Stephen Saunders, Ph.D.
(414) 288-7459

More information

Dr. Saunders lives with his wife, Ruth, their three children, and their dog Samson. He enjoys bike riding, golf, hiking, tennis, racquetball, and basketball.


Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1990
M.A., Northwestern University, 1987
B.A., Northwestern University, 1985

Teaching Interests

Dr. Saunders teaches undergraduate general psychology, abnormal psychology, and clinical psychology, as well as graduate courses in psychotherapy, interviewing skills, and advanced research methods.

Research Interests

Dr. Saunders research interests include all aspects of the "mental health services delivery system," which include who needs, who obtains, who delivers, and who pays for mental health (especially psychotherapy) treatment. Saunders has published studies on the effect of the therapeutic alliance on treatment effectiveness in psychotherapy; on practical aspects of measuring treatment effects within real-world clinical settings; and evaluating whether involving spirituality in alcohol treatment improves effectiveness (a nationally funded study).

A major research interest is the help-seeking process in mental health. Studies in this area include how persons determine that they need professional help for a psychological problem, how persons with a mental health problem (such as depression or alcoholism) get into treatment, the effect of insurance on seeking treatment for alcohol problems, and barriers experienced while seeking treatment. Graduate students who have studied with Saunders have conducted research into the stigma associated with mental illness (Lynn Servais, Ph.D.), the effects of "wraparound" treatment programs (Erik Seybold, Ph.D.), emergency room personnel attitudes towards PTSD (see Lee & Saunders, in press; Warren, Lee & Saunders, 2003), and practical aspects of using a questionnaire in mental health clinics (Close-Goedjen & Saunders, 2002; Zygowicz & Saunders, 2003).

Selected Publications

Lutz, W, Stulz, N., Martinovich, Z., Leon, S.C., & Saunders, S.M. (in press). Methodological Background of Decision Rules and Feedback Tools. Psychotherapy Research.

Saunders, S.M. & Wojcik, J.V. (in press). The Health Dynamics Inventory. Multi-Health Systems, Inc., North Tonawanda, NY. (A mental health questionnaire; see

Lee, S. & Saunders, S.M. (in press). Emergency care practitioners’ attitudes and experiences regarding posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Journal of Traumatic Stress.

Bowersox, N. W., Saunders, S.M., & Wojcik, J.V. (2009). An evaluation of the utility of statistical versus clinical significance in determining improvement in alcohol/other drug treatment in correctional settings. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 27, 113 – 129.

Servais, L. & Saunders, S.M. (2007). Clinical psychologists' perceptions of persons with mental illness. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 38, 214-219.

Saunders, S.M., Lucas, V., & Kuras, L. (2007). Measuring the discrepancy between current and ideal spiritual and religious functioning in problem drinkers. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 21, 404-408.

Saunders, S. & Bowersox, N. (2007). The process of seeking treatment for mental health problems. Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 4, 99-123.

Krause, M.S., Lutz, W. & Saunders, S.M. (2007). Empirically certified treatments or therapists: The issue of separability. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 44, 347-353.

Lutz, W, Saunders, S.M., Leon, S.C., Martinovich, Z., Kosfelder, J., Schulte, D., Grawe, K., & Tholen, S. (2006.) Empirically and clinically useful decision making in psychotherapy: The validation of treatment response models with sequential analysis. Psychological Assessment, 18, 133-141.

Saunders, S.M., Zygowicz, K.M., & D’Angelo, B.R. (2006). Person-related and treatment-related barriers to alcohol treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 30, 261-270.

Cisler, R. A., Kowalchuk, R. K., Saunders, S. M., Zweben, A., Trinh, H. Q. (2005). Applying clinical significance methodology to alcoholism treatment trials: Determining recovery outcome status with individual- and population-based measures. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 29, 1991-2000.

Cisler, R. A., Kowalchuk, R. K., Saunders, S. M., Zweben, A., Trinh, H. Q. (2005). Applying clinical significance methodology to alcoholism treatment trials: Determining recovery outcome status with individual- and population-based measures. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 29, 1991-2000.

