Henny Alice Westra

Associate Professor

Locations / Contact Info:

127 BSB
Keele Campus
Phone: 416 736 2100 Ext. 33706

Email address(es):


Web site(s):

Dr. Henny A. Westra

Faculty & School/Dept.

Faculty of Health - Department of Psychology


Ph.D. - 1993
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada

Registered Psychologist Ontario - 2000

Selected Publications

 Westra, H.A. Motivational Interviewing in the Treatment of Anxiety (2012). New York: Guilford Press. Translations: Korean, Hebrew, Polish

Westra, H.A. & *Norouzian, N. (2018) Using motivational interviewing to manage process markers of ambivalence and resistance in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 42, 193-203.

Westra, H.A., Constantino, M.J., & Antony, M.M. (2016) Integrating MI with CBT for severe generalized anxiety disorder: An allegiance-controlled randomized clinical trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 84, 768-782.

Aviram, A., Westra, H.A., Constantino, M.J., & Antony, M.M. (2016). Responsive management of early resistance in CBT for GAD. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 84, 783-794.

Hunter, J.A., Button, M.L., & Westra, H.A. (2014). Ambivalence and alliance ruptures in cognitive behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, 43(3), 201-208.

Lombardi, D., Button, M., & Westra, H.A. (2014). Measuring Motivation: Change Talk and Counter-Change Talk in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Generalized Anxiety. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, 43, 12-21

Westra, H.A. & Aviram, A. (2013). Core Skills in Motivational Interviewing. Psychotherapy Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 50(3), 273-278.  

Westra, H. A., Aviram, A., & Doell, F. (2011). Extending Motivational Interviewing to the Treatment of   Major Mental Health Problems: Current Directions and Evidence. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 56(11), 643-650.

Aviram, A. & Westra, H.A. (2011). The Impact of Motivational Interviewing on Resistance in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Psychotherapy Research, 21(6), 698-708.

Westra, H.A., Constantino, M. J., & Aviram, A. (2011). The Impact of Alliance Ruptures on Client Outcome Expectations in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Psychotherapy Research, 21(4), 472-481.

Westra, H.A., Arkowitz, H., & Dozois, D.J.A. (2009). Adding a Motivational Interviewing Pretreatment to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23, 1106-1117. 


Service/Community Activities

Private Practice
Small private practice (York University) specializing in anxiety and related problems (relationship issues, self-esteem, depression), contact hwestra@york.ca


New Investigator, CIHR - 2005

Award for Outstanding Achievement, Ontario Public Servants - 2012

Advances in Humanistic Research, York Psychotherapy Research - 2009

Bonnie Adamson Quality Award, London Health Sciences Cen - 2002


Currently available to supervise graduate students: Yes

Currently taking on work-study students, Graduate Assistants or Volunteers: No

Available to supervise undergraduate thesis projects: No

Current Research

 My research is focused on the application of Motivational Interviewing (MI) to anxiety disorders and the integration of MI with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for anxiety. My collaborators and I have conducted several clinical trials to examine the efficacy of MI-CBT.

As part of York’s outstanding psychotherapy process research faculty, my current research is focused on understanding resistance in psychotherapy, especially disharmony in the therapeutic relationship, lack of collaboration, and disengagement. I am also interested in client ambivalence about change, as well as outcome expectations, and how these impact the unfolding process in therapy. In general, I am particularly interested in studying and training in core facilitative relationship skills such as empathy, alliance- building, and client-centered therapist attitudes. Relatedly, I have developed a strong interest in training therapists in process-sensitivity, including process observational skills and responsivity to moment-to-moment key contextual markers in the therapy process. 

Research Projects

Integrating Motivational Interviewing into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Severe Generalized Anxiety
Allegiance Controlled Multi-Site (York & Ryerson Universities) Randomized Clinical Trial examining CBT alone compared to MI-CBT
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount funded: $795000
Year Funded: 2011
Duration: 5
Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Generalized Anxiety
Randomized Controlled Trial examining adding a Motivational Interviewing Pretreatment to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount funded: $450,000
Year Funded: 2005
Duration: 4
Funded by: National Institutes of Health (US)

Pathways to Mental Health Treatment: Mobilizing Knowledge to Improve Consumer Decision-Making, Advocacy, and Access
Developing and evaluating information to improve decision making regarding mental health treatments for Canadian young adults
Role: CoInvestigator
Amount funded: $1,500,000
Year Funded: 2008
Duration: 5
Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Curriculum Vitae (C.V. file):

CV of Henny Alice Westra