On Friday, November 25, an the University of Basel awarded an honorary doctorate to Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry Claudi Bockting ‘for her contributions to psychology in research and teaching.’
The doctorate acknowledges ‘her work on sustainable treatments and relapse prevention for common mental health conditions […] her interdisciplinary work on identifying the modifiable factors involved in the onset, relapse and chronicity of common mental health conditions’ and ‘her relentless efforts to increase the accessibility of effective psychological interventions in low- and middle-income countries using technology.’
The individual and the environment
'I am surprised and feel very honored,' says Bockting, co-director of the UvA Centre for Urban Mental Health. 'I see it as a sign that research is increasingly prioritising the development and evaluation of sustainable interventions for people who have the misfortune to struggle with mental health problems worldwide. But most of all, I see it as recognition for the mental health research of all the PhD students and other colleagues and, of course, for the participating patient organizations that I have had the privilege of working with in my career. In science, you don't do anything alone.'
Bockting develops and researches interventions for the prevention and treatment of common mental disorders, such as depressive and anxiety disorders. 'These are not only disruptive to the individual and their loved ones, but also to society through, for example, dropout at work. With interdisciplinary research like we do at the UvA Centre for Urban Mental Health, we focus not only on the individual, but also on points modifiable factors in the neighborhood and in the urban environment. Both in the Netherlands and internationally.’
Among other things, Bockting, who is also a clinical psychologist, discovered that preventive cognitive therapy is effective in preventing relapse after recurrent depression, as an alternative to long-term antidepressant use. In addition, she discovered that a low-threshold, personalized form of e-health under the guidance of trained lay people in Indonesia can reduce depression symptoms and promote recovery in people with depressive disorder.
Previous recipients of the honorary doctorate include Thomas Insel, former president of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, and Susan Fiske, Professor of Social Psychology at Princeton University.