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How new concepts of mental health stimulate better psychological treatments



Keynote talk: Zoom out: understanding the onset and maintenance of common mental health conditions using a complexity approach in order to innovate interventions. Common mental health disorders (depressive and anxiety disorders) are a worldwide epidemic and there


is no evidence that the epidemic is subsiding. Even more so, the impact of COVID-19 and COVID-related restrictions on the increase of depressive- and anxiety disorders, clearly shows that societal factors play a crucial role in the onset ad maintenance of these mental health conditions. Mental health conditions are seen as conditions that are caused by interplay of mental-, biological, stress related- and societal factors that can change over time. Nevertheless, psychotherapeutic interventions mostly target individual factors. One of the main challenges is to understand the causal interplay between these factors in order to explore new targets for prevention and treatment. In this presentation an integrative framework with help of the complex systems theory will be discussed that might open up opportunities to explore new targets for prevention and treatment of common health conditions (from individual interventions to societal interventions). Keynote speaker: Professor Claudi Bockting who Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry, Amsterdam UMC and director of the Centre for Urban Mental Health, University of Amsterdam. She is also President of EACLIPT. Panel discussion topic: How can new approaches to understand psychopathology provide a better basis for psychological treatments? Panel discussion members: Professor Cristina Botella, Dr Maria Karekla, Dr Eiko Fried Current psychopathology is rooted in proposals that are more than 100 years old, and these cornerstones have been cemented until now in classification systems such as ICD or DSM. Such a process is not only at risk of “reification” (continuous confirmation of suggested structure through permanent use, even if the starting point was not correct), but even more, it did not really lead to psychopathology models that are helpful for treatment planning. In this panel, we will discuss whether new approaches to understand psychopathology provide alternative frameworks for the work of mental health clinicians. Mental health conditions are seen as conditions that are caused by interplay of mental-, biological, stress related- and societal factors that can change over time characterized. Nevertheless, psychotherapeutic interventions mostly target individual factors. The main speaker Claudi Bockting will present alternative frameworks that might open up opportunities to explore new targets for prevention and treatment of common health conditions. This opens up opportunities to intervene not only on individual level but also on societal level (van der Wal et al., 2021). In addition to the position outlined by Claudi Bockting, Maria Karekla presented the attempt of linking mechanisms of action (change processes via which psychotherapeutic change can occur) with intervention choices and outcomes in an iterative, bottom-up manner (Karekla, 2021). There is an obvious shift of focus to more transdiagnostic factors, an approach that is also supported by experts like Cristina Botella. Finally, it is more and more recognized that symptoms are not isolated features, but are part of an interdependency that is better described as a network. New statistical models for classifying psychopathology and patient’s problems that consider such a network approach are promoted by experts like Eiko Fried (Fried et al., 2017), who will also be part of the panel. The new approaches might offer better frameworks for clinical work than traditional classification approaches.

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