psi logoAbout the Institute for Advanced Studies

The Institute for Advanced Studies in Personology and Psychopathology is a Center for research, scholarship, and training of the highest order in the "psychology of persons" and their disorders. Oriented to diverse paths, the Institute has chosen a group of in-house Scholars, has established a Research Network to encourage cooperative multi-site investigations, has facilitated the development of local Study Groups throughout North and South America, and on the Continent, as well as arranged periodic Conferences, Seminars, and Workshops.

As all mental health trainers and workers know, we are currently in a time of professional transition. The roles and tasks that face our students are changing rapidly from those of the past. The advent of managed care has and will continue to radically alter the character of our professional activities. Increasingly, doctoral and masters-level psychologists are being supplanted by bachelorís level paraprofessionals who depend on Technical Manuals to direct each step in a treatment regimen. Similarly, skilled psychiatrists are and will increasingly be supplanted by primary care physicians who depend on short-term pharmacologic agents as an economic substitute for genuine treatment and caring. Although useful alternative work has been explored by numerous professionals, these activities usually draw us further afield from what originally attracted us to study mental health, the desire to understand and care for persons in psychological pain. The goal of the Institute is to help us return to these original sources of inspiration by continuing to enrich our knowledge and skills.

Despite resistances by insurance and managed care companies, there is an increasing recognition in the profession of the role that assessment and personality plays in the successful treatment of all forms of psychological dysfunction: The Institute aims to provide a strong foundation and an impetus for those professionals responsible for training the next generation of mental health clinicians so they can meet this growing need. Current managed care delivery systems necessarily concentrate on brief and inexpensive therapies. Consequently, treatment emphasis is focused on the more circumscribed Axis I disorders. As noted above, Axis I treatment is being turned over increasingly to paraprofessionals and front line primary care physicians. This trend has contributed to an increase in recidivism for the many patients who manifest treatment resistant disorders, such as those stemming from their Axis II vulnerabilities. Only fully trained PhD, PsyD, Master-level Social Workers, Nurse Practitioners, Counselors, Family Therapists, and MD clinicians can effectively reduce the "revolving door" nature of these relapse-prone mental disorders. As quality of service becomes the feature that increasingly differentiates managed care programs, the one element that will remain the province of higher level professionals will be the "personality context" that surrounds the presenting and episodic clinical syndrome. A deeper study of the characteristics of Axis II personality styles and disorders will not only enable us to better treat these difficult cases, but also provide a guide for more skillfully preventing repeated relapses.

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