Public Defence: Elisabeth Ness Elisabeth Ness at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Measuring psychodynamic process and change in psychotherapy” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Kristine Hellemo

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Associate Professor Fredrik Falkenström, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University, Sweden
  • Second opponent: PhD, Psychiatrist Jan Ole Røvik, private practice
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Associate Professor Anita Johanna Tørmoen, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

 Professor Einar Heiervang, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor Randi Ulberg, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo


The field of psychotherapy has developed through several decades, and a variety of psychotherapeutic methods exist. Research on outcome and process is necessary for making recommendations for future practice to improve the individual’s mental health. There is a need for more research measuring process and change in psychotherapy with young people.

In this thesis data from two randomized clinical trials designed to measure effects of a specific technique, transference work, in dynamic psychotherapy is used; FEST (the First Experimental Study of Transference-interpretations) and FEST-IT (the First Experimental Study of Transference Work – In Teenagers). The main objective was to investigate use of different methods for measuring process and change in psychodynamic therapy with adults and adolescents.

A combination of quantitative approach and in-depth qualitative analysis of a single adolescent patient case was used in paper I. The therapist flexibly adjusted different psychotherapeutic techniques in the therapeutic work. Measurements being specific and non-specific (pan-theoretical) to psychodynamic therapy revealed different aspects of the process leading to change. An instrument for assessment of specific change in dynamic psychotherapy (Psychodynamic Functioning Scales; PFS) was evaluated for use in adolescent psychotherapy (paper II). The interrater reliability was good.  The “dynamic capacity” measured with PFS differs from general symptom-measures. However, possible differences in measuring e.g. insight in adolescents and adults are discussed. Paper III describes the development of a psychotherapy process rating scale focusing on patients’ relationships outside therapy (Relational Work Scale).

Detailed measurement of process and change contribute to further answers to the main research questions: what leads to change and what works for whom?

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published June 13, 2019 12:02 PM - Last modified June 14, 2019 11:21 AM