Psychotherapy in specialist care


Prof. dr. Marcus Huibers & prof. dr. Jack Dekker

It is well established that psychotherapy is a (cost-)effective treatment for many psychological disorders. But which kinds of psychotherapy are most effective? Are there subgroups of patients that respond better to a certain type of therapy? And what are the mechanisms or processes that explain how psychotherapy actually works? To address these questions, we run large-scale clinical trials in specialist care, but also small experimental lab studies in our Experimental Psychotherapy Lab in which the components and processes in psychotherapy can be studied more closely. Our work focuses on depression and is mostly experimental in nature, as this allows us to study causal processes. Ultimately, it is our goal to further improve psychotherapy outcomes and the care for patients with psychological disorders.

Main projects (selection):

  • The effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy and short-term psychodynamic therapy for depression (RCT, in cooperation with Arkin)
  • The effectiveness of cognitive therapy and interpersonal therapy for depression (RCT, in cooperation with Maastricht University and Riagg Maastricht)
  • The effectiveness of schema-focused therapy for chronic depression (single case series, in cooperation with Maastricht University and Riagg Maastricht)
  • Isolating the active ingredients of cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based therapy using an experimental sequencing paradigm (Experimental Psychotherapy Lab)
  • Reducing relapse and recurrence in depression with continuation Cognitive Therapy: a randomized controlled trial (RCT, in cooperation with Arkin and Universiteit van Groningen)

Future directions:

  • Frequency of psychotherapy sessions for depression: a multicenter randomized trial.

Representative publications:

  • Driessen E, Van HL, Don FJ, Peen J, Kool S, Westra D, Hendriksen M, Schoevers RA, Cuijpers P, Twisk JW, Dekker JJ. The efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy in the outpatient treatment of major depression: a randomized clinical trial. Am J Psychiatry. 2013 Sep 1;1709):1041-50.
  • Moradveisi L, Huibers MJ, Renner F, Arasteh M, Arntz A. Behavioural activation v. antidepressant medication for treating depression in Iran: randomised trial. Br J Psychiatry. 2013 Mar;202(3):204-11. 
  • Smit Y, Huibers MJ, Ioannidis JP, van Dyck R, van Tilburg W, Arntz A. The effectiveness of long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy--a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Psychol Rev. 2012 Mar;32(2):81-92. 
  • Cuijpers P, Huibers M, Ebert DD, Koole SL, Andersson G. How much psychotherapy is needed to treat depression? A metaregression analysis. J Affect Disord. 2013 Jul;149(1-3):1-13. 
  • Peeters F, Huibers M, Roelofs J, van Breukelen G, Hollon SD, Markowitz JC, van Os J, Arntz A. The clinical effectiveness of evidence-based interventions for depression: a pragmatic trial in routine practice. J Affect Disord. 2013 Mar 5;145(3):349-55.