Portland Psychotherapy Internal Grant Program

 


Purpose of the grant program

The purpose of the Portland Psychotherapy Internal Grant program is to provide financial support for innovative and original research projects of high quality and potential. The aim of the funds is to support investigations that would otherwise not occur and to encourage innovation in research. Employees of Portland Psychotherapy and their direct collaborators are eligible to apply for grant awards through this program. Grants are awarded through the Research Lab at Portland Psychotherapy and are an expression of the Portland Psychotherapy mission. Grants are made possible by Portland Psychotherapy’s unique model for combining science and the pratice of psychology.

 


2016 Grant Awards

The Dalai Luoma Portland Psychotherapy Behavioral Science Research Grant/Award

Perspective Taking and Theory of Mind II
Principal Investigator: Paul Guinther, Ph.D.

Amount: $4,172.31

Summary: According to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a major part of improving mental health involves teaching the skills of flexible perspective taking. Perspective taking is a fairly wide-ranging collection of learnable behavior that facilitates communication, empathy and understanding, compassion, mindfulness, and healthy relationships. While having a more fixed or rigid point of view limits contact with other people and new experiences, being able to flexibly and nondefensively see things from multiple different points of view helps develop a bigger picture, and opens opportunities for healing, growth, and connection. While there are already a number of therapeutic ACT tools that help people more fully develop their perspective taking skills, ACT scientists are always looking for more effective interventions. Sometimes scientists research complex ideas that are already out there to see how well they actually work when applied, and other times scientists try to develop new ideas from the ground up using basic building blocks. Because very little basic research has been conducted on perspective taking, Dr. Guinther has been running experiments at Portland Psychotherapy to try to determine the primitive elements underlying complex perspective taking behavior. He believes the elements he has identified to be novel, meaning they have not been accounted for by existing explanatory frameworks. Dr. Guinther is therefore using his grant allocation to support the scholarly work of developing a new framework for understanding perspective taking, and he will be writing journal articles on the topic so his findings and framework can be shared with and considered by members of the broader scientific community.

Exposure and Response Prevention with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for the Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Single Case Design Study – Phase 2

Principal Investigator: Brian Thompson, Ph.D.

Amount: $3358.85

Summary: The treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) with the greatest research support is called Exposure and Response (or Ritual) Prevention (ERP). ERP involves deliberately confronting situations and thoughts that trigger OCD-related fears and learning to refrain from rituals in response to those fears. A newer treatment with some good initial research support is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a mindfulness and acceptance-based treatment that involves developing awareness of and acceptance towards uncomfortable inner experiences while engaging in meaningful action. As the field is moving beyond evidence-based treatments towards evidence-based processes, we are interested in whether ACT works through different processes (e.g., acceptance) than ERP (i.e., extinction, habituation) to assess any unique contribution(s) of ACT to treatment. A second aim is more pragmatic: as most research-based ERP protocols require 90-120 minute sessions, I have developed a 45-minutes session protocol that I hope is effective while being less burdensome to clients in terms of time and money.This study asks that participants complete daily process measures across an 18-session treatment in order to track whether the introduction of ACT interventions impacts different therapeutic processes than ERP. Tracking these processes may also provide insight into whether ACT interventions may enhance ERP. We hope this study helps increase our understanding of and improve our precision with interventions for OCD.

 


2015 Grant Awards

Aaron S. Luoma Portland Psychotherapy Behavioral Science Research Grant/Award

Perspective Taking and Theory of Mind

Principal Investigator: Paul Guinther, Ph.D.

Amount: $4050.77

Summary: Behavioral therapists are becoming increasingly aware of the important role that perspective taking abilities can have in promoting mental health. While severe deficits in perspective taking abilities are evident in disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, enhanced perspective taking abilities are thought to play important roles in promoting exceptional empathy, compassion, and psychological flexibility. A number of interventions are therefore being developed to enhance perspective taking abilities, and for the most part these interventions borrow from Buddhist traditions or are otherwise informed by applied research validating their effectiveness. The present line of research aims to take what is already known about basic learning principles to see if they can be used to influence perspective-taking behavior in healthy adults. It involves measuring pre-experimental perspective taking abilities as well as the training and testing of new perspective taking behavior in an experimental computerized learning task. It is hoped that the research will help identify the types of basic learning experiences that are necessary to influence perspective taking behavior, and that this knowledge will be helpful to other researchers and therapists in developing more effective therapeutic interventions.

