Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Psychotherapy Practice Research Network (PPRNet)?

The PPRNet is a collaboration among a multidisciplinary group of psychotherapy clinicians, researchers, educators, and stakeholders who want to: (1) advance knowledge translation of psychotherapy research; and (2) conduct practice-based psychotherapy research.

What are the goals of the PPRNet?

The goals of the PPRNet are to improve the wellbeing (i.e., health and mental health) of our community by: (1) advancing knowledge translation of psychotherapy research to improve both research and clinical practice; and (2) engaging in practice-based psychotherapy research to increase the evidence base that informs best practices in psychotherapy.

What do you mean by knowledge translation?

Knowledge translation (KT) for the PPRNet means two things. (1) KT refers to clinicians informing psychotherapy research by (a) having direct input into research questions, designs, and methods; and (b) participating in and conducting practice-based research in their clinical practices. (2) KT also refers to synthesizing current practice-relevant psychotherapy research knowledge and making these syntheses available to clinicians so that their clinical practice is informed by the most relevant and up to date evidence.

What do you mean by practice-based psychotherapy research?

Practice-based research is research that takes place in clinical practices, asks practical questions, and takes into account the complexities of clients that are treated by many clinicians. Some have criticized psychotherapy trials conducted in health sciences centres as being too academic, too detached from real world settings, and not representative of patients treated in the community. Practice-based research conducted in community settings will engage clinicians to ask their own interesting questions, and may result in findings that are more directly applicable. Such studies will be more easily translated into everyday clinical practice.

What does getting involved with or joining the PPRNet mean?

Being involved with the PPRNet can take several different forms. You can identify yourself as a friend, a member, or as one of our stakeholders on our web site. (1) As a friend of the PPRNet you are indicating that you are interested in receiving email alerts about PPRNet news, continuing education information, and practice-relevant research updates. (2) As a member, you are indicating that you also want to participate in practice-based psychotherapy research. For example, a member might: (a) help to develop and design practice-relevant studies; (b) participate in collecting data in their practice for such studies; and (c) collaborate in writing up research results. (3) A stakeholder is a professional, funding, community, or client organization that supports the PPRNet by making its membership aware of PPRNet activities, by representing their membership's views to the PPRNet, and by providing input into PPRNet activities and research plans.

How will I benefit from being involved with the PPRNet?

(1) The PPRNet will help to keep you on top of the state of the art in practice-relevant psychotherapy research. By doing so you will know that you are providing the best possible care to your clients. (2) Being involved in designing and implementing psychotherapy research means that you will have a direct influence on what gets researched, including issues that are relevant to your practice and clients. (3) Clinicians who participate in such networks have: (a) benefitted from knowing the best practices that were supported by an evidence base; (b) greater confidence in aspects of their practices; (c) a sense of community and collegiality with like-minded psychotherapists and psychotherapy researchers; (d) experienced the excitement that comes with discovering new things through participating in practice-based research; and (e) the satisfaction of being involved in an intellectually challenging and stimulating process. (4) Depending on your skills and interests, you may derive a sense of accomplishment by co-authoring manuscripts on the research that you helped to develop and carry out.

What will it cost me to participate in the PPRNet?

The main cost will be your time, but this partly depends on your level of involvement. (1) At a minimum, you would be spending some time reading syntheses of the latest research that is relevant to your practice, and/or attending continuing education activities related to the state of the art in psychotherapy research and practice. However, any conscientious clinician will do this anyway. (2) If you choose to be involved in practice-based research within your clinical practice, then this might involve some adjustments to your procedures to accommodate data collection, for example. However, patient-focused data that is collected in your practice may be of great interest to you, and may be useful and relevant to your clients. We understand that your time is limited and highly prized by you. Our goal will be to work with you to reduce this cost as much as possible, while at the same time increasing the benefits of participating in the PPRNet to you and your clients.

If I choose to participate in practice-based psychotherapy research, how will my clients be affected?

Clients must provide informed consent in order to participate in research, and a client's access to treatment will not be affected by their choice to participate or not participate. Clients will be free to discontinue from a study at any time. Depending on what is being studied, clients may be asked to fill out questionnaires at various points during and after their psychotherapy. Our experience with clinical research is that: (a) some clients agree to participate especially if they feel they may benefit (i.e., their therapist will learn more about them), and (b) many clients feel good about contributing to scientific knowledge, it gives them a sense of altruism, and it allows them to attach some meaning to their suffering.

Isn't the PPRNet just another way for researchers to get clinical data to further their careers?

Partly yes, but mostly no. The PPRNet Working Group (described below) is made up of clinicians, researchers, and educators. The majority of the Working Group practise psychotherapy, and some are leading psychotherapy researchers in Canada. Developing a network and doing practice-based research is not the most efficient way to get an academic publication. The Working Group is very passionate about psychotherapy and practice-based research. We will put in the time and effort to develop a Canada-wide practice-research network because we believe that clients will benefit most from therapy that is informed by relevant research that is driven by the clinicians who practise psychotherapy.

Who runs and funds the PPRNet?

The PPRNet is run by a Working Group of clinicians, researchers, and educators from across Canada. You can read more about Working Group members. The PPRNet will soon develop a Network Reference Group, primarily made up of clinicians who practise psychotherapy. The Network Reference Group will be an advisory group to the PPRNet. The PPRNet is generously funded by the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, and by the Department of Psychiatry at The Ottawa Hospital through a Research Chair awarded to Giorgio Tasca, Director of the PPRNet. The first PPRNet conference was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.