Relapse prevention remains a major challenge in psychiatry, thus indicating that the established treatment methods combining psychotherapy with neuropharmacological interventions are not entirely effective. In recent years, several intervention strategies have been devised that are aimed at improving psychiatric treatment by providing a complementary set of add-on tools that can be used by clinicians to improve current patient assessment. Among these, cognitive event-related potentials (ERPs) have been indexed as valuable biomarkers of the pathophysiological mechanisms of various mental illnesses. However, despite decades of research, their clinical utility is still controversial and a matter of debate. In this opinion review, I present the main arguments supporting the use of cognitive ERPs in the management of psychiatric disorders, stressing why it is currently still not the case despite the vast number of ERP studies to date. I also propose a clinically-oriented suitable way in which this technique could - in my opinion - be effectively incorporated into individual patient care by promotion of the use of individual ERP test-retest sessions and the use of a multi-component approach. ©The Author(s) 2021. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.