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 (www.thl.fi/hps).
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’ (https://www.treat-me.eu/), 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
Heinonen, Erkki; Orlinsky, David E.; Willutzki, Ulrike; Rønnestad, Michael Helge; Schröder, Thomas & Messina, Irene [Show all 8 contributors for this article] (2022). Psychotherapist Trainees’ Quality of Life: Patterns and Correlates. Frontiers in Psychology. ISSN 1664-1078. 13. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.864691.
Orlinsky, David E.; Rønnestad, Michael Helge; Hartmann, Armin; Heinonen, Erkki & Willutzki, Ulrike (2022). Personal self. In Orlinsky, David E. (Eds.), How Psychotherapists Live. The Personal Self and Private Life of Professional Healers. Routledge. ISSN 9781032108797. p. 33–55.
Orlinsky, David E.; Rønnestad, Michael Helge; Willutzki, Ulrike; Schröder, Thomas; Heinonen, Erkki & Schofield, Margot J. (2022). Professional psychotherapists. In Orlinsky, David E. (Eds.), How Psychotherapists Live. The Personal Self and Private Life of Professional Healers. Routledge. ISSN 9781032108797. p. 14–33.
Mestre, Jose M.; Taubner, Svenja; Mota, Catarina Pinheiro; Rangel Henriques, Margarida; Saliba, Andrea & Heinonen, Erkki [Show all 21 contributors for this article] (2021). Theories of Change and Mediators of Psychotherapy Effectiveness in Adolescents With Externalising Behaviours: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry. ISSN 1664-0640. 12. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.730921. Full text in Research Archive
Taubner, Svenja; Saliba, Andrea; Heinonen, Erkki; Protić, Sonja; Volkert, Jana & Adler, Asta [Show all 21 contributors for this article] (2021). Mediators and theories of change in psychotherapy with adolescents: a systematic review protocol. BMJ Open. ISSN 2044-6055. 11(3). doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042411. Full text in Research Archive
Alanne, Carita; Heinonen, Erkki; Knekt, Paul; Rissanen, Julius; Virtala, Esa & Lindfors, Olavi (2021). Predicting improvement of work ability in modalities of short- and long-term psychotherapy: The differential impact of reflective ability and other aspects of patient suitability. Journal of Clinical Psychology. ISSN 0021-9762. 77(9), p. 1905–1920. doi: 10.1002/jclp.23128.
Oddli, Hanne Berit Weie; Heinonen, Erkki; Hau, Stephan; Nielsen, Jan; Esterhazy, Rachelle & Hoff, Cecilie Hillestad [Show all 7 contributors for this article] (2021). Learning Processes and Acquisition of Knowledge and Skills in Training and Supervision of Psychotherapy and Counselling: A Study Protocol for a Scoping Review. Frontiers in Psychology. ISSN 1664-1078. 12, p. 1–6. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.718314. Full text in Research Archive
Volkert, Jana; Taubner, Svenja; Barkauskiene, Rasa; Mestre, Jose M.; Sales, Célia M. D. & Thiele, Vanessa [Show all 22 contributors for this article] (2021). Mediators and Theories of Change in Psychotherapy for Young People With Personality Disorders: A Systematic Review Protocol. Frontiers in Psychology. ISSN 1664-1078. 12, p. 1–7. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.703095. Full text in Research Archive
Stenius, Jaakko; Knekt, Paul; Heinonen, Erkki; Holma, Juha; Antikainen, Risto & Lindfors, Olavi (2020). Predicting the working alliance over the course of long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy with the Rorschach Ego Impairment Index, self-reported defense style, and performance-based intelligence: An evaluation of three methodological approaches. Psychoanalytic psychology. ISSN 0736-9735. 38, p. 58–67. doi: 10.1037/pap0000318. Full text in Research Archive
Orlinsky, David E.; Rønnestad, Michael Helge; Hartmann, Armin; Heinonen, Erkki & Willutzki, Ulrike (2019). The personal self of psychotherapists: Dimensions, correlates, and relations with clients. Journal of Clinical Psychology. ISSN 0021-9762. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22876. Full text in Research Archive
Conejo-Cerón, Sonia; Taubner, Svenja; Heinonen, Erkki; Adler, Asta; Barkauskiene, Rasa & Di Giacomo, Dina [Show all 21 contributors for this article] (2021). Mediators in Psychological Treatments for Anxiety and Depression in Adolescents and Young People: A Protocol of a Systematic Review. Frontiers in Psychology. ISSN 1664-1078. 12, p. 1–7. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.708436. Full text in Research Archive