College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychology

Brian A. Sharpless, Ph.D., M.A.

Assistant Professor

Director, Psychology Clinic

Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University, 2006

Contact Information:

Office: Johnson Tower 364
Phone: (509) 335-3587


Personal Web Page
Clinic Web Page
Psychopathology and Psychodynamics Lab Web Page

Classes Taught:

  • Psychology 545: Advanced Psychotherapy Practicum

Research Interests:

  • Rare and Unisual Symptoms and Syndromes (e.g., isolated sleep paralysis, exploding head syndrome, taijin kyofusho)
  • Anxiety and the Anxiety Disorders
  • Psychodynamic Theory, Therapy, and Constructs
  • Professional Issues in Clinical Psychology (e.g., Empirical Assessment of Therapists' Competence)
  • The Intersections of Continental Philosophy and Clinical Psychology

Selected Publications:


Sharpless, B. A., & Doghramji, K. (in press). Sleep paralysis: Historical, psychological, and medical perspectives. Oxford University Press.  



Barber, J. P., & Sharpless, B. A. (in press).  On the future of psychodynamic therapy research, Psychotherapy Research


Sharpless, B.A., & Grom, J.L. (in press).  Isolated sleep paralysis:  Fear, prevention, and disruption.  Behavioral Sleep Medicine.


Sharpless, B.A. (in press).  Isolated sleep paralysis and affect.  In K. Babson & M. Feldner’s (Eds.) Sleep and Affect: Assessment, Theory, and Clinical Implications.  NY: Elsevier.


Sharpless, B.A, & Barber, J.P. (in press).  Transference and countertransference.  In R. Cauton & S. Lillienfeld's (Eds).  The Encyclopedia of Clinical Psychology.  Oxford: John Wiley & Sons.


Sharpless, B.A. (in press).  Serial killers, movie stars, and “eruptions”: A case of obsessionality.  In R. Summers and J. Barber’s (Eds.) Psychodynamic Therapy Casebook.  NY:  Guilford Press.

Sharpless, B.A. (2014).  Exploding head syndrome.  Sleep Medicine Reviews, 18(6), 489-493


Sharpless, B.A. (2014).  Mood and anxiety disorders or a return to “neurosis”?  Hektoen International:  A Journal of Medical Humanities, 6(3). Retrieved from


Sharpless, B.A. (2014).  Changing conceptions of the Nightmare in medicine.  Hektoen International:  A Journal of Medical Humanities (Moments in History section).  Retrieved from


Sharpless, B.A., & Barber, J.P. (2013).  Predictors of Program Performance on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 44(4), 208-217.


Sharpless, B. A., (2013).  Kierkegaard’s conception of psychology.  Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 32(3), 90-106. 


Sharpless, B. A., & Barber, J. P. (2012).  Corrective emotional experiences from a psychodynamic  perspective.  In C. Hill and L. G. Castonguay’s (Eds.)  Transformation in Psychotherapy: Corrective Experiences Across Cognitive-Behavioral, Humanistic, and Psychodynamic approaches, Washington, DC: APA Press.


Hill, C. R., Castonguay, L. C., Farber, B., Knox, S., Stiles, W. B., Anderson, T., Angus, L., Barber, J. P., Beck, G., Bohart, A., Caspar, F., Constantino, M. J., Elliott, R., Friedlander, M. L., Goldfried, M., Greenberg, L., Hayes, A., Hayes, J. A., Heatherington, L., Grosse Holtforth, M., Ladany, N., Levy, K., Messer, S., Muran, J. C., Newman, M., Safran, J,. & Sharpless, B. A. (2012). Corrective experiences in psychotherapy: Definitions, processes, consequences, and research directions. In C. Hill and L. G. Castonguay’s (Eds.) Transformation in psychotherapy: Corrective experiences across cognitive behavioral, humanistic, and psychodynamic approaches (pp. 355-370), Washington, DC: APA Press.


Sharpless, B. A., & Barber, J. P. (2011).  Lifetime prevalence rates of sleep paralysis: A systematic review.   Sleep medicine Reviews, 15, 311-315.


