MERIT Institute was founded in 2014 with the mission of supporting the research and development of MERIT psychotherapy by providing clinical training and fostering the international community of clinicians, researchers, and scholars interested in MERIT.
If you are a clinical researcher or practitioner interested in learning more about MERIT or the MERIT Institute, we are interested in hearing from you.
Paul Lysaker, Ph.D., President
Dr. Lysaker has published nearly 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, dozens of book chapters, several books, and is an active scientist internationally in the area of clinical psychopathology. He has received many extramural research grants, speaks at conferences, and helps train professionals in technique. For many years, his main research focus has been on schizophrenia and the major psychoses. He has practiced in nearly every clinical setting, and has had a long and distinguished academic career at a leading medical school.
MERIT is the culmination of decades of expert probing into the dynamics of successful psychotherapy for clients suffering from schizophrenia and related disorders. It is a method, based in a clear theory, which seeks to engage the client in Metacognition: Using his or her own ability to examine thoughts, feeling, and the minds of others to re-structure a more viable approach to living.
Reid Klion, Ph.D. (VITA)
Dr. Klion is a clinical psychologist, expert on adult psychopathology and addictions, and a leader in the field of web-based psychological testing. Formerly assistant professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, Chief Science Officer of Performance Assessment Network, and board member of the Association of Test Publishers, he currently serves as MERIT's Chief Operating Officer. He is a longtime member of the American Psychological Association.
David T. Pfenninger, Ph.D. (VITA)
Dr. Pfenninger was a practicing clinical psychologist and Indiana University School of Medicine faculty member before founding Performance Assessment Network in 2001. He was Ernst & Young Great lakes Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005 (Information technology), and later co-founded digital media firm BubbleUp, Ltd. A member of advisory boards at the IU School of Informatics and the IU Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Pfenninger continues his longstanding interest in therapies for psychosis via his association with MERIT.
Anne-Kari Torgalsboen, Ph.D.
Anne-Kari Torgalsboen Ph.D. is Associate professor at the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo. She is also trained as a clinical psychologist and has extensive clinical experience with schizophrenia patients and their families. She has conducted longitudinal studies on remission, resilience and recovery in schizophrenia. Currently she is studying the associations of metacognition with neurocognition and recovery over time from severe mental illness.
Benjamin Buck, M.A.
Benjamin Buck, M.A. is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the mentorship of David Penn, Ph.D. His interests including the lexical correlates of metacognitive capacity in schizophrenia, the relationships of metacognitive capacity to other related constructs (e.g. social cognition) as well as the delivery of MERIT to individuals in with first-episode psychosis. He was an active contributor to the conversations which shaped MERIT after its first iteration.
Bethany Leonhardt, Psy.D.
Bethany L. Leonhardt Psy.D is a post doctoral fellow at the Indiana University School of Medicine and a former student of mine. She is actively involved in the project which is exploring the use of MERIT to address unawareness of illness in patients with first episode psychosis. Her active research includes understanding specific interventions meant to foster metacognitive capacity in psychotherapy during periods of decompensation or active psychotic processes. She is also exploring links between trauma and defensive functions of self-fragmentation in schizophrenia and is a collaborator in studies of metacognition in patients with PTSD. She was an active contributor to the conversations which shaped MERIT after its first iteration and is actively teaching the core MERIT assessment procedures.
Cumur Tas, MD
Cumhur Tas MD is a psychiatrist who has trained with Martin Brüne at the University of Bochum. He is currently on faculty at the Department of Psychiatry, Celal Bayar University, Manisa, Turkeyand affiliated with the Research Department of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry and Psychiatric Preventive Medicine LWL University Hospital Bochum. Cumhur Tas has translated the MAS-a into Turkish and has studied the links of metacognition with treatment outcome in schizophrenia and been the first to compare the metacognitive capacities of persons with schizophrenia and persons with bipolar disorder. He is currently examining the link of metacognition with human stress response.
Giancarlo Dimaggio, MD
Giancarlo Dimaggio MD, Giampaolo Salvatore MD and Raffaele Popolo MD are psychiatrists at the center for metacognitive psychotherapy in Rome. All have been active contributors to the original conversations which shaped MERIT and those which have followed after its first iterations. Giancarlo Dimaggio, more than any collaborator has spurred on the creation and refinement of MERIT, with conversations dating back to the early 2000s. He and his colleagues have developed their own metacognitive form of psychotherapy primarily intended for adults with personality disorder called Metacognitive Interpersonal Therapy which is now being tested in a range of settings. The manual for their therapy is about to be published by Routledge Press. This group is actively studying metacognitive function in patients with personality disorder and now psychosis.
Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon, Ph.D.
Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon Ph.D. is a rehabilitation psychologist, senior lecturer and co-director of community clinic at the department of psychology at Bar-Ilan University. She was an active contributor to the original conversations which shaped MERIT and those which have followed after its first iterations. She is actively studying the links between metacognition and outcomes among adults with schizophrenia. Her additional research areas include coping with illness, insight, self stigma and the evaluation of psychosocial interventions.
Jay Hamm, Psy.D.
Jay Hamm Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist and former student of Paul Lysaker. He currently provides and supervises MERIT informed psychotherapy for patients with prolonged psychosis at Midtown Community Mental Health Center, Eskenazi Health. He is actively researching the phenomenology underlying disturbances in metacognitive capacity in psychosis. He was an active contributor to the conversations which shaped MERIT after its first iteration.
