Clinical psychology and psychotherapy


Head physician

Cesare Maffei


Personality psychology and psychopathology are the main areas of the interest of the Unit. Personality may be described as a complex system involving emotional, cognitive and behavioral components which develops across the life cycle in a complex network of person-environment transactions. Personality and its role in the adaptive processes are the core research interests of our Unit. Latent structure analyses of adaptive and maladaptive personality, the role of the so-called adaptive traits in maladaptive behaviors, such as aggressive behaviors, the study of impulsivity and aggression, and the development of evidence based techniques to treat personality disorders represent some contents of group research activities.

Research activity

1. Continuities and discontinuities between “normal” personality traits and dysfunctional personality traits across the life cycle. The group is trying to understand how early difficulties with emotion regulation (callousness, fearlessness) interact with disinhibition in school-age children in predicting the risk for psychopathy in adolescence and adulthood.

2. Trait model of psychopathology concerning in particular way the Alternative Model of Personality Disorder proposed by DSM-5, Section III.

3. Squealer of childhood Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) on adolescent’s and adult’s life, and evidence-based treatment for effective intervention on adolescent/adult ADHD.

4. Adolescence as a major developmental window for prosocial/antisocial behavior. Specifically, the research group is interested in the development of self-regulatory processes in adolescence as a core component of adaptive personality development; indeed, failure in this process is linked to the onset of substance misuse (i.e., abuse or dependence), and self-destructive and self-injurious behaviors in adolescence.

5. Emotional processes and emotional responding in Borderline Personality Disorder considering subjective, physiological and behavioral measures.

6. Mindfulness assessment and its relation to emotion recognition.

7. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) implementation in Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) treatment and empirical research related to this.

8. Process-outcome research in order to clarify mechanisms associated with DBT therapeutic change.