Björn Philips Foto: Psykologiska institutionen/HD

Björn Philips

Docent, universitetslektor

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Psychology
Telephone 08-16 20 10
Visiting address Frescati hagväg 8
Room B 410
Postal address Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

The main area for my research and teaching is psychodynamic therapy, especially contemporary variants such as mentalization-based therapy, affect-focused therapy, and relational psychotherapy. My clinical experience is mainly from psychiatric services for adults and it covers a fairly broad spectrum of psychological disorders, such as personality disorders, psychosis, depression, and substance use disorders. I teach at both the psychologist programme and the psychotherapist programme, primarily about psychodynamic diagnosis and treatment.


My dissertation was carried through in 2005 at the Karolinska Institutet, Department for clinical neuroscience, Psychotherapy section. The doctoral thesis was called Ideas of cure related to psychotherapy outcome: Young adults in psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

Subsequently, I was the project leader for two studies conducted at Stockholm County Council, Stockholm Centre for Dependency Disorders, and Karolinska Institutet, Centre for Psychiatry Research: Matching and Outcome of Psychotherapy at Addiction Clinics in Sweden (MOPACS) och Mentalization-Based Treatment for Dual Diagnosis (MBTDD) – A Randomized Controlled Trial. During the years 2011-2106 I worked at Linköping University, first as lecturer and later as associate professor, and during that time I was engaged in research collaborations focusing on practice-based psychotherapy research, which means naturalistic studies that are close to the clinical reality. I still have an affiliation to Linköping University, Department of behavioural sciences and learning (IBL), not least as main supervisor for three doctoral candidates: My Frankl, Ylva Söderberg Gidhagen, and Carl-Johan Uckelstam.

My current research includes several studies of psychotherapy process. One work in progress is to develop and test the psychometric properties of an observer scale for therapist relational and interactional competence.


Falkenström, F., Markowitz, J. C., Jonker, H., Philips, B., & Holmqvist, R. (2013). Can psychotherapists function as their own controls? Meta-analysis of the ”crossed-therapist” design in comparative psychotherapy trials. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 74, 482-491.

Frankl, M., Philips, B., & Wennberg, P. (2014). Psychotherapy expectations and experiences-discrepancy and therapeutic alliance amongst patients with substance use disorders. Psychology and Psychotherapy, 87, 411-424.

Frankl, M., Philips, B., Berggraf, L., Ulvenes, P., Johansson, R., & Wennberg, P. (2016). Psychometric properties of the Affect Phobia Test. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 57(5), 482-488.

Gidhagen, Y., Philips, B., & Holmqvist, R. (2017). Outcome of psychological treatment of patients with substance use disorders in routine care. Journal of Substance Use, 22(3), 343-352. DOI: 10.1080/14659891.2016.1200149

Holmqvist, R., Philips, B., & Barkham (2015). Developing practice-based evidence: Benefits, challenges, and tensions. Psychotherapy Research, 25, 20-31.

Holmqvist, R., Philips, B., & Mellor-Clark, J. (2016). Client and therapist congruence about the client’s problems, treatment alliance and outcome. Psychotherapy Research, 26, 399-409.

Konstenius, M., Larsson, H., Lundholm, L., Philips, B., van de Glind, G., Jayaram-Lindström, N., & Franck J. (2015). An epidemiological study of ADHD, substance use, and comorbid problems in incarcerated women in Sweden. Journal of Attention Disorders, 19, 44-52.

Konstenius, M., Jayram-Lindström, N., Guterstam, J., Beck, O., Philips, B., & Franck, J. (2014). Methylphenidate for Adults with ADHD Substance Dependence: A 24-week Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial. Addiction, 109, 440-449.

Lindgren, A., Werbart, A., & Philips, B. (2010). Long-term outcome and post-treatment effects of psychoanalytic psychotherapy with young adults. Psychology and Psychotherapy, 83, 27-43.

Möller, C., Karlgren, L., Sandell, A., Falkenström, F., & Philips, B. (2017). Mentalization-based therapy adherence and competence stimulates in-session mentalization in psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder with co-morbid substance dependence. Psychotherapy Research, 27(6), 749-765.

Philips, B. (2008). Young adults re-enacting in psychotherapy their relationship to a mentally disturbed parent. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 22, 177-195.

