In his clinical and research work with seriously disturbed and economically disadvantaged adolescents and young adults, Golan Shahar, PhD, draws on multiple clinical perspectives and research methods to understand how and why his patients are predisposed to psychiatric problems. Shahar, a psychology professor at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, also embraces both office-based treatment and community practice. With such a background, it’s no surprise that Shahar’s goal as the new editor of the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration is to highlight research that transcends single-theory approaches to psychotherapy and behavior change.
“I want readers to feel that the journal is pushing their intellectual and professional envelope … and instilling enthusiasm in them to identify similarities across theoretical perspectives,” says Shahar, who began editing the journal in January.
The best way to bring together various clinical theories, says Shahar, is to bring together clinical practice and empirical data. In his own research, for example, Shahar has discovered that patients actively create the very interpersonal conditions that bring about their psychiatric symptoms. In his clinical work, therefore, he often works hardest to assess, and short-circuit, these vicious interpersonal cycles, tailoring his treatments based on each patient’s individual needs.
Shahar will foster communication among clinicians, researchers and theorists through a series of special issues that will focus on crime and poverty, discrimination, terrorism and chronic illness, among other global concerns. The issues will address these common problems from a variety of research and clinical perspectives in order to identify common approaches and to encourage innovative thinking. “These are wonderful avenues for a research-practice-policy dialogue, with a particular reference to psychotherapy integration,” Shahar says.
Above all, Shahar says his goal as incoming editor is to make JPI a “not-to-be-missed” publication. “I want readers to ... use science and practice to inspire and empower each other.”
Amy Novotney is a writer in Chicago.