> Libet Research Lab


Giovanni M. Ruggiero, MD

Sandra Sassaroli, MD


Giovanni Mansueto

Research area:

A basic assumption of the Lab is that in cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) the case formulation is not just an opening move focused on the assessment of cognitive hypothesis about the precipitants and maintaining factors of a patient’s emotional disorders, but it is the main operative tool which allows cognitive therapists to handle the whole psychotherapeutic process, including not only specific cognitive and behavioral components of the treatment but also relational and aspecific factors, such as therapeutic alliance and relationship.
The LIBET Research Lab aims to develop a testable clinical model of case conceptualization which would translate in processual terms concepts coming from either the cognitive or the constructivistic tradition of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The Life themes and plans Implications of biased Beliefs: Elicitation and Treatment (LIBET, Sassaroli et al., 2016, 2017a, 2017b) conceptualizes emotional disorder by using two axis: 1) a negative appraisal of categories of events and of relational patterns, so-called “life themes”, learnt in significant experiences and relationships evaluated as intolerably painful and grievous; 2) a rigid and unidimensionally management of “life themes” implemented using inflexibly avoidant, controlling and/or compensative strategies even at cost to renounce to significant areas of emotive, cognitive and behavioural exploration and personal and relational satisfaction. These strategies can be partially functional in given periods of life, but can also hinder personal development and may lead to a psychopathological onset depending on a final failure of the rigid plan in which the emotional cost of the renounces becomes too high. In addition, LIBET measures the severity of the emotional disorder in metacognitive and processual terms: theme untolerability and conditioning and plans’ necessity and uncontrollability, given that metacognitive processes are considered the main factors of psychopathology (Wells, 2009). The lab activity aims to empirically validate the LIBET model and test its clinical applicability.


This laboratory aims to test the validity of the LIBET variables as reliable tools for evaluating the conceptualization of the case, the ways of sharing the conceptualization of the LIBET case and measuring the effect of the LIBET procedure on clinical change. The basic hypotheses are that CBT implemented using the shared case formulation is more effective and that in CBT the specific effect of the therapeutic alliance and relationship is an outcome of the shared case formulation.

Areas of interest:

  • Case conceptualization
  • Application to I DSM axis disorders: anxiety disorders, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression
  • Application to II DSM axis disorders: anxiety disorders, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression: personality disorders
  • Degree of LIBET sharing as a measure of therapeutic alliance

Running projects:

TitleSFU Staff (Head)TimelineStatus and Fund
LIBET validationSassaroli, Ruggiero, Crestini, Mansueto, Oppo, Offredi, Palmieri2016-In progress

Clinical Cooperation Partners:

  • Studi Cognitivi


Giovanni M Ruggiero, MD
phone: +39 02 4150998


  • Sassaroli, S., Caselli, G., Ruggiero, G.M. (2016). Un modello cognitivo clinico di accertamento e concettualizzazione del caso: Life themes and plans Implications of biased Beliefs: Elicitation and Treatment (LIBET). Psicoterapia Cognitiva e Comportamentale, 22, 183-197.
  • Sassaroli, S., Caselli, G., Redaelli, C. & Ruggiero, G.M. (2017a). Procedure e protocollo di terapia LIBET – prima parte: le procedure ABC-LIBET, laddering e disputing. Psicoterapia Cognitiva e Comportamentale, 23, 73-92.
  • Sassaroli, S., Caselli, G., Bassanini. & Ruggiero, G.M. (2017b). Procedure e protocollo di terapia LIBET seconda parte: fasi del protocollo e caso clinico Antonia A. Psicoterapia Cognitiva e Comportamentale, 32, 331-344.