Saunders, S.M. & Wojcik, J.V. (2004). The reliability and validity of a brief self-report questionnaire to screen for mental health problems: The Health Dynamics Inventory. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 11, 233-241.

Warren, T., Lee, S. & Saunders, S. (2003). Factors influencing experienced distress and attitude toward trauma by emergency medicine practitioners. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 10, 293-296.

Saunders, S.M. & Lueger, R.J. (in press). Evaluation of psychotherapy. In H.I. Kaplan & B.J. Sadock (Eds.), Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Zygowicz, K.M. & Saunders, S.M. (2003). A behavioral health screening measure for use with young adults in primary care settings. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 10, 71-77.

Saunders, S.M. (2002). The Clinical Effectiveness of Psychotherapy. In C. Feltham (Ed.), What's the good of counseling and psychotherapy: The benefits explained. London: Sage Publications.

Close-Goedjen, J., & Saunders, S.M. (2002). The effect of technical support on clinician attitudes toward an outcome assessment instrument. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 29, 99-108.

Saunders, S.M. (2001). Pretreatment correlates of the therapeutic bond. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57, 1339-1352.

Howard, K.I., Krause, M.S., Caburnay, C.A., Noel, S.B. & Saunders, S.M. (2001). Syzygy, science, and psychotherapy: The Consumer Report Study. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57, 865-874.

Saunders, S.M. (2000). Examining the relationship between the therapeutic bond and the phases of treatment outcome. Psychotherapy, 37, 206-218.

Theis, G. & Saunders, S.M. (1999). The era of accountability in behavioral health care. Managed Care Interface, 12, 44-50.Kopta, S. M., Howard, K.I., Lueger, R.J., and Saunders, S.M. (1999). Individual psychotherapy outcome and process research: Is there a struggle towards a paradigm shift? Annual Review of Psychology, 50, 441-469.

Saunders, S.M. (1999). Clients’ assessment of the affective environment f the psychotherapy session: Relationship to session quality and treatment effectiveness. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55, 597-606.

Saunders, S.M. (1999). Psychotherapy is effective: A brief review of empirical literature supporting the effectiveness of psychotherapy. In C. Feltham (Ed.), Controversies in Psychotherapy and Counseling (pp. 74-85). London: Sage Publications.

Lueger, R.J., Saunders, S.M., Howard, K.I., Vessey, J.T., & Nunez, P.R. (1999). Entering psychotherapy: Probabilities, routes and finances. In N. Miller & K. McGruder (Eds.), Cost effectiveness of psychotherapy (pp. 63-71). New York: Oxford Press.

Saunders, S.M. (1996). Applicants' Experience of Social Support in the Process of Seeking Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, 33, 617-627.

Howard, K.I., Cornille, T.A., Lyons, J.S., Vessey, J.T., Lueger, R.J., and Saunders, S.M. (1996). Patterns of mental health service utilization. Archives of General Psychiatry, 53, 696-703.

Saunders, S.M., Resnick, M.D., Hoberman, H.M., and Blum, R.W. (1994). Formal help-seeking behavior of adolescents identifying themselves as having mental health problems. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 33, 718-728.

Saunders, S.M. (1993). Applicants' experience of the process of seeking therapy. Psychotherapy, 30, 554-564.

Howard, K.I., Cox, W.M., and Saunders, S.M. (1990). Attrition in substance abuse treatment research: The illusion of randomization. In Onken, L.S. and Blaine, J.D. (Eds.), Psychotherapy and Counseling in the Treatment of Drug Abuse. Rockville, MD: NIDA.

Saunders, S.M., Howard, K.I., and Orlinsky, D.E. (1989). The Therapeutic Bond Scales: Psychometric characteristics and relationship to treatment outcome. Psychological Assessment, 1, 323-330.

Saunders, S.M., Howard, K.I., and Newman, F.L. (1988). Evaluating the clinical significance of treatment effects: Norms and normality. Behavioral Assessment, 10, 207-218.


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