Chambless, D. L., Sharpless, B. A., Rodriguez, D., McCarthy, K. S., Milrod, B. L., Khalsa, S. R., & Barber, J. P. (2011).  Psychometric properties of the Mobility Inventory for Agoraphobia: Convergent, discriminant, and criterion-related validity.  Behavior Therapy, 42, 689-699.


Sharpless, B. A., &. Barber, J. P. (2011). A clinician’s guide to PTSD treatments for returning veterans.  Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 42, 8-15.


Khalsa, S.–R., McCarthy, K. S.,  Sharpless, B. A., Barrett, M. S., & Barber, J. P. (2011). Beliefs about the causes of depression and treatment preferences.  Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67, 539-549.  


Boswell, J. F., Sharpless, B. A., Greenberg, L. G., Heatherington, L., Huppert, J. D., Barber, J. P., Goldfried, M. R., & Castonguay, L. G. (2010).  Schools of psychotherapy and the beginnings of a scientific approach.  In D. H. Barlow’s (Ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Psychology.  New York: Oxford University Press.


 Sharpless, B. A., McCarthy, K. S., Chambless, D. L., Milrod, B. L., Khalsa, S. R., & Barber, J.P. (2010).  Isolated sleep paralysis and fearful isolated sleep paralysis in outpatients with panic attacks.  Journal of Clinical Psychology, 66,1292-1306.


Barber, J. P., &  Sharpless, B. A. (2010).  Supportive-expressive therapy.  In I. B. Weiner & W.E. Craighead’s (Eds.) The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology (4th ed., pp. 1739-1741).  NY: John Wiley and Sons.


Barber, J. P., Khalsa, S. R., &  Sharpless, B. A.  (2010).  The validity of the alliance as a predictor of psychotherapy outcome.  In J. C. Muran & J. P Barber’s (Eds.) The Therapeutic Alliance:  An Evidence-Based Approach to Practice (pp. 29-43). New York: Guilford Press.          


 Sharpless, B. A., Muran, J. C., & Barber, J. P. (2010).  Coda: Recommendations for practice and training.  In J. C. Muran & J. P Barber’s (Eds.) The Therapeutic Alliance:  An Evidence-Based Approach to Practice (pp.341-354). New York: Guilford Press.


Sharpless, B. A., & Barber, J. P. (2009).  A conceptual and empirical review of the meaning, measurement, development, and teaching of intervention competence in clinical psychology.  Clinical Psychology Review, 29, 47-56.


Sharpless, B. A., & Barber, J. P.  (2009).  The Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) in the era of evidence-based practice.  Professional Psychology:  Research and Practice, 40, 333-340.


Barber, J. P., &  Sharpless, B. A. (2009).  New methods – more questions:  A commentary on interdisciplinary dialogues.   Psychotherapy Research, 19, 644-648.


Sharpless, B. A., & Barber, J. P. (2009). Psychodynamic therapy.  In R. E. Ingram’s (Ed.).  The International Encyclopedia of Depression (pp. 460-465).  NNew York:  Springer Publishing Company, LLC


Barber, J.P, Gallop, R., Crits-Christoph, P., Barrett, M.S., Klostermann, S., McCarthy, K.S., & Sharpless, B.A. (2008).   The role of alliance and techniques in predicting outcome of supportive expressive therapy for cocaine dependence.  Psychoanalytic Psychology, 25, 483-498.


Barber, J.P., Sharpless, B.A., Klostermann, S., & McCarthy, K. (2007).  Assessing intervention competence and its relation to therapy outcome:  A selected review derived from the outcome literature.  Professional Psychology:  Research and Practice, 38, 493-500.


Borkovec, T.D., Sharpless, B. (2004). Generalized anxiety disorder: Bringing cognitive-behavioral therapy into the valued present. In S. Hayes, V. Follette, & M. Linehan's (Eds.) Mindfullness and Acceptance: Expanding the Cognitive-Behavioral Tradition (pp. 209-242). New York: Guilford Press.