Philips, B. (2009). Comparing apples and oranges: How do patient characteristics and treatment goals vary between different forms of psychotherapy? Psychology and Psychotherapy, 82, 323–336.

Philips, B., Karlsson, R., Nygren, R., Rother-Schirren, A., & Werbart, A. (in press). Tracing negative therapeutic reactions in the early therapeutic process in mentalization-based treatment with dual diagnosis patients. Psychoanalytic Psychology.

Philips, B., & Taubner, S. (2016). Mentalisierungsbasierte Therapie bei Suchterkrankungen. Persönlichkeitsstörungen, 20, 49-56.

Philips, B., & Wennberg, P. (2014). The importance of therapy motivation for patients with substance use disorders. Psychotherapy, 51, 555-562.

Philips, B., Wennberg, P., & Werbart, A. (2004). Unga vuxna i psykoanalytisk psykoterapi. Matrix, 21, 280-289.

Philips, B., Wennberg, P., & Werbart, A. (2007). Ideas of cure as a predictor of premature termination, early alliance, and outcome in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Psychology and Psychotherapy, 80, 229-245.

Philips, B., Wennberg, P., Werbart, A., & Schubert, J. (2006). Young adults in psychoanalytic psychotherapy: Patient characteristics and therapy outcome. Psychology and Psychotherapy, 79, 89-106.

Philips, B., Werbart, A., & Schubert, J. (2005). Private theories and psychotherapeutic technique. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 19, 48-70.

Philips, B., Werbart, A., Wennberg, P., & Schubert, J. (2007). Young adults’ ideas of cure prior to psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 63, 213-232.

Wennberg, P, Philips, B., & de Jong, K. (2010). The Swedish version of the Outcome Questionnaire (OQ-45): Reliability and factor structure in a substance abuse sample. Psychology and Psychotherapy, 83, 325-329.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Björn Philips (et al.). Psychoanalytic psychology 35 (2), 205-216

    Negative therapeutic reaction was first described by Freud, and theories about this phenomenon have focused on various patient factors, for example, unconscious guilt, narcissistic pride, and overwhelming feelings of shame, as well as devaluation of the therapist as a defense against envy. Different strategies to counteract negative therapeutic reactions in patients with severe personality disorder have been proposed. Bateman and Fonagy suggested that some psychoanalytic techniques are iatrogenic for patients with borderline personality disorder and, thus, the therapeutic method must be modified. One manifestation of negative therapeutic reaction is that patients discontinue therapy prematurely. The aim of this study was to explore the differences in the early therapeutic process between therapy dropouts and therapy completers in mentalization-based treatment (MBT) for patients with concurrent borderline personality disorder (BPD) and substance use disorder (SUD). The first 2 videotaped therapy sessions from 6 MBT therapies were selected—3 therapies that were completed and 3 therapies that were prematurely discontinued by the patient. The therapy process was analyzed using the Psychotherapy Process Q set (PQS). Lists of the most frequent and least frequent PQS items among therapy completers versus dropouts are presented. In comparing the sessions from therapy completers and dropouts, significant differences in frequencies were detected for 13 PQS items. These items included therapist and patient activities, as well as features of the therapeutic interaction. Continuation in therapy seems to be related to therapists’ general skills and adherence to MBT, as well as patients bringing up significant material and not being distant.

  • 2018. Björn Philips (et al.). European Addiction Research 24 (1), 1-8

    Aims: There is a scarcity of clinical trials on psychological treatments for concurrent borderline personality disorder (BPD) and substance use disorder (SUD). Mentalization-based treatment (MBT) have shown efficacy in several trials on BPD. The aim of the present study was to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of MBT for concurrent BPD and SUD. Methods: Patients (n = 46) with concurrent BPD and SUD were randomized either to MBT in combination with SUD treatment (n = 24) or to SUD treatment alone (n = 22). Outcome was measured after 18 months using objective data, as well as interview and self-report measures. Results: There was no significant difference between the groups on any outcome variable. No suicide attempts occurred in the MBT group in contrast to 4 suicide attempts that occurred in the control group - a difference that did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.06). A majority of the therapists did not show sufficient MBT adherence and quality. Conclusion: MBT for patients with concurrent BPD and SD does not appear to be harmful; on the other hand, it is possibly helpful in reducing the risk involved in suicide attempts.

  • 2017. P. Ankarberg (et al.).
Show all publications by Björn Philips at Stockholm University

Last updated: November 22, 2018

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