Erkki Heinonen

Associate Professor - Department of Psychology

Academic interests

My main interests are in the process, mechanisms, and outcomes of psychotherapy. In other words: what are the patient-, therapist-, and relationship-related determinants of effective psychotherapy?

I am interested in both common and specific processes, across and within different models of therapy. Therapeutic approaches that I have investigated include psychodynamic, solution-focused, emotion-focused, and cognitive-behavioral orientations. Many of my publications stem from the Helsinki Psychotherapy Study, a randomized trial of short- and long-term therapies, representing different theoretical models in the treatment of depression and anxiety (

My dissertation, and one of my long-standing research foci, are also psychotherapists. What are the characteristics of effective clinicians – and how do they develop, in the course of training, supervision, and professional work? I am studying these questions in several international collaborations, such as the Oslo-based Nordic Psychotherapy Training Study (NORTRAS) and the SPR Interest Section on Psychotherapist Training and Development study (SPRISTAD).

I am also involved in the European Union -funded collaboration ‘TREATme’ (, a multidisciplinary researcher network focusing on individualized psychotherapy for young people with mental disorders – i.e., what works for whom and how, in youth psychotherapy.

Clinically, I have worked for many years in specialized healthcare, with different mental disorders, and taught and supervised both healthcare professionals and students. I have also trained specifically in emotion-focused therapy (EFT) at York University, Toronto, under Les Greenberg and colleagues.

Higher education and employment history

Academic and Clinical Practice:

  • 2019 → Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo
  • 2017 - 2019 Post-Doctoral Researcher, Department of Psychology, York University, Toronto, Canada
  • 2010-2012 Fulbright Scholar, University of Chicago, USA
  • 2008-2016 Clinical Psychologist (temporary positions), Helsinki University Hospital, Finland
  • 2008 - 2016 Visiting Lecturer, University of Helsinki (Department of Open University), Finland
  • 2008 → Researcher, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland


  • 2019 Docent/Adjunct Professor, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2019 Certified EFT Therapist, International Society for Emotion-Focused Therapy (ISEFT)
  • 2014-2016 Advanced training in clinical psychology (University of Helsinki / Helsinki University Hospital / Finnish Psychological Association)
  • 2014 Doctor of Psychology, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2008 Master of Psychology, University of Helsinki, Finland
Tags: Clinical psychology
Published Feb. 11, 2020 1:45 PM - Last modified Feb. 11, 2020 1:45 PM