Whatever happened to specific
phobias? The significant
contribution of Lars Goran Öst to
specific phobia research and
treatment
Graham C L Davey
University of Sussex, UK
The 3-Stage Journey
• Searching & Researching
o Study it if it moves, and study it if it doesn’t move
o Researching the Range of Specific Phobias (1978 to 1992)
• Developing the Treatment (1989 to 1996)
o Bankrupting the therapists
• Understanding Everything
o From Therapist behaviour to Quality of Life
Snakes & Spiders
• 1978 FADING vs SYSTEMATIC DESENSITIZATION IN THE
TREATMENT OF SNAKE AND SPIDER PHOBIA
Thunder & Lightning
• 1978 BEHAVIORAL TREATMENT OF THUNDER AND
LIGHTNING PHOBIAS
Claustrophobia
• 1982 INDIVIDUAL RESPONSE PATTERNS AND THE
EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT BEHAVIORAL METHODS IN THE
TREATMENT OF CLAUSTROPHOBIA
Agoraphobia
• 1983 ACQUISITION OF AGORAPHOBIA, MODE OF
ONSET AND ANXIETY RESPONSE PATTERNS
Blood Phobia
• 1984 PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSES IN BLOOD
PHOBICS
Dental Phobia
• 1985 ACQUISITION OF BLOOD AND DENTAL PHOBIA
AND ANXIETY RESPONSE PATTERNS IN CLINICAL
PATIENTS
Choking Phobia
• 1992 COGNITIVE THERAPY IN A CASE OF CHOKING
PHOBIA
Flying Phobia
• 1997 ONE VERSUS FIVE SESSIONS OF EXPOSURE IN THE
TREATMENT OF FLYING PHOBIA
Öst & Hugdahl 1981
• ACQUISITION OF PHOBIAS AND ANXIETY RESPONSE
PATTERNS IN CLINICAL PATIENTS
Age of Onset
• 1987 Age of Onset in Different Phobias
Bankrupting the Phobia
Therapists
• 1989 ONE-SESSION TREATMENT FOR SPECIFIC
PHOBIAS
Teaching the Children
• 1991
1 vs. 5 Sessions
• 1992
…A further turn of the
screw…
• 1996 ONE-SESSION GROUP TREATMENT OF SPIDER
PHOBIA
… And a final turn of the
screw
• 1998 A clinical study of spider phobia: prediction of
outcome after self-help and therapist-directed
treatments
Understanding
Everything
• 1996 PREDICTION OF OUTCOME IN THE TREATMENT
OF SPECIFIC PHOBIA. A CROSS VALIDATION STUDY
o Diastolic Blood-pressure at pre-test
o Treatment Credibility
Therapist Behaviour
• 1997 Therapist behavior during one-session exposure
treatment of spider phobia: Individual vs group
setting
Phobia Comorbidity
• 2010 Comorbidity in youth with specific phobias:
Impact of comorbidity on treatment outcome and
the impact of treatment on comorbid disorders
Quality of Life
• 2012 Quality-of-life before and after cognitive
behavioral therapy (CBT) in patients with intra-oral
injection phobia
Why has phobia research
had such a low profile
recently
• No Living to be Made in Phobias Therapy Any More
o 1-session group treatment
o Self-help manual
o We await the App!
• Lars-Goran Öst has studied all the Specific Phobias
o We need to Invent some more!
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