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Keywords:

  • cognitive theory;
  • depression;
  • learned helplessness;
  • neurobiology;
  • taxonomy

[Clin Psychol Sci Prac 18: 275–299, 2011]

Despite decades of research on the etiology and treatment of depression, a significant proportion of the population is affected by the disorder, fails to respond to treatment, and is plagued by relapse. Six prominent scientists—Aaron Beck, Richard Davidson, Fritz Henn, Steven Maier, Helen Mayberg, and Martin Seligman—gathered to discuss the current state of scientific knowledge on depression and in particular on the basic neurobiological and psychopathological processes at play in the disorder. These general themes were addressed: (a) the relevance of learned helplessness as a basic process involved in the development of depression; (b) the limitations of our current taxonomy of psychological disorders; (c) the need to work toward a psychobiological process-based taxonomy; and (d) the clinical implications of implementing such a process-based taxonomy.