The Clinical Biopsychological Approach has its neurophysiological and neuropsychological bases in the Dimensional Systems Model of higher cognitive functioning. It represents a brain-based psychotherapy integration approach that explains the impact of humanistic/experiential, psychoanalytic, and cognitive-behavioral treatments. The basic principles are encompassed in the following definition:

We each have a brain. We each have two minds, as does everyone with whom we have a relationship. We verbally think and form verbal memories. We emotionally think and form emotional memories. Verbal and emotional processing occurs independently, but each can influence the other internally, and by controlling the external world perceived by the brain. It is possible to use a brain model to guide assessment, conceptualization and treatment with clients/patients.

Further Information:

Moss, R. A. (2015). Psychotherapy integration from a brain-based perspective: Clinical biopsychology. This is a 5 hour continuing education course offered through Health Forum Online.

This is the comprehensive and complete description of all aspects of the Clinical Biopsychological approach. This course serves to bridge the conceptual divide between a neurophysiological theory and an applied clinical model for mental health practitioners. It gives a basic understanding of the brain model to avoid the impression that the simplified explanations (e.g., “giver” and “taker” relationship behavior patterns) lack neurophysiological credibility. In that regard, the first section discusses the general concepts of the Dimensional Systems Model. This is followed by an overview of the Clinical Biopsychological Model. The discussion next focuses on interpersonal behavior patterns that provide a new schema used both as a key component in the treatment of influential negative emotional memories and choosing the most effective strategies in handling current day problematic relationships. Next, there is a discussion of each of the three primary sources (i.e., current factors, negative emotional memories, and loss issues) of negative mood states. Detailed information is provided on how to conduct assessment, conceptualization, and treatment. The conclusions focus on the future of brain-based psychotherapy. The how-to-do assessment, conceptualization, and treatment is provided. This is a 5 hour continuing education course offered through Health Forum Online. This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours and ASWB Clinical CE clock hours.

Moss, R. A. (2014). Brain-based views on psychotherapy integration: Clinical biopsychology. New Therapist, 89, 6-15.

This is a primer to many of the concepts of the Clinical Biopsychological Model. It was written as an introduction for therapists lacking knowledge and sophistication in neurophysiology and neuropsychology. As such, it is easy to understand for all audiences.

Moss, R. A. (2007). Negative emotional memories in clinical practice: Theoretical considerations. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 17, 209-224.

The pursuit of empirically supported therapies has resulted in controversy and further division between practicing and academic clinicians. The current article provides an overview of a clinical biopsychological model that may serve to guide assessment and treatment of many psychological problems, with a selective review of the literature supporting the model. One particular area, negative emotional memories, is discussed in theoretical and practical terms as related to the development of clients’ psychological problems and how certain therapists’ behaviors can positively and negatively affect clients. Next, the theorized effects of psychological treatments on negative memories are discussed. The article concludes with a call for efforts to pursue a neuropsychological model of treatment based on hypothesized causal factors.

Moss, R. A. (2010). Clinical Biopsychology: Could A Grand Theory Actually Exist To Allow True Psychotherapy Integration? Independent Practitioner, 30, 67-71.

This article was written as an introduction for practicing clinicians to introduce the basic concepts of the model and describe its applications. An actual case who was treated with the Clinical Biopsychological approach, including Emotional Restructuring tied to past negative emotional memories in relationships, is described.

Moss, R. A. (2013). Psychotherapy and the brain: The dimensional systems model and clinical biopsychology. Journal of Mind and Behavior, 34, 63-89.

The dimensional systems model explains cortical processing on the basis of cortical column interactions, leading to a clinical biopsychological model which involves brain-based psychotherapy integration. The current paper provides a detailed explanation of the interface between these models in relation to psychological treatment. A specific discussion of certain psychotherapy treatment approaches is provided with suggestions on what cortical areas are being impacted. In reference to negative emotional memories there are specific, theoretically based suggestions on how to most effectively neutralize the continuing impact on a client’s current psychological functioning. Loss-related depression is explained on the basis of opponent-process theory as related to the brain model. It is hoped that this paper can generate interest among neuroscientists and clinicians to fully evaluate the value of these theoretical models.

Moss, R. A., & Mahan, M. C. (2014). Emotional restructuring: Clinical Biopsychological perspective on brain involvement. The Neuropsychotherapist, 5, 54-65. doi: 10.12744/tnpt(5)054-065

This article provides an introduction to the Emotional Restructuring session. A discussion is provided on the general design of the cerebral cortex and the purported location of influential negative emotional memories. The basic structure of the emotional restructuring session is given, followed by a description of each step as related to the brain areas involved and the impact of that step. A detailed case study is provided. The client was seen by a novice therapist (second year doctoral clinical psychology student) in a training clinic with impressive results from the treatment.

Moss, R. A. (2013). A clinical biopsychological theory of loss-related depression. International Journal of Neuropsychotherapy, 1(2), 56-65. doi: 10.12744/ijnpt.2013.0056-0065

Opponent-process theory has been discussed in relation to a number of behaviors, including addiction. More recently, it has been suggested that this theory plays a primary role in explaining loss-related depression symptoms. The current paper discusses the foundation for this view from a clinical biopsychological perspective. It discusses both treatment implications and theoretical issues, concluding with a call for further investigation into the clinical biopsychological approach.

Article Contributors

Robert Moss
 Neuroscience Models  
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