One day, a professor from the faculty told me thata good health psychologist was one who knew how the different empirical techniques applied and was able to combine them in the treatment of each particular person.More concretely, he affirmed that we must do like the alchemists: to find the perfect mix for each patient.
Thanks to him, I learnedthat it was more efficient to focus on the source of the psychological problem than to extinguish it slowly.If we deal with the most superficial point, we will only achieve ephemeral and short-term progress. If we succeed in changing the cause, we will have a better chance of treating the patient and avoiding relapses. Here is the line followed by transdiagnostic therapy … But what does it really consist of?
"The great discovery of my generation is that human beings can change their lives by changing their mental attitude."
What is the problem of standardized treatments?
We are more and more aware thatit is quite common to suffer from some type of emotional disorder.In fact, it is the most common mental disorder in the population. We all know someone who suffers or has suffered from anxiety or depression. It may even be something that is happening to us. So we know how much they can interfere in our lives. And we are aware of the malaise they generate.
This is also why we are increasingly aware of the need for a good psychologist to recover our well-being. The fact is that,When we consult a therapist, we discover that not everyone is following the line of evaluation and personalized treatment that my teacher was talking about.Some continue to scrupulously respect the diagnostic label and systematically implement a treatment that is already recommended for each disorder.
Let me explain: for each pathology, there are specific programs of treatments already elaborated and standardized. Therefore, if you suffer from a certain disorder, different techniques will be applied to you, in an already determined order. The problem with this type of therapy is thateven if people share the same diagnosis, they may require different help.
What is the purpose of treatment in transdiagnostic therapy?
This does not mean that we should not pay attention to what is already stipulated.We must take into account what the scientific literature tells us about the best way to intervene with each psychological problem. However, we must be aware of the person in front of us and realize, on the basis of individual characteristics, this "ideal mix" of scientifically proven techniques that my teacher spoke about.
But what is the place of transdiagnostic therapy in all this? As the word suggests, this therapy goes well beyond the diagnostic label. Instead of starting a specific program already stipulated,it focuses on the common aspects that are observed in different psychological disorders.It is moving towards those "causes" that are fundamental to ensuring long-term well-being.
"Control how a man interprets the world and you will have come a long way to control his behavior."
Instead of working the specific symptoms of each pathology, she is concerned with the common factors that make us develop psychological problems. So,she considers that emotional disorders share the same vulnerability that, combined with psychosocial stressors, can lead to different manifestations.More concretely, she focuses on emotional regulation.
The role of emotional regulation in transdiagnostic therapy
Emotional regulation is the set of strategies we use to influence or modify the emotional experiences we experience.In other words, these are the tools we use to maintain, increase or suppress a certain emotional state. And what are the most inappropriate emotional regulation strategies most common in mental disorders? Rumination, suppression and avoidance.
"I guess it's tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail if the only tool you have at your fingertips is a hammer."
People with emotional disorders use maladaptive emotional regulation strategies that help maintain their symptoms.It is therefore necessary to work and modify them to find a psychological well-being.But without leaving aside the basic aspects of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
The reassessment of negative interpretations of situations and the modification of misfit behaviors are thus worked out. In this way, transdiagnostic therapy is responsible for clearly showing patients the implicit cognitive and emotional processes that influence their malaise. She teaches them how to change them.So we can say that it focuses on the treatment of emotion.
Its purpose is to help patients learn to cope and feel unpleasant emotionsand respond to it in a more adaptive way. It seeks to reduce their intensity and frequency of appearance. However, it does not seek to eliminate them but to transpose them to a functional level. Unpleasant emotions must become adaptive and useful. They must also be able to help us better manage our daily lives.
Images of Nik Shuliahin, Annie Spratt and Radu Florin