My research program is focused on two areas of rich clinical implications: career decision-making and psychotherapy science.

In career decision-making, I mainly conduct research on ambiguity management in career decision-making (CDM) and career decision-making difficulties. Regarding ambiguity management, I am interested in exploring and expanding two research lines: the role of ambiguity management in CDM and career development, and antecedents of ambiguity management (AM) in CDM. Although research in the field traditionally has been focused on information acquiring and matching in CDM, I believe that managing inevitable informational ambiguity also plays a critical role in this process. My research team has developed a measure of AM (CDAM) and examined its associated variables such as career decision self-efficacy, career adaptability, career indecision, calling, and adherence to RIASEC. Additionally, I believe that cultural contexts influence ambiguity management in CDM and hope to further explore this issue.

Regarding career decision-making difficulties (CDMD), I focus on the taxonomy, assessment, and interventions of CDM. My research team has developed an integrative model of CDMD in the Western and Eastern cultural contexts. Using item response theory, I also have developed a psychometrically sound brief measure of the integrative CDMD model (CIP-Short).

Additionally, I am interested in psychotherapy science, including therapeutic relationships, psychotherapy efficacy, etc.  Although it is generally difficult to conduct psychotherapy research, I do hope to expand my previous projects on a reciprocal model of working alliance and the association between cultural congruence and psychotherapy efficacy. It is not new that psychotherapy works, but it remains far from conclusive what exactly contributes to psychotherapy efficacy through which mechanism. I particularly believe we should move beyond working alliance to answer importance questions, such as how to establish working alliance and why therapist-client agreement is important.

Finally, I can say I am generally interested in the scientific inquiry of counseling psychology. So, I am happy to work with students and collaborators on their research topics based on shared interests. For more information, please contact Dr. Xu at hxu2@luc.edu.