Doctoral Student Wins National SEPI Dissertation Award

Deborah HudsonDeborah Hudson, a PhD candidate in counseling and counselor education at the Warner School of Education, has received the 2014 Dissertation Award from the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (SEPI) for a project that explores the use of an integrative therapy approach in the treatment of personality disorders.
The award comes with $1,000 to support her dissertation, “Therapy Integration: Davanloo’s Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy with Linehan’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy in the Treatment of Personality Disorders.” Hudson will also present her work during the award ceremony at a future SEPI annual conference.
Using a qualitative research approach, Hudson is studying the use of an innovative psychotherapy integration. Her research will help develop a structure for the treatment of clients with personality disorders that will allow for a well-reasoned integration of potent therapeutic strategies while taking into account the unique needs of individual clients. This research, Hudson hopes, will be helpful on multiple levels—from advancing knowledge of how to better provide psychotherapy to raising awareness of how different interventions can be used to provide the most effective services possible—but most importantly she hopes to improve the lives of clients and families through her research.  The extent of the pain experienced by clients with personality disorders and their loved ones has been a significant motivator for her work.
Andre Marquis, associate professor and Hudson’s advisor, believes that Hudson’s work represents a unique and significant contribution to the field of therapy integration. 
“Deb’s research is important, in part, because of its unique integration of two powerful, effective therapies that emerged from very different traditions—Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) from the Psychodynamic tradition and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) from the Cognitive-Behavioral tradition,” says Marquis. “Deb’s original integration will make other therapists aware of how both ISTDP and DBT bring something to the table that the other lacks. Thus, her integration capitalizes on the strengths of both ISTDP and DBT and how each compliments the other.”
Hudson is the second doctoral student within the Warner School’s department of counseling to be awarded competitive dissertation funding from a national organization since March 2014. Doctoral student Thomas Christensen received a research grant from the Association for Adult Development and Aging (AADA) for his study on adult development and healthy aging.
Hudson, a licensed clinical social worker/therapist, has a private psychotherapy practice working with clients on relationship issues, emotional disturbances, personality disorders, life transitions, and self esteem, along with consulting with organizations on training and the implementation of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. She previously worked at Hillside Family of Agencies as a clinical manager and mentor at Halpern Education Center and at Rochester Rehabilitation Center as a primary therapist. While at Halpern Education Center, she was highly instrumental in training staff in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and facilitating the integration of Dialectical Behavior Therapy throughout the day treatment program. In addition to SEPI, she is a current member of the National Association of Social Workers and the American Counseling Association.
SEPI, a branch of the American Psychological Association, is an international, interdisciplinary organization that aims to promote the exploration and development of psychotherapies that integrate theoretical orientation, clinical practice, and diverse methods of inquiry.

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Tags: counseling, counselor education, dissertation research, doctoral student, student