Virginia Patterson, Exemplar of the Clinical Psychology Training Program:

Trainee, Faculty Member, Clinical Supervisor, Researcher, and Benefactor

CPTP Patterson 2 Virginia Patterson obtained her Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Stanford University in 1946.  She was one of the first clinical psychology trainees at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute.  LPPI opened its doors in 1943.  She did her fellowship in 1946-1947.  She then worked as a psychologist with various community mental health facilities, providing services for children, prison inmates, and adults in parole.  She returned to LPPI in 1950 as a staff psychologist, and became a faculty member and respected and esteemed supervisor for many years, even beyond her retirement.  A partial list of her many supervisees can be found below.

Her academic contributions focused on measurement, training, and research.

Virginia, or “Ginny,” as she is affectionately known by her many friends, students, and colleagues, has lived every role in the training program:  She was one of the first trainees in the 1940s, in the Clinical Psychology Training Program directed by Robert E. Harris.  She was a member of the clinical staff at LPPI and the UCSF faculty, and was promoted to clinical professor in 1984.  Following her retirement in 1979, she continued to contribute to the program in substantial ways.  Over the years, Ginny has made a very generous donation to the Clinical Psychology Training Program, which, in 2006, began to be used to supplement the predoctoral internship stipend to help address the high cost of living in San Francisco.

We celebrate Virginia Patterson’s long involvement with the Clinical Psychology Training Program with gratitude for her many substantial contributions over most of its history. 

Honors and Awards

  • 1944: Stanford University, B.A. cum laude, in Psychology
  • 1946-47: Fellow in Psychology, Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute
  • 1975: 25-Year Pin for service to the University of California, presented by Charles J. Hitch, President of the University
  • 1984: Certificate “In Recognition of Contributions and Dedicated Service upon Promotion to Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology,” Department of Psychiatry
  • 1995: Certificate “In Recognition for Dedicated and Valuable Service as an Intern, Faculty Member, and Clinical Supervisor, 1946 - 1995”

CPTP Patterson Virginia Patterson was a charter member of the California State Psychological Association (since 1949), a member of the American Psychological Association (since 1948), the World Federation for Mental Health, and Society for Psychotherapy Research, and several other professional organizations.

Among the many scientific and professional meetings she attended were the 1959 International Psychoanalytic Congress in Copenhagen, and the 1966 International Congress of Psychology in Moscow.

Her university service includes being a member of the Committee for Selection of Fellows in Psychology from 1950 to 1979, and on the Planning Committee for Seminars for Psychology Fellows from 1950 to 1979.  She was also coordinator for supervisory assignments to fellows in the Adult Outpatient Department from 1955 to 1979. In addition to her work with psychology fellows, she also supervised and taught psychiatric residents, medical students, social work students, and trainees in other professions and specialties.

Her teaching contributions included teaching aids for crisis intervention, analytic time-limited psychotherapy, brief psychoanalytic psychotherapy, Jungian-oriented brief psychotherapy, and brief behavior therapy.   She also developed a manual for coding psychotherapists’ interventions.

Publications from  Virginia Patterson's Curriculum Vitae (Word)

