Transdiagnostic

Common transdiagnostic processes are the driving force behind the care pathway’s approach. Rather than focusing on separate diagnoses its modules focus on processes of cognitive, emotional and behavioural dysregulation that are common to the majority of the mental disorders.

This is in accordance with the accruing evidence that mental disorders have more commonalities in aetiology, cognitive, emotional and behavioural vulnerabilities than is suggested by their different clinical appearances (Insel, 2013). About half of the people with a mental disorder suffer from more than one disorder at a time while different disorders share similar premorbid symptoms in their aetiology (Kessler, et al., 2005; Kessler, et al., 2011).

Depression and anxiety disorders - representing two of the top five leading causes of disability worldwide (Vos et. al, 2015) - have high comorbidity rates, and share many similar symptoms, features, latent structure, and vulnerability factors (Goldberg et al., 2009). Since the larger part of service users present with comorbidities and related deficits in their functioning, treatments that address all aspects - provided they are also evidence-based - may offer special advantages in terms of practicality, increased efficiency.

Another advantage is that a transdiagnostic approach is easier to train and disseminate (Mansell, et al., 2013). Therapist adherence to a single protocol can be more easily reached than while working with separate protocols. But what should maybe regarded the most important is that, in contrast to a syndromal approach a transdiagnostic approach focuses on strengths, psychological well-being and the thriving of the whole person, and not merely on their psychopathology.

This might combat the stigmatising forces that still reign over mental health problems and mental health care and relieve the extra societal burden of stigma that nine out of ten people with mental health problems are reporting (www.timeto-change). Chances are that also in this respect a transdiagnostic care pathway will be more satisfactory and, as a consequence, more effective for service users.