What is Tranlsational Psychotherapy?

Based on basic and applied research, translational research aims to create novel and innovative clinical knowledge to optimize existing interventions and to generate new treatments.

Our research group follows this agenda under the slogan "From laboratory to treatment and everyday life". Our vision is to better understand the underlying processes and mechanisms of the development and treatment of mental disorders and to improve their psychological treatment.

To this end, we combine a variety of research methods and study designs (see illustration above). For example, first findings from strictly controlled laboratory studies on the learning and unlearning of fear and avoidance are investigated in smartphone-based everyday studies and in clinical treatment studies. Knowledge from our work with patients is translated into developing suitable laboratory paradigms. In this regard, we see translational research as a reciprocal translation from basic research into clinical application, but also transfering applied questions ("When do patients decide to face their fears?") to the lab.

Our lab's main endeavor is to better understand the development and maintenance of fear, anxiety, and avoidance, and their psychopathology by investigating distinct learning and decision mechanisms (e.g., fear extinction, generalization, approach-avoidance decision conflicts). Fear and anxiety are integral parts of our lives. They are adaptive in helping us to avoid threat and harm. In anxiety and related disorders, fear and avoidance are, however, excessive, persistent, and linked to severe impairments. Dysfunctional fear and avoidance prohibit individuals from obtaining positive outcomes and accomplishing alternative goals. Ultimately, our research aims to extend current etiological models and optimize and disseminate psychological interventions, especially exposure-based therapy. At the intersection of experimental psychopathology and clinical application, we combine multiple fields (e.g., associative learning, affective and behavioral neuroscience, process-based psychotherapy) and methods including behavioral (e.g., instrumental and habitual behavior, decision-making, mouse tracking), subjective-verbal (e.g., Smartphone-based EMA), and psychophysiological methods (e.g., EDA, EMG, EKG, EEG). In new projects, we also expand our research on depression.

You can find out more about the individual research fields under the following links.

Our publications are listed here.