Personalized Assessment and Network Model Feedback: An Empirically-Based Approach to Personalizing Psychotherapy

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Title: Personalized Assessment and Network Model Feedback: An Empirically-Based Approach to Personalizing Psychotherapy
Authors: Hall, Mila
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Thesis advisor: Prof. Dr. Julian Rubel
Thesis referee: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Lutz
PD Dr. Andrea Hermann
Abstract: Background: Network modeling has become an increasingly popular method of data analysis within psychology. The appeal of visually displaying relationships between psychological variables (i.e., individual symptoms) may be explained by its potentials for use in clinical practice. Most network model studies suggest that future research could have relevant clinical implications. What that means, concretely, has not been explored in much depth. One potential avenue towards integrating network models into clinical practice constitutes providing treating psychotherapists with their patients’ networks, in the form of feedback. The research of feedback in psychotherapy shows that providing psychotherapists with more information about their patients most often leads to improved therapeutic outcomes (i.e., faster and greater reduction of symptomatology). In order to create these patient-level networks, intensive data collection schedules (e.g., Ecological Momentary Assessment; EMA), can be used. Methods: Providing therapists with their patients’ EMA-based network models, exploring how these models were utilized, and measuring to what extent this form of feedback beneficially impacts therapeutic outcomes are the foci of the TheraNet Project. This dissertation provides first insights into how the TheraNet Project was developed (Study 1), implemented (Study 2), and perceived by participating therapists (Studies 3 and 4). In Study 1, an overview of existing EMA methodologies were explored in an effort to provide guidance for the EMA design within TheraNet. Study 2 provided detailed information about the finalized design of TheraNet, and included two examples of patient feedback and their treating therapists’ reactions thereto. Study 3 focused on the therapists’ first reactions to their first TheraNet patients’ feedback in the context of an interpretation workshop. Lastly, Study 4 analyzed retrospective focus groups with therapists who had been participating for a longer amount of time, as a way to understand their use of the feedback over time/across patients and to gain more insights into potential obstacles to use. Results: Findings indicate that networks may hold value as clinical feedback tools for therapists, though several suggestions for the networks’ clinical optimization were made too. Other contextual factors also significantly contributed to the use or non-use of the network feedback, which should be considered in future research. Conclusions: Networks can be useful in clinical practice, though contextual/systemic barriers may cause problems in the implementation of these kinds of studies. Quantitative, session-to-session measurement of therapeutic progress and outcomes within the TheraNet Project are still ongoing and will need to be interpreted within the context of the results described here.
Subject Keywords: psychotherapy; personalization; network models; ecological momentary assessment
Issue Date: 10-Aug-2023
License name: Attribution 3.0 Germany
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Type of publication: Dissertation oder Habilitation [doctoralThesis]
Appears in Collections:FB08 - E-Dissertationen

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