Objective: Diagnosis is a cornerstone of clinical practice for mental health care providers, yet traditional diagnostic systems have well-known shortcomings, including inadequate reliability, high comorbidity, and marked within-diagnosis heterogeneity. The Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) is a data-driven, hierarchically based alternative to traditional classifications that conceptualizes psychopathology as a set of dimensions organized into increasingly broad, transdiagnostic spectra. Prior work has shown that using a dimensional approach improves reliability and validity, but translating a model like HiTOP into a workable system that is useful for health care providers remains a major challenge. Method: The present work outlines the HiTOP model and describes the core principles to guide its integration into clinical practice. Results: Potential advantages and limitations of the HiTOP model for clinical utility are reviewed, including with respect to case conceptualization and treatment planning. A HiTOP approach to practice is illustrated and contrasted with an approach based on traditional nosology. Common barriers to using HiTOP in real-world health care settings and solutions to these barriers are discussed. Conclusions: HiTOP represents a viable alternative to classifying mental illness that can be integrated into practice today, although research is needed to further establish its utility.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This article was organized by members of the HiTOP Consortium, a grassroots organization open to all qualified investigators (https://medicine .stonybrookmedicine.edu/HITOP). Alexander J. Shackman was supported by the National Institutes of Health (DA040717 and MH107444) and the University of Maryland. Authors 15 through 33 are listed alphabetically by last name.