Psychoanalysis Unit


Patrick Luyten

Patrick Luyten

Patrick Luyten, PhD, is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium, and Professor of Psychodynamic Psychology at the Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, UCL (University College London), UK. He is also an Assistant Professor, Adjunct at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

His main research interests are disorders in the affective spectrum (i.e., depression and stress- and pain-related disorders) and personality disorders. He is involved in both basic and interventional research in both of these areas. His basic research focuses on the roles of personality, attachment and social cognition or mentalizing - that is, the capacity to understand oneself and others in terms of mental states - in these disorders from a developmental psychopathology perspective.

In particular, Dr Luyten is interested in translating knowledge about the mechanisms involved in the causation of psychopathology to the development of new psychotherapeutic treatments, evaluation of the (cost)-effectiveness of these new interventions, and their dissemination to and implementation in routine clinical care.

In recent years, his research has focused on the development of interventions based on an integrative evolutionary perspective rooted in the capacity for epistemic trust and salutogenesis - the capacity to derive benefit from the social environment. In this context, he is involved in efforts to develop a range of interventions, from selective indicated interventions for specific at-risk groups to population-based preventive interventions. As an example, he recently conducted a randomized controlled trial involving almost 8,000 community individuals, aimed at improving wellbeing, and he is currently involved in the evaluation of the (cost-)effectiveness of several school-based interventions aimed at improving wellbeing and resilience among young people. He has also been involved in clinical trials of brief psychotherapy for depression and of mentalization-based treatments for people with borderline personality disorder and for looked-after and adopted children.

The strong interdisciplinary focus of his research has led to extensive collaborations with researchers from different fields, ranging from psychology to neurobiology and health economics. Some of his most longstanding collaborations involve colleagues at the Yale Child Study Center in the USA, the Free University of Amsterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Netherlands, and the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

Dr Luyten is Director of the PhD in Psychoanalysis programme and Course Director of the PhD programme in Evidence-Based Child and Adolescent Mental Health at UCL. He is a member of the Research Advisory Board and the Conceptual and Empirical Research Committee of the International Psychoanalytical Association. He also heads a treatment service for patients with depression and functional somatic disorders at PraxisP, the treatment centre of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven.

He serves on the editorial board of several scientific journals, including Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training; Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy; Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment; Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic; Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology; Journal of Personality Assessment; and Current Medical Research and Opinion.

Dr Luyten has published over 150 scientific papers and 60 chapters, has co-authored or edited several books, and has been the recipient of in excess of 30 grants. He is also the recipient of the 2009 Psychoanalytic Research Exceptional Contributions Award from the International Psychoanalytical Association.

Dr Patrick Luyten is accepting PhD students in the next academic year (2020-21) in the following areas:

(a) Research on the effectiveness of Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT), a brief integrative treatment for depression, and mechanisms of change in DIT, using data from the randomized controlled trial comparing DIT to CBT and TAU.

(b) Research on the role of epistemic hypervigilance in borderline personality disorder (BPD). This topic is part of a larger series of studies concentrating on epistemic hypervigilance in BPD, and involves testing some key hypotheses concerning epistemic hypervigilance in relation to attachment and mentalizing in a series of experimental studies.


How to contact Patrick Luyten

Patrick Luyten, PhD
Psychoanalysis Unit 
Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology 
University College London 
1-19 Torrington Place
London  WC1E 7HB

Email: p.luyten@ucl.ac.uk