Dave Sells PhD

Associate Research Scientist in Psychiatry

Research Interests

Therapeutic Relationships; Disease Survivorship; Experiential Depth; Empathy; Mixed Methodology


Research Summary

Therapeutic relationships—broadly considered—form the heart of my passions in research. Whether investigating observer mood in empathic ability, client perception of acceptance in counseling, or peer support in cancer survivorship, I am continually inspired by the capacity to connect with another in ways that can at once ameliorate distress and galvanize meaningful action. While squarely in the realm of clinical psychology, the subject also entails resources from sociology, anthropology, medicine, and literature, and I feel fortunate to have collaborated with authorities from all these disciplines. Correspondingly I feel most enthusiastic when employing mixed methods designs, integrating data from numbers to narratives, and assessing where the kernels of findings inform stories of personal and collective significance.


Selected Publications

  • Sells D, Sledge WS, Wieland M, Walden D, Flanagan, E, Miller R, Davidson L. Cascading crises, resilience, and social support within the onset and development of multiple chronic conditions. Chronic Illness, 2009, 5: 92-102.
  • Sells D, Black R, Davidson L, & Rowe M. Beyond generic support: Incidence and impact of invalidation within peer-based and traditional treatment for clients with severe mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 2008, 59: 1322-1327.
  • Sells D, Davidson L, Jewell C, Falzer P, Rowe M. The treatment relationship in peer-based and regular services for clients with severe mental illness. Psychiatric Services. 2006, 57: 1179-1184.
  • Sells D, Borg M, Marin I, Mezzina R, Topor A, Davidson L. Arenas of recovery for persons with severe mental illness. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation. 2006, 9: 3-16.
  • Sells D, Andrés-Hyman R, Staeheli Lawless M, Borg M, Topor A, Mezzina R, Marin I, Davidson L. Contexts and narratives of recovery. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation. 2005, 8: 203-221.
  • Sells D, Stayner DA, Davidson L. Recovering the self in schizophrenia: An integrative review of qualitative studies. Psychiatric Quarterly. 2004, 75: 87-97.
  • Sells D, Topor A, Davidson L. Generating coherence out of chaos: Examples of the utility of empathic bridges in phenomenological research. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology. 2004, 35: 253-271.
  • Sells D, Rowe M, Fisk D, Davidson L. Violent victimization of persons with co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders. Psychiatric Services. 2003, 54: 1253-1257.
  • Sells D, Martin RB. Gender and modality differences in experiencing and emotional expression. Canadian Journal of Counseling. 2001, 35: 176-188.

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