Even with an ideal therapist, therapy doesn’t work for everyone. Figuring out beforehand could save therapy-goers money and disappointment. One trend in medical research is to look at a person’s genetic profile to see if it affects how they will respond to a certain medication. Psychology researchers decided to apply the same logic to psychotherapy: are there certain genetic indicators of whether or not an individual responds positively to psychotherapy?
A preliminary study found a significant difference between lasting treatment success and alleles on the NGF gene in anxious children:
We each have two copies of the NGF gene, rs6330, which can come in two versions, known as the T allele or the C allele. Lester and her team found that among children with two copies of the T allele version, 76.7 per cent were free of their primary anxiety diagnosis at follow up, compared with 63.5 per cent of children with one C version and one T version, and just 53.2 per cent of children with two copies of the C allele. These associations held, even after controlling for other clinically relevant factors such as age, gender and geographical location.
If genes influence how well you respond to psychotherapy, it’s possible that certain genes influence how videogames and other media impact us. ICO is life-changing game for some and merely a diversion for others; perhaps our differences in taste are connected to small differences in the chemicals that determine our bodies’ components.