John C. Norcross is a professor of psychology and distinguished university fellow at the University of Scranton and an internationally recognized authority on behavior change and psychotherapy. Norcross received his B.A. degree in psychology at Rutgers University (1980) magna cum laude, and his M.A. (1981) and Ph.D. (1984) degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Rhode Island. Norcross is a licensed psychologist in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is board certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology in clinical psychology. He and his wife, Nancy, have two children, Jonathon and Rebecca.
Expertise in a field can result in a singular focus on a circumscribed topic in one or two publications. Norcross has opted for the opposite: a wide focus on several topics of critical import to counselors and psychotherapists. As an educator and trainer, Norcross is among those in the psychology profession who have published across the spectrum and in many very prestigious publications. His extensive contributions to psychological science, training, and practice are in areas such as psychotherapy integration, therapeutic relationships, evidence-based practices, psychotherapist self-care, and practice resources. Norcross has cowritten or edited 15 books, authored 50 book chapters and 250 journal articles, and delivered over 350 professional presentations and workshops in these areas of expertise in 24 countries. The impact of his contribution is found not only in the number of publications but also in their breadth and practicality. He has published in many different domains of psychology, including teaching journals; clinical, school, and counseling journals; integration and eclectic journals; common factors and alliance research journals; and key publications based in social work, education, and psychiatry.
Recognition for his work has included the 1992 Krasner Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association (APA) Division of Psychotherapy, the 1992 Pennsylvania Professor of the Year from the Carnegie Foundation, the bestowing of fellow status from the American Psychological Association in 1996, the 2003 Rosalee G. Weiss Award from the American Psychological Foundation, the 2004 Distinguished Psychologist Award from the APA Division of Psychotherapy, and most recently the APA 2005 Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training Award.
In addition to the honors and awards, Norcross has served in prestigious leadership positions in the profession. He is council representative of the APA Division of Psychotherapy, member of the APA Policy and Planning Committee, and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Register of Health Services Providers in Psychology. He is past president of the International Society of Clinical Psychology and the APA Division of Psychotherapy and was a member of the APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practices in Psychology.
Contributions to Education and Training
Norcross’s influence on clinical training traverses all levels of higher education, from the undergraduate level through professional development to continuing education. At the undergraduate level, his coauthored Insider’s Guide to Graduate Studies in Clinical and Counseling Psychology is revised every two years and more than 75,000 copies have been sold to potential graduate students. At the graduate level, the Prochaska and Norcross Systems of Psychotherapy is now in its sixth edition and its third decade of educating students. It was one of the earliest texts to advocate comparative analysis and an integrative, evidence-based perspective. His recent Psychotherapy Relationships That Work, similarly, introduces evidence-based training in customizing the therapeutic relationship to the individual client.
At the professional level, Norcross and his colleagues have promoted training through publications on self-help and self-change and on psychotherapy integration, and he has also produced numerous psychotherapy videotapes. Practical teaching tools for all three include the Authoritative Guide to Self-Help Resources in Mental Health, which describes the most effective self-help books, films, autobiographies, and Internet sites based on eight national studies involving over 3,500 clinical and counseling psychologists. With several colleagues, Norcross coordinated 12 videotapes on systems of psychotherapy (Series I) and 12 additional videotapes on psychotherapies for specific problems and populations.
Contributions to Research and Theory
Early in his career, Norcross began writing on the common factors, psychotherapy integration, and treatment-relationship matching. His influence on theory development is evidenced through the aforementioned text, Systems of Psychotherapy: A Transtheoretical Analysis, which highlights the stages of change and change processes. He has advanced research on the theoretical concepts developed in his models. These studies focus on therapeutic commonalities, exploring paths toward integration, obstacles to psychotherapy integration, supervision of integrative psychotherapy, prescriptive matching, and delineation of empirically based principles in psychotherapy. His coedited text, Handbook of Psychotherapy Integration, continues to have an impact on how trainers, researchers, and practitioners think about the evolution of psychotherapy.
