5 years ago

Practitioner Review: Empirical evolution of youth psychotherapy toward transdiagnostic approaches

John R. Weisz, Lauren Krumholz Marchette
Background Psychotherapy for children and adolescents (herein, ‘youths’) has grown more precise and focused over the decades, shifting toward empirically supported treatments standardized via therapist manuals. The manuals have increasingly emphasized precise targeting of single disorders or problems, or homogenous clusters. These focal treatments represent a valuable advance, with intervention benefit documented in hundreds of studies. However, relatively few of these treatments are widely used in everyday clinical practice, and their level of benefit may not be ideal, particularly in practice contexts and when compared to usual clinical care. Thesis These limitations may be due, in part, to a mismatch between focal treatment design and the young people treated in real-world clinical care, who are diagnostically heterogeneous, and very frequently present with comorbidity. Improved fit may be achieved via transdiagnostic treatment approaches designed to address multiple disorders and problems, if these approaches can retain the benefits of manualization and the substantive clinical strength that has generated empirical support to date. Scope Here we review the evolution of empirically-based youth psychotherapy from focal treatment manuals toward transdiagnostic approaches, and we describe and illustrate three transdiagnostic treatment strategies: (a) a core dysfunction approach, (b) a common elements and modular design approach, and (c) a principle-guided approach. Clinical applications We complement research findings with a clinical perspective based on our use of manual-guided transdiagnostic intervention in clinical care settings, and we propose directions for research and practice.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12747

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