Lester Luborsky, PhD

United States

Award Year: 1997

luborsky-lester_1Lester Luborsky is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Duke University. He received his psychoanalytic training and did research at the Menninger Foundation. He has spent most of his professional career at the Center for Psychotherapy Research, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School where he served as a professor of Psychology in Psychiatry since 1968. He is the author of over 400 publications. Dr. Luborsky has engaged in a range of research that demonstrates the validity of conducting emipirical research on psychoanalytic propositions and the feasibility of doing research in analytic settings. He is a pioneer in developing ways to measure psychoanalytic concepts. His innovative measures include the Core Conflictual Relationship Theme (CCRT) method, the Symptom-Context method, measurements of the adequacy of a therapist’s response to the patient’s communication, measurement of the patient-therapist match, and rating scales for patient improvement.

Dr. Lubosrky has led an extraordinary range of investigations and development of techniques in perception, personality, addiction, psychosomatics, psychotherapy, and psychoanalytic research. A few examples include the development of a reliable psychological health-sickness scale, now known as the Global Assessment Scale, measures of accuracy of interpretation in psychotherapy, demonstration of the contribution of psychotherapy to usual drug counseling and methadone maintenance for opiate addicts, the first validation of the central concept of transference, and numerous studies on the validity of the CCRT.

His career represents a lifelong dedication to the systematic scientific study of psychoanalytic concepts and hypotheses. He has demonstrated the fruitfulness of this approach more than any other single researcher.

At the Charles Fisher Memorial Lecture on May 6, 1997 at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Lester Luborsky gave a presentation on the subject of the Symptom Context Method of dealing with psychosomatic and psychological symptoms. Click here to listen to that presentation, along with Virginia Teller’s Introduction and Aaron Esman’s Discussion followed by general discussion with the audience.