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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Psychology


Stephen R. Shirk

Areas of expertise/Research interests

  • adolescent therapy development
  • treatment of adolescent depression
  • youth psychotherapy processes
  • alliance in child and adolescent therapy

Professional work synopsis

Our team recently completed a randomized effectiveness trial of cognitive behavioral therapy for depressed adolescents with a history of interpersonal trauma exposure.

We are currently analyzing therapy interactions to identify treatment components that contribute to positive outcomes. Based on these analyses, we will continue to modify and augment CBT for this treatment-resistant subgroup of adolescents.

A second line of research involves the examination of underlying processes that contribute to rumination, intrusive memories and worry among adolescents with the aim of devising specific treatment components that target these processes.


  • PhD, clinical psychology, New School for Social Research
  • MA, psychology, New School for Social Research
  • BA, philosophy, Bucknell University

Selected Publications

  • Shirk, S., Karver, M., & Brown, R. (2011). "The alliance in child and adolescent psychotherapy: A meta-analysis." Psychotherapy, Theory, Research, and Practice. 48, 17 – 24.
  • McMakin, D., Siegle, G., & Shirk, S. (2011). "Positive affect stimulation and sustainment module for depressed mood: A preliminary investigation of treatment-related effects." Cognitive Therapy and Research, 35, 217 – 226.
  • Shirk, S., Jungbluth, N., & Karver, M. (2011). "Change processes and active components." In P. Kendall (Ed.), Child and adolescent therapy: Cognitive-behavioral procedures (4th ed.)(pp. 471 – 498). New York: Guildford Publications.
  • Jungbluth, N., & Shirk, S. (2009). "Therapist strategies for building involvement in cognitive-behavioral therapy for adolescent depression." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 77, 1179 – 1184.
  • Shirk, S., Kaplinski, H., & Gudmundsen, G. (2009). "School-based cognitive-behavioral therapy for adolescent depression: A benchmarking study." Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 17, 106 – 117.
  • Shirk, S., Gudmundsen, G., Kaplinski, H., & McMakin, D. (2008). "Alliance and outcome in cognitive-behavioral therapy for adolescent depression." Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37, 631 – 639.