CBT-I Sleep Calculator

Principal Investigator: Scott Rower, Ph.D.

Amount: $840.00

Summary: In the field of behavioral sleep medicine (BSM), the sleep diary is an essential and ubiquitous tool.  Efforts have been made to unite the community on a central standard sleep diary form, however there have not yet been any advances in providing practitioners with a common and easy to use interface for this standard despite the fact that accurate and easy to understand data analysis is crucial for treatment decision making.

This has left providers stuck with the task of calculating sleep data in inefficient ways such as by pen and paper or ‘re-inventing the wheel’ by creating their own means of calculating and tracking the data via MS excel or MS access. Large amounts of time and creativity are lost as people’s efforts to tackle this problem are not shared with the community.  The solution proposed in this application is the creation of a simple and accessible user interface based on the standardized consensus sleep diary.  This freely available webpage will allow any provider the ability to calculate their patient’s sleep data.

Exposure and Response Prevention with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for the Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Single Case Design Study – Phase 1

Principal Investigator: Brian Thompson, Ph.D.

Amount: $4389.71

Summary: The treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) with the greatest research support is called Exposure and Response (or Ritual) Prevention (ERP). ERP involves deliberately confronting situations and thoughts that trigger OCD-related fears and learning to refrain from rituals in response to those fears. A newer treatment with some good initial research support is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a mindfulness and acceptance-based treatment that involves developing awareness of and acceptance towards uncomfortable inner experiences while engaging in meaningful action. This study asks that participants complete daily process measures across an 18-session treatment in order to track whether the introduction of ACT interventions impacts different therapeutic process than ERP. Tracking these processes may also provide insight into whether ACT interventions may enhance ERP. We hope this study helps increase our understanding of and improve our precision with interventions for OCD.

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Grant Criteria

Eligibility

Eligible individuals are Portland Psychotherapy staff and their direct collaborators.  

Topics

Applications for grants on any topic within the domain of contextual behavioral science (CBS) and evidence-based psychotherapy are eligible for support.

Funding Scheme Aims

The aim of these awards is to provide financial support for innovative and original research projects of high quality and potential. The choice of theme and the design of the research rest entirely with the applicant (the Principal Investigator). The grants will provide funding for costs directly related to the proposed research (e.g. programming costs, participant payment, etc.). Furthermore, grants may provide salary support for the Principal Investigator and support research staff engaged on the project. Institutional F&A expenses will not be covered.

Grant applications are reviewed on the following criteria:

1. Importance:

  • Lead to professional presentations and publications.
  • Impact the behavior of clinicians, academicians, trainers, or policy makers.
  • Exhibit strong, sound, and valid research methods (e.g., design or scholarly approach).
  • Exhibit innovative methods (e.g., use of novel design, analyses, or scholarly approach).
  • Advance the purposes and aims of the Research Lab at Portland Psychotherapy and support the Portland Psychotherapy mission.

2. Likelihood of achieving goals described in the application: 

  • Involve investigators with a demonstrated history of follow-through on prior internal grant agreements.
  • Provide reasonable estimates of time and money requirements; can be completed within the specified parameters of the application.
  • As necessary, involve other collaborators (e.g., with special statistical skills) or collaborating organizations (e.g., providing equipment, infrastructure, or other resources) that would be required for project completion or that would otherwise enhance the probability of success.

3. Egalitarian need (i.e., fairness):

  • Involve research that is not likely to be funded at present by an alternative source.
  • Involve investigators who have previously been passed over for internal grant funding (i.e., for reasons other than rejected proposals or poor follow-through on prior grant agreements).