Heidi Levitt


Wisdom RFP Grant Recipient
Associate Professor, Director of Clinical Training

The University of Memphis

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Heidi Levitt, Ph.D., is the Director of Clinical Training and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Memphis. Before coming to The University of Memphis, she was a SSHRC fellow at the University of Florida. She is a member of the Psychotherapy Research area within the clinical psychology program. Her research focuses upon on process of personal change and identity development. She is intrigued by how people develop new understandings of how to live in the world, how these understandings are consolidated into new identities, and how these processes are influenced by interpersonal and cultural systems. Dr. Levitt has studied these processes through research on psychotherapy process and outcome, the construction of gender identities, and domestic violence. She is interested in studying wisdom as it relates to psychotherapeutic change and also as it is shaped by professional structures, identities, and foci. She has expertise in qualitative methods and serves on the editorial board of Psychotherapy Research, The Humanistic Psychologist, and Counseling and Psychotherapy Research. She was awarded the Carmi Harari Early Career Award by Division 32 of the American Psychological Association and an Early Career Research Award from The University of Memphis. Her curriculum vita, research interest statement, and publication webpages provide further details about her research and teaching: http://psyc.memphis.edu/faculty/levitt/ for my webpage.


Defining Wisdom Project Description

The study examines wisdom in the context of the judge’s practice of hearing cases and the psychologist’s practice of psychotherapy. Many study-specific findings have recently emerged. However, cross-disciplinary findings suggest that wisdom occurs when actors set aside their own value systems and approach problems, either from within the value system of the other (psychotherapists), or from within a social value system (judges). The professional’s own values are still brought to bear at certain times, but professional training is an acculturative process in which the adoption of another value system becomes a deeply held personal value.



Recent Publications
A qualitative investigation of eminent therapists' values within psychotherapy: Developing integrative principles for moment-to-moment psychotherapy practice
Williams, D. C., Levitt, H. M. (2007). A qualitative investigation of eminent therapists' values within psychotherapy: Developing integrative principles for moment-to-moment psychotherapy practice. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 17, 159-84. Ample empirical research on values has demonstrated that clients' values tend to become increasingly like those of their therapist during therapy. There is little research, however, on how therapists negotiate value conflicts and the role of values...
What clients find helpful in psychotherapy: Developing principles for facilitating moment-to-moment change
Levitt, H. M., Butler, M., & Travis, H. (2006). What clients find helpful in psychotherapy: Developing principles for facilitating moment-to-moment change. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53, 3. 314-24. Clients who had completed psychotherapy were interviewed about the significant experiences and moments they recalled within their sessions. These interviews were analyzed using grounded theory, creating a hierarchy of categories that represent what clients...
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Institution

The University of Memphis

Current Position

Associate Professor, Director of Clinical Training

Highest Degree

Ph.D.

Research Interests


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