Psychotherapy is an inherently idiographic process. Whether through cognitive, behavioral, or emotion-focused therapies the vehicle of change lies within the cognitions, behaviors, and emotions of the individual. However, our approaches to assessing process and outcome in psychotherapy are almost exclusively at the group level. Such an approach assumes a level of homogeneity in psychotherapy that is rarely extant in our data. Surely change in individuals should be assessed at the individual level. If we take this notion to its logical conclusion, not only should we assess progress in psychotherapy at the individual level, we should seek to find ways to identify the person-relevant dimensions of psychopathology that generate distress and impairment for each individual in their daily lives. Thus, the personalization of clinical science broadly could likely help to make our therapeutic interventions more efficient and fine-tuned.The present talk will present rationales and procedures for pursuing a person-specific model of psychopathology and psychotherapy. Within this framework, I will discuss the reduction of broad psychopathological profiles (e.g. DSM symptom criteria) into narrower, person-relevant dimensions, and the assessment of these dimensions over time in order to determine the underlying causal dynamics within and between treatment-relevant phenomena. Data from a current clinical trial for personalized assessment and psychotherapy will be presented. It will be demonstrated how diagnostic criteria from the DSM can be factor-analyzed within individuals and how these latent factors can be used to detail causal relationships between symptom domains. Moreover, discussion will focus on how this approach facilitates personalized psychotherapy across diagnoses.
Aaron J. Fisher – Tailoring psychotherapy to the individual client