  1. Jackson, D.D., Block, J., Block, J., and Patterson, V.   Psychiatrists’ conceptions of the schizophrenogenic parent.   AMA Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 1958, 79,  448-459.
  2. Block, J., Patterson, V., Block, J., and Jackson, D.D.  A study of the parents of schizophrenic and neurotic children.    Psychiat.,  1958, 21,  387-397.
  3. Patterson, V., Block, J., Block, J., and Jackson, D.D.    The relation between intention to conceive and symptoms during pregnancy—a preliminary report.   Psychosom. Med.,  1960, 22,  373-376.
  4. Patterson, V., Harris, M.R., and Bewley, W.   Captive outpatients:  a psychotherapy program for parolees.  Current Psychiatric Therapies  (Vol. II).  Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1962, 184-191.
  5. Levene, H.I., Patterson, V., Murphey, B.G., Overbeck, A., and Veach, T.  The aftercare of schizophrenics:  an evaluation of individual and group approaches.  Psychiat. Quart.,  1970, 44, 296-302.
  6. Patterson, V., Levene, H., and Breger, L.  Treatment and training outcomes with two time-limited therapies.  Arch.  Gen..Psychiat.,  1971, 25, 161-167.
  7. Levene, H., Breger, L., and Patterson, V.  A training and research program in brief psychotherapy.  Am. J. of Psychotherapy, 1972, 26, 90-100.
  8. Patterson, V., Block, J., and Block, J.  Attitudinal and developmental data from parents of disturbed and normal children.  In S.A Szurek and I.N. Berlin (Eds.), Clinical Studies in Childhood Psychoses.  New York:  Bruner Mazel, 1973.
  9. Patterson, V., and O’Sullivan, M.  Three perspectives on brief psychotherapy.  Am.J. of Psychotherapy,  1974, 28, 265-277.
  10. Patterson, V., and O’Sullivan, M.  Six teaching videotapes entitled:  “Six Approaches to Brief Psychotherapy.”  Brochure, (1974).
  11. Patterson, V., Levene, H.I., and Breger, L.  A one-year follow-up of two forms of brief psychotherapy.  Am. J. of Psychotherapy,  1977, 31, 76-82.
  12. Patterson, V., Brief psychotherapy. In Communication and Social Interaction—Clinical and Therapeutic Aspects of Human Behavior.  New York:  Grune & Stratton, Inc. 1977.
  13. Patterson, V., and Heilbron, D.  Therapist personality and treatment outcome:  a test of the interaction hypothesis using the Campbell A-B Scale.  Psychiatric Quarterly,   1978, 50, 320-332.
  14. Malinak, D., Hoyt, M.F., and Patterson, V.  Reactions to the death of a parent in adult life:  a preliminary study.   Am J. of Psychiatry,  1979, 136, 1152-1156.
  15. Patterson, V., and Wilner, N.  Scaling the stressfulness of gynecological complaints.  Int. J. Psychiat. in Med.,  1980-81, 10, 315-325.
  16. Steinhelber, J., Patterson, V., Cliffe, K. and Le Goullon, M.  An investigation of certain relationships between psychotherapy supervision and patient change. (Submitted for journal review).

Partial List of Supervisees

  • Bill Hargreaves
  • Paul Ekman
  • Cliff Attkisson
  • Susan Scheidt
  • Jeanne Miranda
  • Joe Newton
  • Connie Hammen
  • Larke Huang
  • Tom Arizmendi
  • Jaylene Kent
  • Jeff Kline
  • Kurt Organista
  • Connie Phillips
  • Valerie Gruber
  • Richard Rickman

Excerpts from Letters of Reference

CPTP 66“I have known Ms. Patterson since my days as a graduate student, when she was one of my first clinical supervisors (in 1956), and I have followed her career ever since.Ms. Patterson received her training in clinical psychology at the end of World War II, when the discipline of clinical psychology was first taking shape, and the master’s degree was a common entry-level degree for clinicians.  She literally grew up with the field, and was already a widely experienced clinician when, in 1950, she came to the Langley Porter Institute.For over 30 years Ms. Patterson has been a valued clinical teacher in the Department of Psychiatry.  She has made a special contribution in the teaching of brief psychotherapy, and in diagnostic psychological testing.  Warmth and personal concern for students has always enlivened her teaching.While she has been primarily a clinician rather than academician, she has committed herself to the clinician-researcher dual role that was the hallmark of the early years of clinical psychology.  Her publication record attests to the fact that she is maintaining a steady contribution to collaborative research.  In several of these studies she has been the leader, and provided the persistence and integration needed to bring the findings to publication.William A. Hargreaves, PhD, 1983, UCSF

“Ms. Patterson has been a devoted teacher for many years.  She works well with trainees, particularly in one-to-one supervision.  Her participation in teaching seminars was outstanding as well.  During the years that I worked with her she participated in the initiation and carrying out of an excellent teaching-research service project (the brief psychotherapy research project).  This project was regarded by many trainees as a highlight in their training at Langley Porter and a large share of the credit must go to Ms. Patterson.  In addition, valuable research came from this project and the publications – along with other works – attest to her interest and skill in this area.”Louis Breger, PhD, 1983, California Institute of Technology


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