UMass Boston

Heidi Levitt

McCormack Hall Floor 04

Areas of Expertise

Psychotherapy process and outcome -- with a focus upon clients and therapists experiences across psychotherapy orientations; Gay, Lesbian, bisexual, and transgender minority stress and cultural identities; and the development of guidelines for designing, reporting, and reviewing research using qualitative methods.


PhD, York University

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

In my lab, we usually conduct research in two main areas:

Psychotherapy Process and Outcome Research

My lab has been focused upon factors that seem to be important across different psychotherapy orientations, such as silences, emotions, values, and resistance.  In this research we most often adopt one or more of these methods: (1) Process coding system research in which we look intensely at how a psychotherapy process unfolds across sessions.  This method allows researchers to see how that process (e.g., types of silences) shifts across the therapy and within different client groups. (2) Qualitative research in which we interview clients or therapist to learn how they experience different psychotherapy processes (e.g., resistance).  This method allows researchers to step inside the heads of client and therapists and to access experiences that are rarely talked about in session but may significantly influence the therapy outcome.  Current projects in this research include the investigation of a 5-factor model of change within a psychotherapy dataset -- looking at variables such as client curiosity, the creation of moments of difference, and the symbolization of new experiences — as well as a corresponding outcome measure development project.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Research

We have focused upon the effects of heterosexism on GLBT people by studying anti-GLBT legislation and GLBT minority stress, which is stress that this population experiences on top of regular stress that all people experience.  Also, we have interests in studying the meaning of gender within different GLBT cultures and how gender expressions and gender identities develop.   In this line of research we usually adopt one or more of these methods: (1) Qualitative research in which we interview GLBT people or significant others to learn how they experience heterosexism or generate their identities.  (2) Survey research in which we evaluate how heterosexism influences GLBT mental health and other experiences. (3) Intervention research in which we develop and implement interventions for this population.  A current project studies how to prevent the transmission of HIV within African-American men who have sex with men.

You can learn more about my research by visiting my website: