Hal Arkowitz

Hal Arkowitz's picture
Real name: 
Associate Professor Emeritus

Ph.D. in Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, 1968 M.A. in Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, 1964 B.A., New York University, 1962

521 Psych
Research Interests: 

My research interests center around psychotherapy outcome and process and the broad question of “How do people change?” Much of my work is directed toward understanding barriers to change, both in and out of psychotherapy. These have usually been grouped under the general term “resistance.” I have reconceptualized resistance as ambivalence and have developed methods to help people resolve this ambivalence and move toward change. I think the focus on ambivalence is an important one, but I’m not sure. Sometimes I think it’s important and sometimes I don’t. I think I need help in resolving this ambivalence. I have incorporated Motivational Interviewing (MI) into my research. MI is an approach that has been to help people resolve ambivalence and to increase their internal motivation to change problem behaviors. Numerous studies have found that MI is effective with alcohol and drug problems. I have been interested in extending the scope of MI to other problems typically seen in clinical practice such as anxiety and mood disorders. Further, I am interested in developing measures of the process of change in MI. Finally, I am interested in the dissemination of knowledge from clinical psychology to the general public. Unfortunately, many laypersons hold myths about mental health that are contradicted by scientific findings of which they are unaware. I’m interested in studying barriers to such dissemination of such knowledge and ways to facilitate it.

I have been a scientist-practitioner for my entire career.  I value how science can inform practice and how practice can inform science.

Selected Publications: 

SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS Books Arkowitz, H., Westra, H.A., Miller, W.R., & Rollnick, S. (Eds.). (2008). Motivational interviewing in the treatment of psychological problems. New York: Guilford Press. Engle, D. & Arkowitz, H. (2006). Ambivalence in psychotherapy: Facilitating readiness to change. New York: Guilford Press. Book Chapters Arkowitz, H., & Burke, B. (2008).Motivational interviewing as an integrative framework for the treatment of depression. In H. Arkowitz, H.A. Westra, W.R. Miller, & S. Rollnick, (Eds.), Motivational interviewing in the treatment of psychological problems (pp. 145-173). New York: Guilford Press Arkowitz, H., & Miller, W.R. (2008). Learning, applying, and extending motivational interviewing. In H. Arkowitz, H.A. Westra, W.R. Miller, & S. Rollnick, (Eds.), Motivational interviewing in the treatment of psychological problems (pp. 1-25). New York: Guilford Press. Westra, H.A., & Arkowitz, H. (2009). Combining motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy to increase treatment efficacy for generalized anxiety disorder. In D. Sookman & B. Leahy (Eds.), Resolving treatment impasses with resistant anxiety disorders (pp. 199-232). New York: Routledge. Arkowitz, H., & Engle, D. (2007). Understanding and working with resistant ambivalence in psychotherapy: An integrative approach. In S.G. Hofmann and J. Weinberger (Eds.), The art and science of psychotherapy. (pp. 171-190). New York: Routledge. Articles Westra, H.A., Constantino, M.J., Arkowitz, H., & Dozois, D. (In press). Therapist differences in cognitive behavioral psychotherapy for generalized anxiety disorder: A pilot study. Psychotherapy. Westra, H.A., Arkowitz, H., & Dozois, D.J.A. (2009). Adding a motivational interviewing pretreatment to cognitive behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the Anxiety Disorders, 23, 1106-1117 Engle, D.E., & Arkowitz, H. (2008). Viewing resistance as ambivalence: Integrative strategies for working with resistant ambivalence. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 48, 389 - 412. Menchola, M., Arkowitz, H., & Burke, B.L. (2007). Efficacy of self-administered treatments for depression and anxiety. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. 38, 421–429. Arkowitz, H., & Westra, H. (2005). Integrating motivational interviewing and cognitive behavior therapy in the treatment of depression and anxiety. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy. 18, 337-350. Burke, B., Arkowitz, H. & Menchola, M. (2003). The efficacy of motivational interviewing: A meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 843-861.

Courses Taught: 

Undergraduate Psychology 381: Abnormal Psychology Psychology 481: Advanced Abnormal Psychology Psychology 469: Introduction to Clinical Psychology Graduate Psychology 582: Advanced Psychopathology Psychology 625a, b: Psychosocial Interventions Psychology 694b: Motivational Interviewing Clinical-Research Practicum


I am currently involved in a large clinical-research project to train corrections officer in prisons in Motivational Interviewing in order to create a more positive attitude and to reduce the risk of violence in both inmates and prison staff

Areas of Study: 

Psychotherapy research: Process and outcome. How people change in psychotherapy and in self-directed change projects. Resistance to change. Motivational Interviewing applied to anxiety and depression. Motivational interviewing in prison settings.