Since its origins, the field of clinical psychology has mainly focused on the evaluation and treatment of mental disorders. However, empirical research has shown that a focus on patients' resources is determinant in the prevention of chronic symptoms. However, the use of standardized resource measurement tools in clinical practice is hindered by the lack of suitable instruments.
To fill this gap, we have developed a tool for the self-assessment of resources that is adapted to psychiatric patients: the AERES. This tool provides a general profile of the internal and external resources that can contribute to the recovery. Our first experience and results with this tool are promising and the feedback from patients and clinicians is largely positive. We have tested this tool with more than 200 patients suffering from severe mental disorders. The results show that by becoming aware of their resources, patients increase their life satisfaction, self-confidence and serenity. They also feel that their lives make more sense and they feel happier. The AERES tool is currently enjoying some success in various institutions in Switzerland and France, where it is used routinely in several clinical services.
Autistic and psychotic-like (schizotypal) traits are dimensionally expressed within both healthy and clinical populations. While these trait dimensions are predominantly conceptualized as mutually exclusive, research suggests that these traits can co-occur within an individual. Most importantly and perhaps paradoxically, when both traits are expressed at relatively elevated levels, individuals seem to present attenuated dysfunction in clinical populations, and normative or even superior performance in healthy populations. Using multiple methodological approaches, we work with our collaborators on: (1) the elaboration of mechanisms that could explain this seeming paradox, and (2) the extent to which these benefits might generalize across domains (e.g., cognitive, affective). Currently, we are examining these effects in paradigms that assess attentional abilities, perception, theory of mind, social functioning, cognitive styles, creativity, academic achievement and religiosity.
Michiel van Elk
Sophie Von Bentivegni