Ken Critchfield

Ken Critchfield, Ph.D.Ken Critchfield, Ph.D., Task Force Co-Chair (Level II)

Ken Critchfield, Ph.D. is an adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry (University of Utah). Dr. Critchfield is the co-director of the Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT) clinic at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute. Additionally, he was a task force member (2003-2006), for APA’s Div. 12, Task Force on Empirically Supported Principles of Therapeutic Change.

Dr. Critchfield’s research and clinical interests focus on the intersection of relational science, personality, and attachment-based perspectives on development, psychopathology, and change in psychotherapy. For the past several years he has worked closely with Dr. Lorna Smith Benjamin to operationalize and test the efficacy of Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT) as it is applied to severe and chronic psychiatric problems involving comorbid Axis II diagnoses. IRT is an integrative approach in the sense that it optimizes treatment (both relationship and technique factors) based on a case formulation that specifies treatment goals and optimal strategies for individual patients. IRT is thus both theoretically-grounded and technically integrative, providing a rational basis for choice of specific interventions at specific moments.

Consistent with the outlook of the UPP, techniques used in IRT may be culled from any “school” of therapy may be implemented, so long as they fit the particular patient’s case formulation, treatment goals, and the moment in therapy.

The Unified Psychotherapy Project seeks to document and organize strategies, procedures, and specific interventions developed across schools of psychotherapy so that clinicians of all stripes can make similar selections from among the catalog of “what works” based on consideration of patient needs, goals, and capacities.

In addition to clinic-based service, research, and teaching, Dr. Critchfield maintains an active private practice applying IRT to a wide range of clinical problems. He frequently consults on issues of methodology, design, and analysis for projects involving the interface between interpersonal measurement (especially moment-by-moment interactional process using the Structural Analysis of Social Behavior), personality, and psychopathology.


Book Chapters:

Benjamin, L. S., Wamboldt, M. Z., & Critchfield, K. L. (2006). Defining relational disorders and identifying their connections to Axes I and II. In S. R. H. Beach, M. Wamboldt, N. Kaslow, R. E. Heyman, M. E. First, L. E. Underwood, & D. Reiss (Eds.) Relational processes and DSM-V: Neuroscience, assessment, prevention and intervention (pp. 157-173). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Critchfield, K. L. & Benjamin, L. S. (2006). Integration of therapeutic factors in treating personality disorders. In L. G. Castonguay & L. E. Beutler (Eds.). Principles of therapeutic change that work (pp. 253-271). New York: Oxford University Press.


Critchfield, K. L., & Benjamin, L. S. (2008). Repetition of early interpersonal experiences in adult relationships: A test of copy process theory in clinical and non-clinical settings. Psychiatry, 71(1), 72-93.

Critchfield, K. L., Clarkin, J. F., Levy, K. N., & Kernberg, O. K. (2008). Organization of co-occurring Axis II features in BPD. British Journal of Clinical Psychology. 47(2), 185-200. [Selected for Faculty of 1000 Medicine, October 2008]

Critchfield, K. L., Levy, K. N., Clarkin, J. F., & Kernberg, O. F. (2008). The relational context of aggression in BPD: Using adult attachment style to predict forms of hostility. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64(1), 67-82.

Critchfield, K. L., Henry, W. P., Castonguay, L. G., & Borkovec, T. D. (2007). Interpersonal process and outcome in variants of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 63(1), 31-51.

Critchfield, K. L., & Benjamin, L. S. (2006). Principles for psychosocial treatment of personality disorder: Summary of the Division 12 Task Force review. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(6), 661-674.

Benjamin, L. S., Rothweiler, J. C., & Critchfield, K. L. (2006). The use of Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB) as an assessment tool. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 2, 83-109.

Critchfield, K. L., Levy, K. N., & Clarkin, J. F. (2004). The relationship between impulsivity, aggression, and impulsive-aggression in borderline personality disorder: An empirical analysis of self-report measures. Journal of Personality Disorders, 18(6), 557-572.