LORNA SMITH BENJAMIN portrait
  • Adjunct Professor, Psychiatry
  • Professor Emerita, Psychology Department
801-558-9504

Research Statement

In 1968, I began development of  Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB) for modeling patterns of social interactions with self and others in terms of the underlying dimensions of focus (on other, on self, focus on other turned inward on the self), affiliation (love/ hate), interdependence (enmeshment = control/submit to differentiation = emancipate/separate). Reviews of some research studies appeared in: Benjamin, L.S. (1996). Introduction to the special section on Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB). Journal of  Consulting and Clinical Psychology.,64,1203-1212. Benjamin, L. S. , Rothweiler, J.R., & Critchfield, K. L. (2006). Use of Structural Analysis of Social Behavior as an Assessment Tool. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 2.]  My honorary degree from the University of Umea, Sweden (1998) was for the creation and development of  SASB. Clinicial and research uses of the SASB technology led to the conclusion that there are direct connections between patterns of adult personality and earlier patterns practiced in relation to caregivers and other loved ones. From working with patients, and research uses of SASB,  Interpersonal Reconstructive  Therapy (IRT) emerged. It is based on a case formulation that systematically describes connections between present day personlity and ealier interactive patterns in terms of copy processes usually identified via SASB codes and predictive principles (be like him or her; act as if he or she is still there and in control; treat yourself as you were treated).  Current personality patterns also are related to current psychiatric symptoms. For example, resentful submission (helplessness), self criticism, and perceived abandonment support chronic depression. Extreme self control accompanied by constant mobilization in service of perfectionism  support  chronic anxiety while trying  to cope, and is likely to degrade to depression when the quest for perfection seems impossible and the person gives up in despair.    In 2003, the IRT treatment model and methods were published [Benjamin, L.S. (2003). Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy: promoting change in Nonresponders. New York:  Guilford Press.]  My third book, now  in draft [Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy for Anger, Anxiety and Depression; American Psychological Association] centers on (a) my proposed natural biological theory of psychopathology and (b) use understanding of the natural biology of psychopathology and  the IRT case formulation method.  The perspective allows the clinician  to select optimal  ways of engaging the will to progress through Prochaska’s five transtheoretical stages of change. My research, with collaborator Ken Critchfield, shows that therapists who adhere more closely to the IRT  therapy model have better outcomes, while nonadherent therapists have less favorable outcomes..

Research Keywords

  • Treatment Resistance
  • Structural Analysis of Social Behavior
  • Personality Disorders
  • Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy

Presentations

  • Currently contracted day long workshop with Utah Psychological Association, May 2013: "When the heart runs away with the brain, even smart people do crazy things." . Presentation, Accepted, 01/15/2012.
  • Currently contracted presentation to Generations conference, March 2012. "Coping helpfully with the impact of personality disordered patients on therapists.". Presentation, Accepted, 10/15/2011.
  • One day workshop on IRT to International Society for Psychotherapy annual meeting in Bern, Switzerland. Presentation, Presented, 06/28/2011.
  • Please see list of one or two day workshops presented to professionals in Italy under Teaching, Additional Teaching contributions, 3/11/2011 to 3/28/2011. Presentation, Presented, 03/11/2011.
  • Symposium: Clinical Lessons That Eminent Researchers Have Learned From Their Work. American Psychological Association meeting in San Diego, CA. Invited panelist speaking on:"Do we need teachers now that we have Google? ". Conference Paper, Presented, 08/13/2010.
  • See 4 entries under Service, community partnerships. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/25/2009.
  • See description of podcast on MentalHelp.net under Service, media exposure. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/29/2009.
  • April 23 & 24, 2009. Two days of consultations and address at Pennsylvania State University, College Park, PA . Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/23/2009.
  • See 7 listings for International Teaching in Germany, Italy, Chile on various dates in 2009. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 2009.
  • See 3 entries for full day workshops under International - Teaching abroad in Canada and Italy. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 2008.
  • See 2 invited presentations entered under International teaching, and 7 presentations invited for US or Local audiences. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 2007.
  • August 24, 2006. Salt Lake City, Utah. 2 hour presentation on personality and domestic violence to Utah Domestic Violence Council. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 2006.
  • November, 2006. Invited colloquim address for Department of Psychology, Northwestern University; plus meetings with faculty and students . Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 2006.
  • February 2006. 5 day workshop on IRT for Salasian University in Rome, italy . Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 2006.
  • March 2006. 3 day workshop on IRT in Dusseldorf, Germany . Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 2006.
  • July 28, 2006. One day workshop on IRT for Mendota Mental Health Institute, Madison, Wisconsin. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 2006.
  • December 4 – 8, 2006: London Ontario, Canada. . Visiting professor; University of Western Ontario Department of Psychiatry and St. Josephs hospital. meet with residents and staff, discussing treatment of personality disorders and nonresponder cases. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 2006.

