Erkki Heinonen

Bilde av Erkki Heinonen
English version of this page
Telefon +47-22845231
Rom S04-14
Treffetider By appointment
Besøksadresse Harald Schjelderups hus Forskningsveien 3A 0373 Oslo
Postadresse Postboks 1094 Blindern 0317 Oslo

Academic interest

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
Emneord: Klinisk psykologi, Avdeling for klinisk psykologi


  1. Orlinsky, D. E., Ronnestad, M. H., Hartmann, A., Heinonen, E., & Willutzki, U. (in press). The personal self of psychotherapists: Dimensions, correlates, and relations with clients. Journal of Clinical Psychology.
  2. Heinonen, E. & Pos, A. E. (2019) The role of pre-treatment interpersonal problems for in-session emotional processing and long-term outcome in emotion-focused psychotherapy. Psychotherapy Research. DOI: 10.1080/10503307.2019.1630778
  3. Heinonen, E. & Nissen-Lie, H. A. (2019) The professional and personal characteristics of effective psychotherapists: a systematic review. Psychotherapy Research. DOI: 10.1080/10503307.2019.1620366
  4. Savander, E. È., Weiste, E., Hintikka, J., Leiman, M., Valkeapää, T., Heinonen, E. O., & Peräkylä, A. (in press). Offering patients opportunities to reveal their subjective experiences in psychiatric assessment interviews. Patient Education and Counseling.
  5. Knekt, P., Lindfors, O., Heinonen, E., Maljanen, T., Virtala, E., & Härkänen, T. (in press). The effectiveness of three psychotherapies of different type and length in the treatment of patients suffering from anxiety disorder. In M. Ochs, M., Borcsa, J. Scheitzer (eds.), Linking Systemic Research and Practice – Innovations in Paradigms, Strategies and Methods. Cham: Springer International.
  6. Lindfors, O., & Heinonen, E. (2019). Psykodynaamisen psykoterapian vaikuttavuus. [The effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapy: a review.] Finnish Medical Journal, 74, 739-745.
  7. Heinonen, E., Knekt, P., Härkänen, T., Virtala, E., & Lindfors, O. (2018a). Association of early childhood adversities with mental disorders, psychological functioning, and suitability for psychotherapy in adulthood. Psychiatry Research, 264, 366-373.
  8. Heinonen, E., Knekt, P., Härkänen, T., Virtala, E., & Lindfors, O. (2018b). Childhood adversities as predictors of improvement in psychiatric symptoms and global functioning in solution-focused and short- and long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy during a 5-year follow-up. Journal of Affective Disorders, 235, 525-534.
  9. Knekt, P., Heinonen, E., & Lindfors, O. (2018). Effectiveness of long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis 5 years after ending psychoanalysis: minor differences in psychiatric symptoms and work ability. Neurology, Psychiatry and Brain Research, 30, 163-166.
  10. Heinonen, E., Heiskanen, T., Lindfors, O., Härkäpää, K., & Knekt, P. (2017). Dispositional optimism as predictor of outcome in short- and long-term psychotherapy. Psychology & Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 90, 279-298.
  11. Knekt, P., Lindfors, O., Keinänen, M., Heinonen, E., Virtala, E., & Härkänen, T. (2017). The prediction of the level of personality organization on reduction of psychiatric symptoms and improvement of work ability in short- versus long-term psychotherapies during a 5-year follow-up. Psychology & Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 90, 353-376.

  12. Heinonen, E., Selinheimo, S., Pesonen, A.-K., Paunio, T., Lipsanen, J., Melartin, T., Lindblom-Ylänne, S., & Lindfors, O. (2017). Psykoterapeuttikoulutuksia tutkimalla vaikuttavampaa opetusta ja hoitoa? [Enhancing the development and outcomes of psychotherapy via studying psychotherapy trainees]. Duodecim [publication of the Finnish Medical Association], 133, 1790-7.

  13. Heinonen, E., Kurri, K., & Melartin, T. (2016). Soveltuuko psykoterapia potilaalleni? [Is psychotherapy suitable for my patient?]. Finnish Medical Journal, 71, 1172-1176.

  14. Ollila, P., Lindfors, O., Heinonen, E., & Knekt, P. (2016). Patients' interpersonal problems as predictors of working alliance in long-term psychotherapies. Psychiatry Research, 30, 110-117.

  15. Knekt, P., Heinonen, E., Härkäpää, K., Järvikoski, A., Virtala, E., Rissanen, J., Lindfors, O., & the Helsinki Psychotherapy Study Group (2015). Randomized trial on the effectiveness of long- and short-term psychotherapy on psychosocial functioning and quality of life during a 5-year follow-up. Psychiatry Research, 229, 381-388.

  16. Orlinsky, D. E., Heinonen, E., & Hartmann, A. (2015). Psychotherapy process research. In J. D. Wright (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences (pp. 515-520) (2nd ed.). Oxford: Elsevier.

  17. Heinonen, E., Knekt, P., Jääskeläinen, T., & Lindfors, O. (2014). Therapists’ professional and personal characteristics as predictors of outcome in long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. European Psychiatry, 29, 265-274.

  18. Heinonen, E., Lindfors, O., Härkänen, T., Virtala, E., Jääskeläinen, T., & Knekt, P. (2014). Therapists’ professional and personal characteristics as predictors of working alliance in short-term and long-term psychotherapies. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 21, 475-494.

  19. Lindfors, O., Knekt, P., Heinonen, E., Härkänen, T., Virtala, E. & the Helsinki Psychotherapy Study Group (2014). The effectiveness of short- and long-term psychotherapy on personality functioning during a 5-year follow-up. Journal of Affective Disorders, 152, 202-211.

  20. Heinonen, E., & Orlinsky, D. E. (2013). Psychotherapists' personal identities, theoretical orientations, and professional relationships: Elective affinity and role adjustment as modes of congruence. Psychotherapy Research, 23, 718-731.

  21. Rosenström, T., Jokela, M., Hintsanen, M., Josefsson, K., Juonala, M., Kivimäki, M., Pulkki-Råback, L., Viikari, J. S. A., Hutri-Kähönen, N., Heinonen, E., Raitakari, O. T. & Keltikangas-Järvinen, L. (2013).  Body-image dissatisfaction is strongly associated with chronic dysphoria. Journal of Affective Disorders, 150, 253-260.

  22. Lindfors, O., Knekt, P., Heinonen, E., & Virtala, E. (2013). Self-concept and quality of object relations as predictors of outcome in short- and long-term psychotherapy. Journal of Affective Disorders, 152, 202-211.

  23. Heinonen, E., Lindfors, O., Laaksonen, M. & Knekt, P. (2012). Therapists’ professional and personal characteristics as predictors of outcome in short- and long-term psychotherapy. Journal of Affective Disorders, 138, 301-312.

  24. Knekt, P., Laaksonen, M.A., Härkänen, T., Maljanen, T., Heinonen, E., Virtala, E. & Lindfors, O. (2012). The Helsinki Psychotherapy Study: effectiveness, sufficiency, and suitability of short- and long-term psychotherapy. In R. Levy, H. Kächele, S. Ablon (eds.), Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Research: Evidence-Based Practice and Practice-Based Evidence (pp. 71-94). New York: Humana Press.

  25. Mizobuchi, S., Terasaki, S., Häkkinen, J., Heinonen, E., Bergquist, J. & Chignell, M. (2008). The effect of stereoscopic viewing in a word-search task with a layered background. Journal of the Society for Information Display, 16, 1105-1113.

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Publisert 23. okt. 2019 11:29 - Sist endret 11. feb. 2020 13:43