Personal Background and Approach
My approach to psychotherapy is probably best described as person-centered. Each person finds themselves in a unique situation with unique dilemmas, and unique history, all of which needs to be taken into account, respected, and used to forge a useful and effective therapeutic experience.
As a person, I have a pretty strong philosophical bent, which is reflected in my interests and training, and an equally strong commitment to practical reality. I tend to see the deeper work of therapy, which is about self-understanding, and the practical work of therapy, which is about improving day-to-day quality of life, as inseparable. An important part of therapy is understanding how the past impacts the now, and making changes where possible so that life can be lived with more authenticity, choice, and freedom. This process, while very important and essentially growth-promoting, can also be dynamic, creative, and even a lot of fun.
I am drawn to ideas that prioritize and value the whole person. Humanistic, existential, and psychoanalytic theories (particularly phenomenological, self-psychological, and interpersonal) greatly inform my understanding of people. Yet the process of change itself doesn’t always fit some grand theory and varies from person to person. So, while very interested in big ideas about people in general, my clinical priority is the subjective experience of each individual person. I pay special attention to the here-and-now of the therapy encounter, from which different people need different things.
I first completed a Master’s Degree (State University of New York at Brockport), which trained cognitive-behavioral therapy, an approach essential to the practical element referenced above. Once completed, I sought exclusively those PhD programs that provided opportunities to study the whole person, including the development of personality and individual differences. At the University of Toledo, I did so in the Psychological Assessment Lab. https://www.utoledo.edu/al/psychology/research/psych_assess/
Following Toledo, I completed my APA-approved pre-doctoral internship through Harvard Medical School (HMS) at BIDMC/Massachusetts Mental Health Center, then completed a post-doctoral program through HMS at Cambridge Health Alliance in the Program for Psychotherapy, a two-year training program in psychodynamic theory and psychodynamic psychotherapy. After that, I began as staff at Cambridge Health Alliance and joined the faculty at HMS. In my role as Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at HMS, I supervise pre-doctoral interns and co-teach a Clinical Interviewing seminar to 1st year PhD students in Clinical Psychology at Harvard. Though currently in full-time private practice, I retain a faculty appointment with HMS and continue to have roles supervising and teaching.
Mihura, J. L., Roy, M., & Graceffo, R. A. (2017). Psychological assessment training in clinical psychology doctoral programs. Journal of Personality Assessment, 99, 153-164. doi:10.1080/00223891.2016.1201978
Graceffo, R. A.., Mihura, J. L, & Meyer, G. J. (2014). A meta-analysis of an implicit measure of personality functioning: The Mutuality of Autonomy Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 96, 581-595. doi: 10.1037/a0029406
Mihura, J. L., & Graceffo, R. A. (2014). Multimethod assessment and treatment planning. In C. J. Hopwood & R. F. Bornstein (Eds.), Multimethod clinical assessment (285-318). Guilford Press
Manuscripts in Preparation
Graceffo, R. A. A Method of Knowing: Psychotherapy and Freedom (book in preparation)
Mihura, J. L., Roy, M., & Graceffo, R. A. (2016, March). Psychological assessment in doctoral training programs. Paper presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality Assessment, Chicago, IL, March 12.
Graceffo, R. A., Mihura, J. L. (2014, March). Integrating introspected information with thematic material on performance-based measures. In R. Graceffo (Chair), Four cases highlighting the benefits of multimethod assessment. Integrated paper session, Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality Assessment, Washington, DC.
Graceffo, R. A. (2013, October). The relationship between relational dynamics and symptoms: A personality assessment case presentation. Presentation to faculty in partial fulfillment of doctoral degree, Toledo, OH.
Eblin, J. J., & Graceffo, R. A. (2013, July). Assessment of ADHD in adults. Presentation at training workshop for employees of Harbor Behavioral Healthcare (CMHC, Toledo, OH) at Lourdes College, Sylvania, OH.
Mihura, J. L., & Graceffo, R. A. (2013, March). The significance of the assessment method for treatment planning. Paper presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality Assessment, San Diego, CA.
Graceffo, R. A.. & Gillespie, J.F. (2012, May). Exploring differences in capacity to experience awe and elevation. Poster presented at the 2012 Association for Psychological Science Convention, Chicago, IL.
Graceffo, R. A., Mihura, J. L., & Meyer, G. M. (2012, March). Mutuality of Autonomy Scale: A systematic review of the validity literature. In R. Graceffo (Chair), Explorations into narcissism, aggression, dependency, and object representations with the Rorschach. Integrated paper session conducted at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality Assessment, Chicago, IL.
Graceffo, R. A.., Mihura, J.L., & Meyer, G.M. (2011, March). Mutuality of Autonomy Scale: A systematic review of the validity literature. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of Society for Personality Assessment, Boston, MA.
Gillespie, J.F., Curran, R.J., Graceffo, R. A., Graceffo, J.M., Salen, W.L., & Stuart, T. (2009, August). Positive emotion in individuals publicly expressing gratitude. Poster presented at the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Ontario.