Grants, Contracts & Research Gifts

  • Adherence, Effectiveness and Therapy Process in Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy. PI: Kenneth L. Critchfield. Co-PI(s): Lorna Smith Benjamin. No external funds, 07/01/2004 - present. Total project budget to date: $0.00

Research/Scholarship Projects

  • Clinical and Research assessments using data on 10000 patients in a psychiatric clinic. PI: Kenneth L. Critchfield, Ph.D. Co-PI(s): Lorna Smith Benjamin, Ph.D>. 03/01/2012 - 03/01/2022.

Software Titles

  • SASB Questionnair Software; SASB coding software. I brought this with me from the University of Wisconsin and gave it to Univeristy of Utah in 1995 to avoid conflict of interest. I continue to update is in response to user requests if i can find the time to do it. Release Date: 01/01/2011. Inventors: Lorna Smith Benjamin. Distribution List: Very small, but world wide. Licenses with UU exist for translations in Sweden, Germany, Italy.
  • SASB coding software. Software updated in 2010. Purpose is to analysis objective coding of interpersonal interactions in psychotherapy or other relevant settings (e.g. parent child). Uses and references are illustrated by the "Known publications.." file on the SASB page in UU department of psychology. Release Date: 12/01/2010. Inventors: Lorna Smith Benjamin. Distribution List: unsolicited. Requests come via mention in research literature. We have licensed distribution in foreign languages in Sweden, Germany, Italy and Norway.
  • SASB software for Questionnaires. In 1980- 82 at the University of Wisconsin, I developed questionnaires and software to allow self ratings and objective observer ratings of social interactions in terms of my Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB). I obtaned releases from Univ Wisconsin,and from NIMH, and in 1995 donated the technology to University of Utah. Refinements, and updates continue as needed, and as required to keep up with Microsoft updates of its operating systems (major changes required in 2000). i also provide limited support to purchasers. There was an update in December of 2009. Release Date: 12/01/2009. Inventors: Self. Distribution List: qualified uses as described on the Univesity SASB web site.
  • SASB coding system software. Yields the same parameters as SASB intrex questionnaire software, but applies to objective observer coding rather than to self ratings on questionnaire. Release Date: 12/01/2009. Inventors: self update in December 2009. Distribution List: Qualified users as described on my web site.
  • SASB Coding Software. SASB Coding Software. CD-Rom with programs for analyzing data generated by SASB coding system. Given to the University of Utah 1995. Update to Vista in 2007 . Release Date: 2007. Inventors: Lorna Smith Benjamin. Distribution List: Qualified professionals.
  • SASB Intrex Software. Update of SASB Intrex Software. CD-Rom with programs for analyzing questionnaire software. Given to the University of Utah 1995. Updated to Vista, 2007. Release Date: 2007. Inventors: Lorna Smith Benjamin. Distribution List: Qualified professionals.
  • Structural Analysis of Social Behaviior coding software. processes coding of videotapes of interpersonal process in families, psychotherapy or any other interactions of interest. Software,models, technology gifted to UofU in1995. Overseen by UU Commercialization of Technology office. In 2010, i updated this software to make it easier to enter output into standard data bases like SPSS. Release Date: 01/01/1980. Inventors: Lorna Smith Benjamin. Distribution List: Mental health researchers who write to me or to SASBIntrex, posted on the Department of Psychology web site.

