Dedicated to the Study of Personality Disorders
The Center for Transference-Focused Psychotherapy

Professionals at The Personality Disorders Institute

Kenneth Levy, PhD

Kenneth Levy, PhD, is a tenured Associate Professor in the Clinical Area in the Department of Psychology at the Pennsylvania State University, where he directs the Laboratory for the Study of Personality, Psychopathology, and Psychotherapy. He has had a faculty appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University since 2000.  He is a Faculty Fellow and a member of the steering committee at the Personality Disorders Institute (PDI) and has been both a Principle Investigator and co-Principle Investigator on many of the central projects to the PDI  over the last 10 years.

Research Activities

A broadly trained clinical psychologist, Dr. Levy’s research interests bridge the areas of social, personality, and developmental psychology.  His main research interests are in attachment theory, personality disorders and psychotherapy process and outcome. Within these areas he focuses on social cognitive contributions to interpersonal relationships, emotion regulation processes, psychopathology, and behavior change.  His research is informed by a psychoanalytic theory and a developmental psychopathology framework.  He employs methods from experimental psychopathology and intervention science.  In his research he has utilized both psychoanalytic measures and fMRI, EEG, and other neurocognitive assessment measures.  His goal is to understand the mechanisms involved in the development and maintenance of personality disorders, with the ultimate goal of developing and studying treatments that directly target these mechanisms.

Dr. Levy’s work has been funded by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, American Psychoanalytic Association, the International Psychoanalytic Association, the Borderline Personality Disorder Research Foundation, the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression, as well as a number of other foundation and internal institutional grants. Dr. Levy has served as a science advisor to the President of the American Psychoanalytic Association and as advisors to the Group for Advancement of Psychiatry, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Psychotherapy Committee and is a member of the Committee on Scientific Activities of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He has also served on a number of NIMH grant review panels, including the committee for exploratory/developmental grants for translational research on borderline personality disorder and the interventions committee.  He was a founding member of the NIMH’s Think Tank on the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder and co-author on the committees resulting white paper.  Dr. Levy is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, Psychotherapy Research, Journal of Personality Disorders, and the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Dr. Levy has authored more than 100 articles and chapters and has published in a number of top tier journals such as the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, American Journal of Psychiatry, Development and Psychopathology, the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, PNAS, Neuroimage, and Psychological Science.  Dr. Levy’s research has been featured in Newsweek and Scientific American among other media outlets.  His work has led to his selection as an Early Career Fellow and as an honorary member of the American Psychoanalytic Association, a Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression, and early career awards from the Society for Psychotherapy Research and the American Psychological Association Division of Psychotherapy.  He has also won the Outstanding Scientific Paper Prize by the Committee on Scientific Activities of the American Psychoanalytic Association and research awards from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, the New York State and Connecticut State Psychological Associations, Cornell Medical College, and the City University of New York.

Dr. Levy was awarded the Raymond D. Fowler Award from the American Psychological Association for outstanding contributions to the professional development of psychology graduate students and was selected by the Penn State Psi-Chi Chapter as the Psychology Department Professor of the Year.  He has successfully mentored a number of his graduate students through the publication and funding process. Three of his graduate students have received NIMH funding for their dissertation projects, and professors Meehan and Cain, former graduate students, are currently in faculty positions.

Dr. Levy maintains a part-time private practice in State College, PA where he works with child, adolescent, and adult patients across a wide range of psychopathology in psychodynamically-oriented individual psychotherapy but with a specific focus on personality disorders.  He also consults in New York City and White Plains, New York.

Magnavita JJ, Levy KN, Critchfield KL, Lebow JL: Ethical Considerations in Treatment of Personality Dysfunction: Using Evidence, Principles, and Clinical Judgment. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2010, Vol. 41, No. 1, 64–74.

Levy KN: Psychotherapies and Lasting Change. American Journal of Psychiatry, 165:5, 2008.

Levy KN, Clarkin JF, Yeomans FE, Scott LN, Wasserman RH, Kernberg OF: The Mechanisms of Change in the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder With Transference Focused Psychotherapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 62(4), 481-501 (2006).

Please see Dr. Levy's website for current activities.

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