Which psychotherapy is best?
OPTIMA - the psychotherapy study
That psychotherapy helps patients is beyond doubt by now. Yet, how psychotherapy works and what kind of psychotherapy suits what patients is still a matter of debate.
At the Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry we tried to delineate the mechanisms of action of different psychotherapies. We collected various measures of clinical-psychological, imaging, and biological information that helped us to individually direct patients towards the treatment they require.
In addition to psychotherapeutic treatment, patients received a comprehensive, multidisciplinary diagnostic investigation.
We collected information on genetics and different blood levels, applied psychological questionnaires and interviews, tested neuropsychological functioning, and assessed patients’ day- and night-time activity via an “activity watch”. Moreover, patients participated in neuroimaging paradigms on social interaction and emotion regulation.
The goal of our study was to identify biological mechanisms of psychotherapy. In this way, a multidisciplinary, biologically-driven understanding of treatment might constitute the stepping stone towards a “personalised psychotherapy”.