Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff

About Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff

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Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff was born in Germany and did her BA and graduate work in Groningen, the Netherlands. She received her PhD from the University of Groningen at the department of Developmental Psychology. Currently, she works as an assistant professor at the Radboud University Nijmegen in the research program Developmental Psychopathology. Her broad area of research concerns developmental processes in children and adolescents in both normative as well as clinical samples. She aims to understand how real-time processes and patterns lead to the emergence, stabilization and change of developmental phenomena and finding out what the underlying mechanisms of change are. Seeing her little sons growing up puts flesh on the bones of abstract developmental theories.

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Biography and Research Interests

Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff is assistant professor at the department of Developmental Psychopathology. She is involved in several research projects. Within those research projects the unifying theme is relationship dynamics and the application of time-based methods to study how relationship dynamics change over time. Her approach is interdisciplinary, combining developmental, complexity and clinical science, using a variety of methods (e.g., observational, diary, questionnaire).

Recently, Anna has obtained a ZonMw grant to investigate the underlying relationship processes in the formation and maintenance of alliance in a Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT) of childhood anxiety. Results of this project will be used to develop a training module for therapists. A related but new line of research centers around formalizing and testing a (mathematical) model of clinical change. It is known that CBT, assumed to be the most effective treatment, does not help 40% of the children. CBT all too often is understood as one uniform process, as if one type of prescribed pill works the same for everyone. If not all clients improve, this unfavorable outcome is regarded simply as variation around the mean. In contrast, Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff is developing a theory capable of producing models that generate individual trajectories to inform clinicians how to personalize treatment (e.g. the optimal timing of an intervention, how to tailor an intervention to the dynamic process of client change over the course of treatment).

Her scientific work with clinical samples nicely coincides with her involvement in de Academic Workplace of Youth ( Universities, health care agencies, practitioners and policy makers formally collaborate in an attempt to facilitate knowledge transfer and improve care by bridging science and practice.