The Cooperative Revolution Reaches Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy: An Example From Germany
Background: Psychology is at the beginning of a cooperative revolution. Traditionally, psychological research has been conducted by individual labs, limiting its scope in clinical samples and promoting replication problems. Large-scale collaborations create new opportunities for highly powered studies in this resource-intensive research area. To present the current state of a Germany-wide platform for coordinating research across university outpatient clinics for psychotherapy. Method: Since 1999, over 50 such clinics were created in Germany. They represent a unique infrastructure for research, training, and clinical care. In 2013, a steering committee initiated a nationwide research platform for systematic coordination of research in these clinics (German abbreviation “KODAP”). Its main goal is to aggregate and analyze longitudinal treatment data – including patient, therapist, and treatment characteristics – across all participating clinics. Results: An initial survey (100% response rate) yielded recommendations for improved integration of data collection. Pilot data from 4,504 adult (16 clinics) and 568 child and adolescent patients (7 clinics) proved feasibility of data transfer and aggregation despite different data formats. Affective, neurotic, stress, and somatoform (adults) and anxiety and behavioral (children and adolescents) disorders were most frequent; comorbidity was high. Overcoming legal, methodological, and technical challenges, a common core assessment battery was developed, and data collection started in 2018. To date, 42 clinics have joined. Conclusions:KODAP shows that research collaboration across university outpatient clinics is feasible. Fulfilling the need for stronger cumulative and cooperative research in Clinical Psychology will contribute to better knowledge about mental health, a core challenge to modern societies.