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OnderzoekHeymans InstituteResearchExperimental Psychotherapy and Psychopathology

Research programme


Our global mission is to help explain key features of psychopathology that are shared by many of the psychiatric disorders and to translate our findings into clinical applications. Accordingly, we follow a trans-diagnostic approach with a current focus on cognitive-motivational processes and interpersonal functioning. Two central features that are highly invalidating and shared by many disorders are the unintentional / automatic occurrence of (i) negative intrusive thoughts or memories, and (ii) invalidating impulsive/reflexive behaviours. A main goal of our research is to explain the origin, persistence, and recurrent nature of these apparently uncontrollable symptoms; identify risk factors for the development of these symptoms; and to design/ test interventions that may help to reduce or prevent the occurrence of these symptoms across disorders.


To achieve this goal we combine (quasi)experimental lab research with more naturalistic studies using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA); participate in unique large scale longitudinal studies including the Netherlands Study on Depression & Anxiety ( and TRacking Adolescents' Individual Life Survey study (; and are involved in many clinical studies partly based on structural collaborations with Mental Health Institutions (MHIs) such as the in- and outpatient clinic GGZ-Drenthe (e.g., psychotic disorders section) and the University Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Accare (e.g., anxiety and mood disorders section, eating disorders section).

Research and Practice

To strengthen the link between basic research and clinical practice part of our faculty combine their university appointment with a position in a MHI; in addition, part of our PhD students follow a scientist-practitioner -track combining research, patient care, and clinical training, and who are jointly financed by MHIs and research funds. Furthermore, program members have prominent positions in several professional organisations such as the Dutch Society for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies; participate in several of the national multidisciplinary guideline committees (anxiety disorders; depression; childhood depression; somatoform disorders; early psychosis); and chair the Post Master education for both Health Psychologists and Clinical Psychologists.

Recent key publications

Young, S. N., Moskowitz, D. S., & aan het Rot, M. (2014). Possible role of more positive social behaviour in the clinical effect of antidepressant drugs. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 39, 60‐65.

Stroebe, M., Finkenauer, C., Wijngaards, L., Schut, H., Van den Bout, J., & Stroebe, W. (2013). Partner-oriented self regulation among bereaved couples: The costs of holding in grief for the partner’s sake. Psychological Science, 24, 395-402.

Sportel, B. E., de Hullu, E., De Jong, P.,J., & Nauta, M. H. (2013). Cognitive bias modification versus CBT in reducing adolescent social anxiety: A randomized controlled trial. Plos One, 8(5), e64355-e64355.

Pijnenborg, G.H.M., Donkersgoed, R. David, A.T. & Aleman, A. (2013). Treating insight in psychosis: a meta-analysis. Schizophrenia Research, 144, 109-117.

Ostafin, B.D., Kassman, K.T., & Wessel, I. (2013). Breaking the cycle of desire: Mindfulness and executive control weaken the relation between an implicit measure of alcohol valence and preoccupation with alcohol-related thoughts. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27, 1153-1158.

Huntjens, R.J., Wessel, I., Hermans, D., van Minnen, A. (2014). Autobiographical memory specificity in dissociative identity disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 123, 419-428.

Elgersma, H. J., Glashouwer, K. A., Bockting, C. L. H., Penninx, B. W. J. H., & de Jong, P. J. (2013). Hidden scars in depression? Implicit and explicit self-associations following recurrent depressive episodes. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 122, 951-960.

de Jong, P. J., van Overveld, M. & Borg, C., (2013). Giving in to arousal, or staying stuck in disgust? Disgust-based mechanisms in the development of sexual dysfunctions. Journal of Sex Research, 50, 247-462.

Laatst gewijzigd:10 mei 2016 11:23