More Light? Opportunities and Pitfalls in Digitalized Psychotherapy Process Research

Matthias Domhardt*, Pim Cuijpers, David Daniel Ebert, Harald Baumeister

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


While the evidence on the effectiveness of different psychotherapies is often strong, it is not settled whereby and how these therapies work. Knowledge on the causal factors and change mechanisms is of high clinical and public relevance, as it contributes to the empirically informed advancement of psychotherapeutic interventions. Here, digitalized research approaches might possess the potential to generate new insights into human behavior change, contributing to augmented interventions and mental healthcare practices with better treatment outcomes. In this perspective article, we describe recent findings of research into change mechanisms that were only feasible with digital tools and outline important future directions for this rather novel branch of research. Furthermore, we indicate several challenges and pitfalls that are to be solved, in order to advance digitalized psychotherapy process research, both methodologically and technologically.

Original languageEnglish
Article number544129
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding. This work was supported by a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; FKZ 01KG1802). The funding source BMBF had no role in the study design, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit this manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Domhardt, Cuijpers, Ebert and Baumeister.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • active ingredients
  • components
  • digital factors
  • e- and m-health
  • mechanisms of change
  • mediators
  • psychotherapy


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