Go-ahead given for the world’s largest psychotherapy study at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry
The study aims to recruit around 1,000 patients over the next 8 years. Recruited patients will undergo extensive blood tests and diagnostics using imaging technology on social interaction and emotion regulation. Furthermore, they will undergo neuropsychological tests and receive an intensive psychotherapeutic program involving individual and group therapy. One third of the patients will be randomly assigned to schema therapy, another third to cognitive behavioral therapy and the last third will be supported by individual treatment. Over 8 weeks, the patients will complete 32 therapy sessions, which will be analyzed randomly afterwards.
“Our aim is to gain insight into the biological effects of psychotherapy,” summarizes Martin Keck, Principal Investigator of the new study and Head Physician and Director of the MPI hospital.
New psychotherapeutic approaches, such as schema therapy
The study is also designed to test new psychotherapeutic approaches, such as schema therapy, by assessing their effectiveness in treating depression. In schema therapy, the therapists combine methods of cognitive behavioral therapy with elements of psychodynamic approach. More than with classical behavioral therapy, the focus lies on emotions, past formative experiences and the relationship between patient and therapist.
„At present, we know far too little about which patient benefits from which psychotherapy in which way and why. This is what we would like to change,” states Johannes Kopf-Beck, scientist and Deputy Principal Investigator of the study. Thus, the study is an important step towards a “personalized psychotherapy” placing the individual patient’s well-being at the center of therapeutic care.