Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry at Amsterdam UMC (location AMC)
My research focuses on depressive disorder and related common mental health disorders. I study potentially modifiable etiological mechanisms and treatment of common mental health disorders. I now work for more than 25 years in mental health care/psychiatry as a licensed clinical psychologist/psychotherapist treating individuals with mental health disorders.
Fellowship at the IAS (September 2018 – September 2019)
How can complexity modelling tools successfully be applied and explored to understand the onset and maintenance of common mental health disorders like depression in order to explore new targets for prevention and treatment?
Common mental health disorders (depressive and anxiety disorders) are a worldwide epidemic and there is no evidence that the epidemic is subsiding. Depression is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease (WHO). Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression. Psychological and pharmacological treatments are effective treatments but only for half of treated patients. Further, relapse rates in depression after remission are unacceptably high. Despite a large body of research literature, effect sizes for treatment efficacy for common mental health disorders have not increased over at least four decades. Evidence for leading theories that explain the onset and maintenance of depression is fragmented. Whereas, depression is seen as a disorder that is caused by interplay of mental-, biological, stress related- and societal factors that can change over time characterised by large individual differences. One of the main research challenges is to understand the causal interplay between these factors in order to explore new targets for prevention and treatment.