Languages

  • English, fluent.
  • German, fluent.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Germany
  • Italy
    International Teaching activities are described in the section on Teaching, additional teaching activities.
  • Norway
  • Sweden

Publications

  • Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy for Anger, Anxietyand Depression. Under contract with the American Psychological Association. Still in preparation. Early reviews are very positive. Manuscript submission is 06/01/12. Pending, 01/01/2013.
  • "Every psychopathology is still a gift of love. " In a collection of ex presidents (international society for psychotherapy research) addrsses. the invitation was to write about what has happened since your address and what lies ahead. The editor likes what i wrote. the board will review it this Spring. In progress, 02/13/2012.
  • Benjamin, L. S. (2010). From Structural Analysis of Social Behavior to Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy. In L. Bellack & H. Alvarez (eds.) Personality Disorders Handbook. Madrid: Sintesis. Spanish translation: Benjamin,L.S. (2010). Del analisis de la conducta social a la terapie interpersonal reconstructiva. In A.B. Fuster & H.F. Alvarez (Eds.) Tratado de trastornos de la Personalidad. Madrid: Sintesis: p. 199-219. Published, 12/2010.
  • Critchfield, K. L., & Benjamin, L. S. (2010). Assessment of repeated relational patterns for individual cases using the SASB-based Intrex questionnaire. Journal of Assessment of Personality,92,480-489. Published, 11/2010.
  • Benjamin, L.S. (2010). Structural Analysis of Social Behavior and the Nature of Nature. In S. Strack and L. Horowitz (eds.) Handbook of Interpersonal Psychology: Theory, Research, Assessment and Therapeutic Interventions. New York: J. Wiley & Sons, pp 325-341. Published, 08/2010.
  • Benjamin, L. S., & Critchfield, K. L. (2010). An interpersonal perspective on therapy alliances and techniques. In J. C. Muran & J. Barber (eds.) The Therapeutic Alliance: An Evidence-Based Approach to Practice & Training. New York. J. Wiley & Sons, 123-149. Published, 08/2010.
  • Benjamin, L. S. (2010). Goldfried’s prophecies: the good outcomes, the bad outcomes, and outcomes yet to come. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 13, pp. 24-25. Published, 2010.
  • See 2009 for description of 3 chapters and 2 peer reviewed papers prepared in 2009, scheduled for publication 2010. In press, 2009.
  • Critchfield, K. L. & Benjamin, L. S. (2008) Internalized representations of early interpersonal experience and adult relationships: a test of copy process theory in clinical and nonclinical populations. Psychiatry: interpersonal and biological processes, 71, p. 71-92. Published, 2008.
  • Benjamin, L. S. (2008) What is functional about functional autonomy? Psychological Assessment, 90,412-420. (invited article following Klopfer award). Published, 2008.
  • Sponsored, restricted website: Benjamin, L.S. April 2007. Was Freud right after all? A science based consideration of the role of love in psychopathology and psychotherapy. ScientistPractitioner.com. Published, 2007.
  • See updating of SASB software, 2007. Released, 2007.
  • Sponsored, restricted website: Benjamin, L. S. April, 2007. After a hard earned celebration, what next? NEA-BPD: National Education Association for Borderline Personality Disorder. Published, 2007.
  • Critchfield, K.L., and Benjamin, L.S. (2006). Principles for psychosocial treatment of personality disorder: an integration of participant, relationship, and treatment domains. In L. Beutler and L. Castonguay (eds.) Journal of Clinical Psychology. Published, 2006.
  • Benjamin, L. S., Wamboldt, M. Z., & Critchfield, K. L. (2006). Defining relational disorders and identifying their connections to Axes I and II. In Beach, S. R. H., Wamboldt, M., Kaslow, N., Heyman, R. E., First, M.E., Underwood, L. E., & Reiss, D. (Eds.), Relational Processes and DSM-V:  Neuroscience, Assessment, Prevention and Intervention.  Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. Published, 2006.
  • Benjamin, L. S. , Rothweiler, J.R., & Critchfield, K. L. (2006). Use of Structural Analysis of Social Behavior as an Assessment Tool. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 2. Published, 2006.