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 & Nissen-Lie, Helene A (2019). The professional and personal characteristics of effective psychotherapists: a systematic review. Psychotherapy Research. ISSN 1050-3307. . doi: 10.1080/10503307.2019.1620366 Show summary
- Heinonen, Erkki & Pos, Alberta (2019). The role of pre-treatment interpersonal problems for in-session emotional processing and long-term outcome in emotion-focused psychotherapy. Psychotherapy Research. ISSN 1050-3307. . doi: 10.1080/10503307.2019.1630778
- 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.