Limitations and Future Directions

Prospection gone awry may be relevant, even central, to a number of other disorders besides depression. We will leave it to others to elaborate these, but importantly, our framework is transdiagnostic. Transdiagnostic approaches assess and target core underlying processes that produce pathology regardless of how the disorder in which they occur happens to be classified (Forgeard et al., 2011). These processes span traditional diagnostic boundaries; two disorders can manifest in different symptoms and yet be driven by the same fundamental problem. We have argued that faulty prospection is the fundamental problem driving depression. We suspect that faulty prospection may also undergird a diverse range of psychopathologies, including the entire range of anxiety disorders. While we do not have the space to elaborate on this, it is an astonishing historical accident that theories of anxiety focus on the past and the present, while the presenting symptoms are about dangers that might happen in the future. Addiction is a second example that likely involves prospection gone awry: The addict cannot delay gratification. Displaying a disorder of temporal discounting, the addict sacrifices larger later rewards for smaller sooner ones (Claus, Kiehl, & Hutchison, 2011; Kirby, Petry, & Bickel, 1999; Monterosso et al., 2006). If this is so, clinicians should identify and repair faulty prospection (a core process) rather than just identifying and repairing mere symptom clusters.

 
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