Psychotherapy Research and Development Program - VA NY Harbor Healthcare System
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VA NY Harbor Healthcare System


Psychotherapy Research and Development Program

Program Overview

The Psychotherapy Research and Development Program (PRDP) was established in 2011 by Principal Investigator Dr. Cory K. Chen. Our research team focuses on psychotherapy process and outcome research and specifically seeks to expand the range of treatments available to the most difficult to reach Veterans. The lab has several active studies including randomized control trials, implementation studies, patient chart reviews, and systematic literature reviews. We are actively involved in studying how to improve psychosocial interventions for family caregivers of individuals with dementia and Veterans with depression and PTSD. We also study the relationship between structure, process, and outcome of Telemental Health. Currently, the lab is recruiting Veterans within the New York Harbor Healthcare System (all campuses) for our studies: The Trauma-Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, the Telehealth Family Caregiver Pilot Study, and the REACH VA Dementia Caregiver Intervention (additional details below). For more information please contact Lauren Wash, Research Coordinator, at

Active Research Studies

Trauma-Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (TFPP)

Trauma-Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (TFPP) is a new PTSD treatment adapted from a well-established protocol for panic disorder in civilians. We are studying this therapy as an option for those veterans who did not have success with Prolonged Exposure (PE) or Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) or were deemed unsuitable for either. Following two research visits to assess eligibility and establish baseline measurements, patients will be randomized to either the intervention or treatment as usual (TAU). In TAU, participants will continue with whatever healthcare they were already receiving and be referred to the VA PTSD Clinic or Outpatient Mental Health Clinic for additional treatment as needed.

Participants in the TFPP arm of this study will receive 16-24 sessions of treatment with a clinician trained in the protocol. This therapy consists of three phases: exploring the trauma and symptoms, discussing relationships and understanding the trauma, and finally reflecting the treatment and its ending. Participants in the TAU arm of the study will be offered TFPP following termination. All participants will complete termination and 3-month follow-up visits with research staff. Our hope with this study is to provide treatment to those struggling with PTSD for whom PE and CPT are not helpful.

For more information please contact Lauren Wash, Research Coordinator, at

REACH VA Dementia Caregiver Intervention Study

Our program is currently seeking caregivers who provide care to a loved one diagnosed with dementia, to participate in a research study of a behavioral intervention, REACH VA. The goal of REACH VA is to manage caregiver stress when caring for individuals with dementia. Our study attempts to better understand who this treatment is most helpful for and to develop intervention for those not helped by this treatment.

Participants in the study are family members who serve as the primary caregiver of an individual with dementia and is involved in caregiving at least 4 hours per day. Either the caregiver or the person with dementia must be a veteran. If you are experiencing depression, anxiety, or high levels of stress related to your role as a caregiver and are looking for extra support caring for your loved one, you may be eligible to participate.

For more information please contact Lauren Wash, Research Coordinator, at

Telemental Health Family Caregiver Pilot Study

Not every treatment will work for everyone, and we at the PRDP are looking for ways to reach patients who may not respond to the interventions currently available. The Telehealth Assessment for Interpersonal Difficulties for Family Caregivers of People with Dementia is a pilot study designed to help individuals who do not respond to treatment in the REACH VA program. The aim of this study is to determine the interpersonal factors that contribute to non-response to the REACH VA protocol and develop an alternative treatment for those not helped by REACH VA. The use of telehealth is intended to increase access to Veterans and caregivers who may not be able to travel to the medical center. This study involves eligible family caregivers (CGs) of people with dementia (PWD) and their care recipients (CRs). Participants will fill out assessments, perform study tasks, and participate in reflective exit interviews. Participants will also be offered a new family based intervention to better manage caregiver stress and depression.

For more information please contact Lauren Wash, Research Coordinator, at

Research Staff Recruitment

The research program in our PRDP lab is continually expanding. With multiple psychotherapy studies going on simultaneously, there are always opportunities for our research assistants to perform a wide variety of tasks that will help develop skills necessary for graduate school. Our RAs are trained in data collection and entry, administering assessments, literature review, and are afforded the opportunity to take on independent projects. Additionally, we have regular professional development seminars and opportunities to collaborate with our staff psychologists and obtain guidance and mentorship around professional development. Many of our RA’s have participated in scholarship by presenting their independent projects at conferences or served as co-authors on peer reviewed manuscripts. See publications and presentations list for information about past RA involvement.

For more information please contact Lauren Wash, Research Coordinator, at

Contact Info


  • Manhattan Campus
    423 E 23rd Street
    New York, NY 10010

Contact Number(s)

  • 212-686-7500 Ext. 3003

Hours of Operation

  • 8:00am - 4:30pm