Lorna Smith Benjamin

The latest in SASB and IRT

Professional qualifications and services.

complete-vitae-for-lsb-April 2017

Lorna Smith Benjamin, Ph.D., ABPP, FDHC received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College, and her PhD in psychology in 1960 from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, specializing in learning theory, psychophysiology and mathematical statistics. Her dissertation was with Harry Harlow and principles based on attachment and primatology have framed her research and practice. Her clinical internship and postdoctoral training were in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. There, she progressed from postdoctoral fellow to full professor, and taught psychotherapy to psychiatry residents and psychology interns until she left in 1988 to come to the University of Utah Department of Psychology.  In 2012, she retired from her positions as Professor of Psychology, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Founder of the Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT) Clinic at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI). Presently she has a small private practice, serves as a consultant at UNI and gives workshops on psychotherapy with difficult cases.


Her methodological contributions include:  a few statistics papers; Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB), a model for assessing interpersonal and intrapsychic interactions in terms of “primitive basic” dimensions using self- ratings or observer codings; and Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT), an integrative personality- based approach to treatment of complex cases. Recently, she has proposed a version of Natural Biology that is useful in explaining mechanisms of psychopathology in a way that clearly guide clinicians in activating mechanisms of change during psychotherapy with cases that have been nonresponsive. An advisor to the workgroup on personality disorders for the DSM-IV, a consulting editor to two journals (Psychiatry; and Journal of Personality Disorders), her books include: (1996/2003). Interpersonal diagnosis and treatment of personality disorders (Guilford Press).  Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (Guilford Press) and IRT for Anger, Anxiety and Depression: it is about broken hearts, not broken brains (under review, American Psychological Association).


Her honors include Distinguished Research Career Award from the International Society for Psychotherapy Research; Honorary degree (FDHC) from University of Umea, Sweden; Bruno Klopfer award for outstanding, long-term professional contribution to the field of personality assessment and a Festschrift about her work sponsored by the University of Utah Department of Psychology. 2014 Distinguished Psychologist Award for Contributions to Psychology and Psychotherapy from Division 29 (psychotherapy) of American Psychological Association

Dr. Benjamin’s specialty is psychotherapy  for personality and symptoms of mental disorders. The approach is called Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT).  She created Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB), an interpersonal model at has been incorporated in many assessment methods including the CCRT, CMP, WISPI, OPD-2. Her use of SASB also informed the DSM-IV descriptions of personality disorder.

Link to file, SASB used in CCRT CMP WISPI OPD2 and DSM IV.

She is an author on two additional instruments for assessment of personality: the Wisconsin Personality Disorder Inventory (WISPI) and the Structured Interview for Clinical Diagnosis, Axis II. (SCID-II,  now renamed SCID-PD to be consistent with the organization of DSM5). Dr Benjamin continues to be a consulting editor to two journals (Psychiatry; and Journal of Personality Disorders). With the vital help of Thomas Woolf, Hospital Director of Patient Services, and Ross VanVranken, Hospital Executive Director, she founded and directed the Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT) Clinic at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute.  Not exactly retired, in addition to the part time work at UNI, Dr Benjamin offers workshops in SASB or IRT, consultations on outpatient work for clinicians learning IRT, consultations for researchers using SASB, and has a private practice for psychotherapy (IRT) in Salt Lake City.

Link to Interview with LSB by Alexander Vaz, Sept 2016

Conflict of Interest disclosure required by University COI and IRB committees

COI (conflict of interest) disclosures for LSB

LB works on adjusting to retirement:

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