Kenneth M. Carpenter, Ph.D.

Kenneth M. Carpenter is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, in Psychiatry, at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He also serves as the Clinical Director at STARS, the Division on Substance Abuse's outpatient research treatment clinic. Dr. Carpenter received his Ph.D. from Hofstra University in 1995 and completed a three-year postdoctoral research fellowship in the Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program at The Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. His currently developing laboratory procedures to investigate the role of equivalence classes in increasing the range of stimuli associated with drug effects.


Address and Telephone
Substance Treatment and Research Service
513 W. 166th Street, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10032
(212) 740-3209

Current Research Activities:

The Role of Human Language and Cognition in Behavioral Change
Evidence suggests there are important differences between learning with words (verbal behavior) and learning without words (contingency shaped). Drug treatment programs have relied on both non-verbal methods (i.e. cue exposure, contingency management) and verbal methods (e.g. relapse prevention, motivational interviewing) to promote change in drug use, although our understanding of how these processes interact to influence behavior change in these treatment approaches is limited. There has been exciting new developments in the behavioral analysis of human language and cognition that offers a theoretical basis and experimental framework for directly investigating verbal/cognitive processes under controlled laboratory conditions. Dr. Carpenter is working Dr. Foltin on combining relational stimulus equivalence and behavioral pharmacology paradigms to create an experimental platform that can directly investigate the relationships among human language and cognition (verbal learning) and drug self-administration.

Commitment Talk and Treatment Outcome
Recent investigations indicate that a verbally expressed commitment to change during treatment is predictive of drug treatment outcome. Dr. Carpenter, with Drs. Nunes, Amrhein, and Brooks, is investigating the relationship between patient commitment language during Behavioral Naltrexone Therapy sessions and treatment outcome. This study is also extending Dr. Amrhein's previous work by investigating the role significant others have in promoting commitment language as part of the therapy process.

Training Motivational Interviewing via Live Supervision, with Dr. Edward Nunes.
The goal of this project is to develop a new method for teaching motivational interviewing (MI) to community-based substance abuse counselors, using live supervision by tele-conference.

Recent Publications