Clinical Applications of the Hierarchical­-Dimensional Model of Psychopathology

October 29, 2021 at 12:45 PM

Samuel Justin Sinclair, PhD, will present a virtual Grand Rounds at the Austen Riggs Center.with Samuel Justin Sinclair, PhD

12:50-1:50 p.m.  

NOTE: This is a VIRTUAL event and  requires advance registration.       

Grand Rounds are designed for mental health professionals, offered free of charge, and provide 1.0 continuing education credit (see details below). This event offers Risk Management CME credit.      

Register now

This presentation will initially introduce the hierarchical-dimensional model of psychopathology, which evolved in part as a reaction to limitations seen with conventional, categorical diagnostic systems. It will briefly review models elucidating the current structure of psychopathology (as presently known), with the caveat that we are still in the infancy stage of this research. Using Spearman's g-factor of general intelligence as an analogue, the presentation will then focus on the higher-order structures that have been shown to effectively explain the covariation/comorbidity seen in common psychiatric disorders: Internalizing, Externalizing, and Reality-Impairing dimensions, which in tum map into a global dimension, the p-factor. The clinical implications of assessing psychopathology in this manner will be discussed and will be followed by a review of available instruments that evaluate psychopathology at various levels of this model. The presentation will conclude with several clinical examples of how to integrate these assessment findings into our conceptualization of clinical formulation and diagnosis. 

Samuel Justin Sinclair, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist with specific interests in the areas of psychological assessment, psychometrics and scale development, treatment outcome, suicide and violence risk, and terrorism and political violence. He completed his internship and post-doctoral fellowship in clinical psychology at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) & Harvard Medical School (HMS) in 2008, where he remained on faculty as assistant professor (HMS) and director of research & staff psychologist (MGH) until 2016. Dr. Sinclair then transitioned into academia, where he spent the last five years developing and teaching the assessment curriculum for doctoral students in clinical psychology.  

Recently, he left academia to join the faculty at Brigham and Women's Hospital & Harvard Medical School, where he is currently working on developing an integrated psychological assessment and research service. He is founder and past-president of the Society for Terrorism Research, and founder and past editor-in-chief of the peer-refereed journal, Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression.  

His scholarship has been published in over 70 peer-reviewed journal publications and textbook chapters, and 7 books. He is also co-developer/author of the SPECTRA: Indices of Psychopathology, a new psychological assessment instrument designed to evaluate general psychopathology, published by Psychological Assessment Resources (PAR). 

For questions or additional information, please contact Erikson Institute Education Coordinator and Events Assistant, Kathleen Young at: kathleen.young@austenriggs.net / 413.931.5230.     


  1. Discuss the primary limitations of, and debates surrounding, conventional psychiatric diagnostic systems.  

  2. Explain the hierarchical-dimensional model of psychopathology and ways in which it addresses many of these limitations, with particular emphasis on the structure of psychopathology and how this can be used to inform our understanding of diagnosis and treatment.  

  3. Recognize some common psychometric instruments that assess psychopathology in accordance with the hierarchical dimensional model, and way in which they add clinical 


Approved for: Physicians, Psychologists, Social Work, and Nursing       
Pending for: LMHC     

The Austen Riggs Center designates this live interactive webinar for a maximum of 1.0AMA PRA Category1 Credit(s). Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.         

The Austen Riggs Center is accredited by the Massachusetts Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  

Austen Riggs Center, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0115.  

The Austen Riggs Center also designates this live interactive webinar for 1.0 continuing education credit(s) (CE) for psychology.        

This live activity is approved for up to 1.0 hour(s) of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™, risk management study. 

The Austen Riggs Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for the program and its content. For additional information about this program, please call the Erikson Institute Education Coordinator, at 413.931.5230.        

The Austen Riggs Center, #1344, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider Approval Period: 02/02/2020-2/2/2023. Social workers completing this live interactive webinar will receive 1.0 continuing education credit(s).         

For a listing of jurisdictions that accept ACE, please visit www.aswb.org/ace/ace-jurisdiction-map/.        

This live interactive webinar program meets the requirements of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing at 244 CMR 5.00 for (1) contact hour(s).          

This live interactive webinar meets the requirements of the MaMHCA, authorization # TBD for 1.0 category 1 continuing education credit(s).        

The Austen Riggs Center follows all state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). In accordance with the ADA, the Austen Riggs Center is committed to accessibility. If you need accommodations for your course, please contact info@austenriggs.net.       

For information about our accreditation, please visit: www.austenriggs.org/accreditation-educational-activities

Attendees who wish to receive CE credit should note: after the conclusion of the event, you will receive an email with a link to complete the evaluation and claim your credits.     


1 hour