JHSP Editorial Style and Article Organization/Outline

JHSP uses an article organization or outline that is different from most other psychology journals. The model is more reader oriented. It attempts to meet the reader “where they are” (in the process of clinical practice) and bring relevant scientific and clinical information into their immediate clinical decision making. This makes the article more accessible and more useful to the reader.

The sections of a JHSP article are: (1) an opening vignette, (2) three or four mini-sections of orienting background information, (3) an extended description of the process of assessment or intervention, and (4) a brief closing section with the clinical take-home messages of the manuscript.  Reading any of the articles published in the last three years will quickly reveal these elements in one form or another.

The opening vignette for a JHSP article is generally around 150 words in length.  It anchors the topic of the article in the reality of every day clinical practice.  The goal is to attract the reader’s interest – and elicit of sense of identification with the clinical context.  The vignette is either made up or a mash-up of elements from several cases, designed to capture aspects of a clinical problem that will be explored later in the manuscript.  JHSP is not a case study journal.  The vignette is written from the internal perspective of the psychologist looking out at the patient – observing the behavior, hearing the words, and sensing the emotion.  The vignette ends with the therapist wondering about the next step and further information needed,

The 3-4 mini-sections that open the text of a JHSP article provide brief and concise statements of essential information about the clinical problem the article addresses. Each mini-section is only one page in length, and each has a side heading.  Examples are incidence and prevalence data, diagnostic criteria, treatment guidelines or protocols, typical manner of presentation, or other information that enriches the understanding of the clinical challenge or the patient’s experience. Creative use of figures and tables is encouraged.  Information is presented in a direct and declarative manner, with citations of sources provided.  Only a single high-quality citation is given, occasionally two.  The goal is representative, not exhaustive, citations – which supports readability.

The core of a JHSP article is a detailed description of the process of doing an evaluation and/or making an intervention.  It might include a description of psychological tests or measures to use (and how to present them and score them), or it might be a description of actually making an intervention (and the varied aspects of the problems that must be addressed, and ways of doing that).  This is an in-depth exploration of “what to do” and “how to do it”.  Sample therapist language might be presented to illustrate how to raise a clinical issue or introduce something for the patient to do or do differently.

The closing section of a JHSP article is brief, often just a page of text.  It consists of concise statements of essential clinical information – tips to remember, facts to rely on, actions to take.  Information is often presented in bullet format – generally with 15-18 words or less per bullet point.  It might take the form of “five lessons learned” or “five clinical tips to remember.”  The purpose is to create brief and concise “memory anchors” around which additional information can be attached in memory by the reader. 

For pre-submission inquiries or for more information about the editorial process, please contact Gary Vandenbos, PhD, Managing Editor of JHSP: Gary@nationalregister.org

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