Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Steven L. Sayers, PhD

Steven L. Sayers, PhD

Steven L. Sayers, Ph.D., has been a couple and family clinician and researcher for over 20 years. He has been involved in the training of psychology graduate students and psychiatry residents in couple and family intervention. His practice has focused on helping couples and families who struggle with mental and physical health problems. He is available to see families with these struggles at the Center for Couples and Adult Families and also supervises clinicians receiving advanced training.

Dr. Sayers received his clinical and research training at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC. His earliest research work was conducted in families in which one member of the family had a major mental illness, in order to examine the how this might affect family relationships. More recent work has focused on the impact of close relationships (family members and friends) on heart failure in older adults. His current research focus is the impact of post-traumatic stress and depression on family reintegration of military service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Dr. Sayers is currently Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. At the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center he is Director of the Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment.  He also directs the national VA call center for family members concerned about the Veteran in their lives called Coaching Into Care ( In 2008 he presented testimony to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs regarding his research with veterans and their family members.

Selected recent publications:

  • Sayers, S.L., Riegel, B., Pawlowski, S., Coyne, J.C., & Samaha, F. Social support and self-care of patients with heart failure. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 35(1): 70-79.2008. 
  • Sayers, S.L., Farrow, V., Ross, J., & Oslin, D. W.  Family problems among recently returned military veterans referred for a mental health evaluation. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 70(2): 163-70. 2009. 
  • Sayers, S. L. Family reintegration difficulties and couples therapy for military veterans and their spouses. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice. 18(1):108-119. 2011.
  • Sayers, S. L. Coming Back Together: A Guide to Successful Reintegration After Your Partner Returns from Military Deployment. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, in press.
  • Whisman, M. A., & Sayers, S. L. (2012) Depression. In D. K. Snyder & C. M. Monson (Eds.), Couple-based interventions for military and veteran families: Promoting individual and relationship well-being. New York: Guilford, 2012 175-200. 

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