Michael Basseches, PhD

Professor Emeritus, Psychology

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Throughout my career, I have worked as a lifespan developmental psychologist with a focus on intellectual development, social development, and ego development. My research has emphasized psychotherapy and supervision of psychotherapy, as well as higher education and the workplace, as contexts for late adolescent and adult development. I have spent at least 50% of my time as a practicing lifespan developmental psychotherapist since 1984. I am currently using a dialectical-constructivist framework to integrate a wide range of approaches to psychotherapy, and to provide a developmental conceptualization of the fundamental processes by which all effective psychotherapy works, regardless of the therapist's theoretical or technical approach. Psychotherapy as a Developmental Process (see below) provides a set of research methods for tracking and studying these fundamental developmental processes within and across therapy cases. This framework, applicable to psychotherapy supervision and training, may also be used to understand how psychotherapy becomes stuck and to prevent "theoretical abuse" of clients by psychotherapy practitioners. Current research interests include (a) case studies of successful and unsuccessful psychotherapy using the methods of developmental analysis (b) clients' experiences of psychotherapy, (c) therapists' understandings of the nature of expertise in psychotherapy, and (d) the impact of therapists' forms of meaning-making on the therapy process. These interrelated lines of research are part of an overall attempt to articulate a comprehensive dialectical-constructivist life-span developmental model of psychotherapy process and psychotherapist training.

A recent research and professional interest is in “socially responsible” psychology. This entails foci on peace psychology and conflict transformation. I am a member of Psychologists for Social Responsibility and an author and co-editor of Toward a socially-responsible psychology for a global era (see below). My private practice of psychotherapy and supervision in Cambridge and Gloucester now includes peace and conflict transformation training and practice.

A Russian translation of my book Dialectical Thinking and Adult Development is scheduled for publication in 2017.


  • B.A. Swarthmore College (Psychology and Philosophy).
  • Ph.D., Harvard University (Personality & Developmental Psychology/ Social Relations).
  • Clinical Psychology Respecialization Program, Clark University.
  • Internships: South Shore Mental Health Center and Tufts University Counseling Center; Licensed Clinical Psychologist, MA.

Specialty Areas

  • Psychotherapy process, psychotherapy integration, psychotherapy training
  • Lifespan developmental psychology
  • Late adolescent and adult development
  • Work, higher education, psychotherapy and psychotherapy supervision as contexts for adult development
  • Conflict transformation
  • Peace psychology
  • Dialectical constructivism


  • Basseches, M. (translated by A. Krivoshanova, with an introduction by N. Veraska) (2018) Dialectical thinking and adult development. Russian Language Edition. Moscow, Russian Federation: Mosaica-Synthesis.
  • Mustakova-Poussardt, E., Lyubansky, M., Basseches, M. and Oxenberg, J. (Eds.) (2013) Toward a socially-responsible psychology for a global era. New York: Springer.
  • Basseches, M. and Mascolo, M.F. (2010). Psychotherapy as a developmental process. New York: Routledge.
  • Basseches, M. (2003). Adult development and the practice of psychotherapy. In J. Demick and C. Andreoletti (Eds.) The handbook of adult development. New York: Plenum Press.
  • Basseches, M. (1997). A developmental perspective on psychotherapy process, psychotherapists' expertise, and "meaning-making conflict" within therapeutic relationships: A two-part series. Journal of Adult Development, 4(1), 17-34, and 4(2), 85-106.
  • Basseches, M. (1984). Dialectical Thinking and Adult Development. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.