Centre for Anxiety Disorders 'Overwaal', Pro Persona, the Netherlands
In search of effective elements in the treatment of anxiety and depression in children and youth

Lisanne Stone is senior researcher at the Centre for Anxiety Disorders ‘Overwaal’ and clinician at an outpatient mental health facility. She obtained her PhD in developmental psychopathology in 2014 at the Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, the Netherlands. Her research focuses on two lines a) intervention research of internalizing problems and b) psychometrics of measurement instruments used in mental health. During her PhD she has published extensively on psychometrics and the development of internalizing problems in youth. She has extended her work to understanding why and how interventions for anxious and depressed youth and adults work. Specifically, she is involved in a large scale project where micro-trials for anxiety and depression will be evaluated in order to increase knowledge on effective elements of common treatments, such as CBT. Importantly, she combines her research with clinical work in order to stay in tune with what works in practice, and to know what practice needs from research. She strongly believes the collaboration between research and practice is imperative for the development of these two fields. 

Anxiety and depression are the most common psychological problems in children and adolescents. These problems have many negative consequences for youths both at the short and the long term and are associated with high mental health care costs. While research has attested to the effectiveness of many treatments for anxiety and depression, it is still largely unknown which treatment works best for whom and how change during treatment comes about. This is problematic given the fact that treatments are never 100% effective; that is, there is always a group of youths that do not profit from treatment, let alone the numbers of youths that relapse after termination of treatment. If we were to take these groups seriously, we would have to know more about mechanisms of change and why exactly these mechanisms work differently for some youths. In this symposium we present an overview of the current literature as to effective elements in the treatment of anxiety and depression, gaps in the literature that need filling and future innovative studies designed to address these gaps in the literature. Several scholars, both with a sound research and clinical background, will present their ideas and first results regarding these studies.