Therapygenetics: how is effectiveness of psychotherapy related to genotype?

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Effectiveness of psychotherapy and of clinico-psychological interventions depends on different factors: skills and characteristics of a specialist; diagnosis and extent of severity of symptoms; social and personal peculiarities of patient/client; parameters of psychotherapeutic contact. Therapygenetics is a trend of applied research at the interface of molecular genetics and psychotherapy, which considers molecular-genetic predictors of success/failure of psychotherapeutic interventions.

The aim of the article is analysis and summarization of the current research works in the field of therapygenetics, substantiation of their theoretical and practical significance for psychiatry, psychotherapy and clinical psychology, discussion of the existing limitations and requirements to the design of the respective applied research works. By the moment, contra-dictory, but at the same promising positions in therapygenetics can be outlined. In the given article the results of therapygenetic research performed mostly in accordance with methods of identification of candidate genes, are systematized. Gene-environment correlations in psycho-therapy of anxiety and depressive disorders in children and adults are described. Scarce studies of genetic predictors of effectiveness of psychotherapy in posttraumatic stress-related disorders are summarized. While planning a therapygenetic study, the following methodological, methodical and organizational aspects should be taken into consideration: sufficient representativeness of an experimental sample both from the point of view of socio-demographic characteristics and from the point of view of the diagnosis and used therapy; existence of the control group; use of assessment scales and semi-structured diagnostic interviews for assessment of functioning of respondents; universalization of protocols of assessment of the results of application of methods of psychotherapy; use of polygenomic search for associations; observance of confidentiality and provision of respondents with minimally effective ways of rendering psychological assistance.

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About the authors

Anna G. Faustova

Ryazan State Medical University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8264-3592
SPIN-code: 5869-7409
ResearcherId: AAS-5395-2020

PhD in Psychology, Head of the Department of Clinical Psychology

Russian Federation, 390026, Ryazan, 9, Vysokovol'tnaya str.

Michael Wang

University of Leicester


Honorary Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology

United Kingdom


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