disorder Institute, The International Society of Transference-Focused Psychotherapy

Click here to read the November/December issue (Dr. Levy's interview can be found on page 6).

To learn more about Dr. Kenneth Levy, click here.

Dr. Kenneth Levy presented keynote in Australia


On November, 7th Dr. Kenneth Levy presented the keynote for the 8th Annual Treatment  of Personality Disorders Conference down under! This conference took place at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He also presented full day workshops on Transference Focused Psychotherapy for Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorder on Wednesday, November 5th in Melbourne and Saturday November 8th at the University of Wollongong. The conference is organized by Project Air: A Strategy for Personality Disorders, who noted that Transference Focused Psychotherapy is one of the most important evidence-based psychotherapies for personality disorders evaluated in a number of RCTs in recent years. Pictured below from left to right: Heidi Jarman, Rachel Bailey, Brin Grenyer, Kenneth Levy, Marianne Bourke, Liesl Radloff; Row 2: Annalise Hunt, Alexandra McCarthy, Caitlin Miller.

-Project Air Strategy for Personality Disorders website:

-Project Air Strategy for Personality Disorders conferences and events page:

Former Lab Manager Featured in Newsletter May 2014!

EMU Psychology Student Sharon Nelson presents at the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (SEPI).

Former alumni Sharon Nelson was recently recognized in the May issue of the EMU Psychology Department Newsletter for her presentation at the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration conference (SEPI). Sharon attended (SEPI) as an undergraduate student and learned a lot of valuable concepts. When commenting on this she stated "One of the things that stuck with me the most was the need to be courageous in session and in therapy, which means everything from being brave and bringing up your errors or mistakes in supervision, discussing your fears with your supervisor, and not avoiding those scary therapy moments."  Sharon greatly encourages both Graduate and Undergraduate students to attend next years conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

Sharon Nelson is currently a Ph.D. student at Eastern Michigan University studying under the mentorship of Dr. Steven Huprich.

If you look closely, there are some other faculty and graduate students you may recognize!

New Levy Lab Managers

Management Crew


We are happy to reveal that Brittany HollernColin Carey, Ana-Sophia Ross, Jacqueline Proszynski, & Lauren Lipner have been chosen to be our 2014-2015 Levy Lab management crew. All five members are past lab research assistants and project coordinators. Their exemplary performance in lab as research assistants has proved them worthy of their new positions, and we trust they will exceed our expectations.

Congratulations & Good Luck!

Farewell Levy Lab Graduating Seniors

Congratulations Graduates

The Levy research lab would like to congratulate all of our seniors graduating this semester

Neil Meyer ♦ Matthew Perlman ♦ Allison Clark ♦ Jennifer Fox ♦ Kevin Medved

Jhanev Allen ♦ Lauren Lipner ♦ Sam Riley ♦ Shirley Rojas Acosta ♦ Laura Frey


Your hard working attitudes and enthusiastic personalities will be greatly missed, thank you for being such key components to our lab. We wish you the very best in the future and can't wait to see the amazing things you will surely accomplish from here on.

-Happy Graduation!-

Kate Benson Accepts Ph.D. Program Invitation

Congratulations Kate!

We are proud to announce that Kate Benson, a former Levy lab post-baccalaureate, recently accepted an offer to become a PhD candidate at Texas A&M. She will be working under the mentorship of Les MoreyDr. Morey's research interests include assessment, diagnosis and classification of personality and psychopathology, personality disorders, and alcoholism.

Congratulations Kate! We wish you lots of success and look forward to hearing about your future accomplishments as a graduate student.

To view the Levy lab alumni profiles page please click here

Lab Alum Awarded APA Public Policy Internship


Levy Lab Alum Clara Fajardo, was recently awarded the APA Public Policy Internship .The APA Public Policy Internship has as its main purpose to provide graduate students in psychology with the opportunity to learn firsthand how psychological research can impact public policy and how them as psychologists can play a role in its formulation and implementation. As internship position recipient, Clara will be spending a year at APA's Central office in Washington, D.C. working on public interest issues as part of the APA's Public Interest Government Relation's Office staff. Kudos on your accomplishments Clara!

To view the Levy lab alumni profiles page please click here


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