Jen Vohs, Ph.D.
Jenifer L. Vohs Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and also former student of Paul Lysaker, currently on staff at Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine. She is actively involved in the provision and supervision of MERIT informed psychotherapy for patients with both prolonged and early episode psychosis. Her active research includes examination of metacognitive capacity in patients with first episode psychosis as well as the use of MERIT to address unawareness of illness in patients with first episode psychosis. She is additionally exploring the links of deficits in metacognitive capacity with abnormalities in brain function as revealed through imaging techniques. She is lastly active in projects beginning to examine metacognitive capacity in borderline personality disorder and PTSD. She has been an active contributor to the conversations which shaped MERIT after its first iteration.
Kelly D. Buck, CNS
Kelly D. Buck CNS is a Clinical Nurse Specialist and currently provides and supervises MERIT informed psychotherapy for patients with prolonged and first episode psychosis at the Roudebush VA Medical Center. Her research interests including understanding the intersubjective processes which facilitate metacognitive growth in psychotherapy. She was an active contributor to the original conversations which shaped MERIT and those which have followed after its first iterations. Her clinical work is foundational for the creation of MERIT. She actively teaches the core assessment methods used by MERIT.
Kyle Minor, Ph.D.
Kyle S. Minor, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Clinical Psychology program at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. One of his primary areas of expertise is in Formal Thought Disorder in individuals at different points on the schizophrenia-spectrum. Currently, he is collaborating on projects that 1) explore links between thought disorder, neurocognition, and metacognition, 2) examine the lexical correlates of metacognitive deficits in schizophrenia, and 3) investigate the role of metacognition in individuals with psychometric schizotypy.
Rob Schweitzer, Ph.D.
Robert Schweitzer Ph.D. is a professor of clinical psychology at Queensland University of Technology and Rebecca Bargenquast Ph.D., a former student of Robert Schweitzer, now a clinical psychologist with Headspace, a specialist agency working with young people who may present with symptoms of early psychosis. Headspace is affiliated with the Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney. They have further conducted a highly successful open trial of their therapy which demonstrated both that patients with prolonged psychosis would accept this form of therapy and that clinical gains could be observed and documented in this therapy. Robert and Rebecca are currently collaborating on further studies to gain a better understanding of the application of metacognitive and narrative-based interventions across a range of presentations including using these methods in first episode psychosis patients and ultra high risk patients.
Nicolai Ladegaard, Ph.D.
Nicolai Ladegaard Ph.D. is a senior researcher and clinical psychologist at the Aarhus University Hospital, Risskov, Denmark. He has translated the MAS-A into Danish. He has performed research on the influence of metacognitive capacity on patients with first episode and chronic depression.
Sune Bo, Ph.D.
Sune Bo Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and PhD at Psychiatric Research Unit, Roskilde, Denmark. He has adapted the MAS-A to be used with the PCL-R in relation to forensic patients. He has actively studied the linked between metacognition with history of aggressiveness and level of social function among forensic patients.
Kai Wang is a professor of neurology at Anhui Medical University in Hefei, Anhui province, China. Recently, Kai Wang has been leading the research about the application of MAS-A in China. Kai Wang has leaded seven research projects supported by National Research Foundation and has pubished a paper titled” Genome-wide association analyses in Han Chinese identify two new susceptibility loci for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis” in Nature Genetic in 2013.
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Yi Dong is a director of psychiatry at the Mental Health Center in Hefei, Anhui province, China. Yi Dong is a senior research advisor in the study about the application of MAS-A in China. Yi Dong has completed a research about the correlation between social cognition and metacognition of patients with schizophrenia.
WeiMing Wu is a graduate student at Anhui Medical University in Hefei, Anhui province, China. WeiMing Wu has translated the MAS-A into Chinese and has recently completed a study comparing the metacognitive function of patients with schizophrenia with patients with other non-psychotic axis one disorders.
DaoMin Zhu is a director of psychiatry at the Mental Health Center in Hefei, Anhui province, China. DaoMin Zhu is an important participant in the research about the application of MAS-A in China and is currently conducting a study about the relationship between social function and metacognition of patients with depression and neuroses.
Marina Kukla, Ph.D.
Marina Kukla Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and Veterans Administration Researcher. She is a former student of Paul Lysaker. She has studied the links of metacognitive capacity with subjective experiences of recovery and has just completed a qualitative study of the effects of MERIT vs. supportive psychotherapy in a naturalistic setting. The latter is now in the stages of being prepared for publication. She has been an active contributor to the conversations which shaped MERIT after its first iteration.
Stephen de Jong
Steven de Jong and Rozanne Donkersgoed are Ph.D. students at the University of Gronningen where they are supervised by Marieke Pijnenborg Ph.D., a professor in the department of psychology and prof. dr. Andre Aleman, a professor associated with the Neuroimaging Center of the University Medical Centre in Groningen. It is this group which first proposed the acronym MERIT. They have translated the MAS-A and MERIT manual into Dutch and are currently conducting the first randomized controlled trial of MERIT in the Netherlands. In addition, they are examining the links between metacognition and function in both a forensic and in an ultra high risk group of patients. Both Steven de Jong and Rozanne van Donkersgoed are actively delivering MERIT to patients with schizophrenia and supervising new MERIT therapists in the Netherlands. Further information regarding the MERIT multicentre, randomized controlled trial can be found on its website: http://www.meritonderzoek.nl