From 1999 through 2002, Norcross chaired the APA Division 29 Task Force on Empirically Supported Therapy Relationships. From the work of this task force came his edited text Psychotherapy Relationships
That Work, which he considers “the most exciting of my career and potentially the most significant.” The book represents the first time that the research evidence on clinical attempts to individualize the therapy relationship has been aggregated in a single source. Because of his expertise in elements of the therapeutic relationship, Norcross was appointed in 2005 to the APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practices in Psychology. The document produced by the task force has set the course for defining the profession’s response to the juggernaut of evidence-based practice in mental health. Subsequently, in 2006, he coedited Evidence-Based Practices in Mental Health: Debate and Dialogue on the Fundamental Questions, a book that highlights critical points of convergence and remaining points of contention.
Norcross serves the profession through his editorial appointments to over 15 journals. He is the editor of the Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session and currently serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Psychotherapy, Professional Psychology, Psychotherapy, Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, the Oxford University Press Textbooks in Clinical Psychology, and the Journal of Clinical Psychology. He has served as the editor of the Brunner/Mazel Integrative Psychotherapy book series and as associate editor of the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration for 10 years.
His ongoing research into graduate education and graduate admissions has advanced the field through publication of many articles on such subjects as evaluating clinical training, evaluation activity in training clinics, training integrative psychotherapists, and evaluation of internship training.
Contributions to Practice
Norcross is roundly recognized by practitioners for his application of clinical experience and research evidence to the practice of psychology. He is viewed by clinicians as an educator and training professional whose writings bring a scientific framework to the practice of psychology. He has written eloquently and effectively for the practice audience in several areas. Some of these publications include texts such as The Psychologists’ Desk Reference, Casebook of Eclectic Psychotherapy, Handbook of Psychotherapy Integration, and The Authoritative Guide to Self-Help Resources.
It is evident in his publications and his presentations that Norcross values both research and practice and is among those who find commonalities rather than differences. He has delivered many workshops and presentations on the continuing convergence and contention between these domains and has written most effectively on the subject.
The development of the psychotherapist as a person is an important focus of both writing and training for Norcross. He has devoted two coedited books to this subject—The Psychotherapist’s Own Psychotherapy and Leaving it at the Office: Psychotherapist Self-Care—as well as numerous articles and chapters that chronicle his observations and expertise in the area. In addition, Norcross has published many articles that identify the importance of professional development in terms of self and one’s larger identity with the profession. His publications exemplify this concern: Consider, for example, his research on clinicians’ theoretical orientations, national surveys of mental health professionals, dimensions of psychotherapeutic skills and techniques, self-change in psychological distress, values in psychotherapy, and conducting psychotherapy with psychotherapists.
In concert with his students, Norcross has conducted multiple national surveys that chronicle the evolution of the profession over the past 25 years. Further, he has conducted presentations and workshops in advancing the discussion of the future of psychology and psychotherapy. Among these contributions are Delphi polls on the future of psychotherapy every 10 years, round-tables on psychotherapy breakthroughs, and lifelong lessons on and studies of the great books of psychology.
- Geller, J. D., Norcross, J. C., & Orlinsky, D. E. (Eds.). (2005). The psychotherapist’s own psychotherapy: Patient and clinician perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Koocher, G. P., Norcross, J. C., & Hill, S. S. (Eds.). (2005). Psychologists’ desk reference (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
- Norcross, J. C. (Ed.). (1987). Casebook of eclectic psychotherapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
- Norcross, J. C. (Ed.). (2002). Psychotherapy relationships that work. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Norcross, J. C., Beutler, L. E., & Levant, R. F. (Eds.). (2006). Evidence-based practices in mental health: Debate and dialogue on the fundamental questions. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- Norcross, J. C., & Goldfried, M. R. (Eds.). (2005). Handbook of psychotherapy integration (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
- Norcross, J. C., & Guy, J. D. (2007). Leaving it at the office: Psychotherapist self-care. New York: Guilford Press.
- Norcross, J. C., Santrock, J. W., Campbell, L. F., Smith, T. P., Sommer, R., & Zuckerman, E. L. (2003). Authoritative guide to self-help resources in mental health (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
- Norcross, J. C., Sayette, M. A., & Mayne, T. J. (2002). Insider’s guide to graduate programs in clinical and counseling psychology [2002-2003 ed.]. New York: Guilford Press.
- Prochaska, J. O., & Norcross, J. C. (2007). Systems of psychotherapy: A transtheoretical analysis (6th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.