Journal: Psychopathology 

Submission Deadline: September 30, 2024

Despite the improvement of psychotherapy methods over the last decades, there remains considerable opportunity to improve treatment outcomes. A limited understanding of the psychological and biological mechanisms of action through which change in psychotherapy occurs impedes the personalization of psychotherapy. A mechanism-based approach moves beyond specific disorders and focuses on the functional mechanisms needed to alleviate symptoms and enhance mental well-being.

A greater understanding of the mechanisms of change would contribute to advancing more effective and efficient treatment. Further, understanding the psychological and biological mechanisms could contribute to developing a coherent set of evidence-based core processes; these may be theory-based or modelled at an idiographic level and then extended to nomothetic generalizations using machine learning analyses. These models are essential since hypothesis-testing longitudinal designs are critical to understanding the mechanisms of change.

An advantage of a mechanism-based approach to psychotherapy is that it is not limited to a single theory or a single school of psychotherapy. It provides a more sophisticated understanding of change, which can lead to more effective interventions that incorporate various pertinent information such as a patient´s social learning history, relationship patterns, current symptoms and everyday functioning.


Each original research article will present previously unpublished data

  • on one (or several) specific changing variable(s) either of a psychological or biological nature, either related to the patient or the therapeutic relationship
  • idiographic work increasing the understanding of change processes through data based on session protocols or a moment-by-moment basis in everyday life
  • that enables predictive modelling of psychotherapy response and course and, thus, individualized treatment
  • dedicated to personalization of psychotherapy
  • that minimizes the gap between research and practice


or a systematic or narrative review of data 

  • dedicated to elucidating the central components, the mediators and moderators of change 
  • based on integrative approaches to overcome the traditional boundaries of psychotherapy schools 
  • that aim at individualized approaches to psychotherapy


Please select the option “Call for Papers: A mechanistic approach to psychotherapy” when submitting your manuscript and mention this Call for Papers in your cover letter. 

Psychopathology supports Open Access publications. Corresponding authors can publish Open Access articles at no or reduced cost if they are associated with or employed by one of these universities/institutions.

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