ISSN 2051-8315
Psychopathology Review
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 Volume 4, Issue 3, 377-399, 2017
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Free Article Could a unified theory of cognition and emotion further the transdiagnostic perspective? A critical analysis using Interacting Cognitive Subsystems as a case example.

  Felicity Cowdrey - Clinical Psychology Unit and Research Centre, University of Bath, Bath, UK.
  Claire Lomax - Clinical Psychology, School of Psychology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  James Gregory - Clinical Psychology Unit and Research Centre, University of Bath, Bath, UK.
  Philip Barnard - Visiting scientist, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, UK.

Volume 4, Issue 3, 2017, Pages 377-399

There is evidence that common processes underlie psychological disorders transdiagnostically. A challenge for the transdiagnostic movement is accounting for such processes theoretically. Theories of psychological disorders are traditionally restricted in scope, often explaining specific aspects of a disorder. The alternative to such ‘micro-theories’ is developing frameworks which explain general human cognition, so called ‘macro-theories’, and applying these systematically to clinical phenomena. Interacting Cognitive Subsystems (ICS) [Teasdale, J.D., & Barnard, P.J. (1993). Affect, cognition and change: Re-modelling depressive thought, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hove] is a macro-theory which aims to explain aspects of information processing. The aim of this review is to examine whether ICS provides a useful platform for understanding common processes which maintain psychological disorders. The core principles of ICS are explained and theoretical papers adopting ICS to explain a particular psychological disorder or symptom are considered. Dysfunctional schematic mental models, reciprocal interactions between emotional and intellectual beliefs, as well as attention and memory processes, are identified as being important to the maintenance of psychological disorders. Concrete examples of how such variables can be translated into novel therapeutic strategies are given. The review concludes that unified theories of cognition and emotion have the potential to drive forward developments in transdiagnostic thinking, research and treatment.

Table of Contents
Overview of ICS
 Two levels of meaning and emotion production.
Explaining Transdiagnostic Psychological Processes Using ICS
 Cognitive Processes
 Schematic mental models
 Memory Processes
 Attentional Processes
 Somatic Processes
 Accounting for Comorbidity
Processes Involved in Relapse
Implications of ICS for Psychological Treatments
 The Development of Adaptive Schematic Mental Models
 Shifting Attention
Advantages and Disadvantages of Applying ICS Transdiagnostically
Future Directions
Closing Remarks

Correspondence to
Dr. Felicity Ann Cowdrey, Clinical Psychologist in Training, Clinical Psychology Unit and Research Centre, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY.

ICS Interacting Cognitive Subsystems; CBT cognitive behavioural therapy

Received 22 Jun 2014; Revised 8 May 2015; Accepted 17 May 2015; In Press 5 Feb 2016

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