2018: Here, there and back again

2018 was a remarkable year for our division in at least in two ways. First, with an all-time high of twenty peer-reviewed papers (with a summed-up impact factor of 82.6), four book chapters and one book and several new as well as running grants (summing up to over CHF 3'280'000 since 2011), the division was rather busy in terms of scientific output and productivity. Also, Dr. Cosima Locher and Dr. Helen Koechlin received the Steven-Karger price, PD Dr. Joe Kossowsky sucessfully completed his Habilitation and the head of the division got promoted to Full Professor as well as being assigned as Associate Vice President for Diversity and Sustainablity of the University of Basel. Furthermore, we started two new Certificate of Advanced Studies programs in Animal-Assisted Therapy as well as Motivational Interviewing, accompaning our already running Master of Advanced Studies in Person-Centered Psychotherapy. Second, the division experienced quite some to and fro, with some of us spending considerable time in New Zealand, USA, The Netherlands and Great Britain, while others happily remained in Basel, feeding the chicken and doing everything to keep the ship afloat. In the end, the returning were happy to be back home and the remaining were happy that everyone returned. JG/March 2019



Members of the division 2018

Judith Alder, Sarah Bürgler, Rainer Bürki, Bojana Degen, Antje Frey Nascimento, Jens Gaab, Heike Gerger, Lena Greschner, Karin Hediger, Nadja Heimgartner, Marc Inderbinen, Joe Kossowsky, Linda Kost, Helen Koechlin, Roshin Kunnel John, Cosima Locher, Emma Marchal-Jones, Sibylle Meier, Yoon Phaik Ooi, Milena Petignat, Marnie Reed, Otto Schmid, Dilan Sezer, Felicitas Theis, Cora Wagner, Christoph Werner

External PhD’s

Martina-Barbara Bingisser, Mareike Busmann, Anna Denzinger, Lukas Führer, Astrid Grossert, Evelin Hug, Nina Kind, Cedric Kettelhack, Can Nakkas, Tania Perez, Stefanie Neubrand, Nathalie Schenk, Christian Schrobildgen, Süheyla Seker, Theresa Tondorf



Publications (total impact factor 82.6)
  1. Frey Nascimento A, Tondorf T, Rothschild SI, Koller MT, Rochlitz C, Kiss A, Schaefert R, Meinlschmidt G, Hunziker S, Gaab J, Zwahlen D (2018). Oncologist Recommendation Matters! – Predictors of Psycho-Oncological Service Uptake in Oncology Outpatients. Psycho-Oncology, DOI: 10.1002/pon.4948. IF: 3.5
  2. Locher C, Gaab, J, Blease C (2018). When a Placebo is not a Placebo: Problems and Solutions to the Gold Standard in Psychotherapy Research . Front. Psychol. 9:2317. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.0231. IF: 2.1. IF: 2.1
  3. Blease C, Bernstein MH, Gaab J, Kaptchuk TJ, Kossowsky J, et al. (2018) Computerization and the future of primary care: A survey of general practitioners in the UK. PLOS ONE 13(12): e0207418. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0207418, IF: 2.8
  4. von Känel R, Heimgartner N, Stutz M, Zuccarella-Hackl C, Hänsel A, Ehlert U, Wirtz PH (2018). Prothrombotic response to norepinephrine infusion, mimicking norepinephrine stress-reactivity effects, is partly mediated by α-adrenergic mechanisms. Psychoneuroendocrinology, doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.09.018: IF 4.731 2018-09-14. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.09.01. IF: 4.7 
  5. Templin JC, Hediger K, Wagner C, Lang UE (2018). Relationship Between Patient Satisfaction and the Presence of Cats in Psychiatric Wards. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Published Online: 2 Aug 2018. doi.org/10.1089/acm.2018.0263. IF: 1.5
  6. Gaab J. (2018).The placebo and its effects: A psychoneuroendocrinological perspective. Psychoneuroendocrinology. Aug 3. pii: S0306-4530(18)30570-5. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.08.008. IF: 4.7
  7. Koechlin H, Donado C, Berde CB, Kossowsky J (2018). Effects of Childhood Life Events on Adjustment Problems in Adolescence: A Longitudinal Study. J Dev Behav Pediatr. Jun 22. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000596. IF: 2.2 
  8. Hediger, K., Beetz, A. & Wohlfarth, R. (2018). Tiergestützte Verhaltenstherapie: Wissensstand und Theorien. In Pfeifer, E. (Ed.). Natur in Psychotherapie und Künstlerischer Therapie. Theoretische, methodische und praktische Grundlagen. Band I: Psychosozial-Verlag.
  9. Hediger, K., Beetz, A. & Wohlfarth, R. (2018). Tiergestützte Verhaltenstherapie: Praktische Ansätze. In Pfeifer, E. (Ed.). Natur in Psychotherapie und Künstlerischer Therapie. Theoretische, methodische und praktische Grundlagen. Band II: Psychosozial-Verlag.
  10. Hediger, K., & Beetz, A. (2018). Lernen und Konzentration. In A. Beetz, M. Riedel, & R. Wohlfarth (Eds.), Handbuch tiergestützter Interventionen: Ernst Reinhardt.
  11. Hediger, K., & Debuse, D. (2018). Schädel-Hirn-Trauma. In A. Beetz, M. Riedel, & R. Wohlfarth (Eds.), Handbuch tiergestützter Interventionen: Ernst Reinhardt.
  12. Evers AWE, Colloca L, Blease C, Annoni A, Atlas LY, Benedetti F, Bingel U, Büchel C, Carvalho C, Colagiuri B, Crum AJ, Enck P, Gaab J, Geers AL, Howick J, Jensen KB, Kirsch I, Meissner K, Napadow V,  Peerdeman KJ, Raz A, Rief R, Vase L, Wager TD, Wampold BE, Weimer K, Wiech K, Kaptchuk TJ, Klinger R, Kelley JM as consort of placebo experts (2018). Implications of placebo and nocebo effects for clinical practice: Expert consensus. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 87(4):204-210. doi: 10.1159/000490354. Epub 2018 Jun 12. IF: 9.0
  13. Tonner, J. M., Zahno, R., Greifeneder, R. & Gaab, J. (2018). Psychotherapie im Dienste der Nachhaltigkeit? Eine Pilotstudie zu motivationaler Gesprächsführung und Umweltverhalten. Umweltpsychologie, 22. Jg., Heft 1, 55-68
  14. Beis D., von Känel R., Heimgartner N., Zuccarella-Hackl C., Bürkle A., Ehlert U., Wirtz P.H. (2018). The role of norepinephrine and alpha-adrenergic receptors in acute stress-induced changes in granulocytes and monocytes. Psychosomatic Medicine, Sep;80(7):649-658. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000620. IF: 3.8
  15. Euler S, Wrege J, Busmann M, Lindenmeyer HJ, Sollberger D, Lang UE, Gaab J, Walter M (2018). Exclusion-Proneness in Borderline Personality Disorder Inpatients Impairs Alliance in Mentalization-Based Group Therapy. Front Psychol.; 9: 824. doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00824. IF: 2.3
  16. Sng KI, Hawes DJ, Raine A, Ang RP, Ooi YP, Fung DSS (2018). Callous unemotional traits and the relationship between aggressive parenting practices and conduct problems in Singaporean families. Child Abuse Negl. Jul;81:225-234. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.04.026. Epub 2018 May 11. IF: 2.9
  17. Koechlin H, Kossowsky J, Gaab J, Locher C (2018). How to address the placebo response in the prescription of SSRIs and SNRIs in children and adolescents. Expert Opin Drug Saf. Jun;17(6):537-540. doi: 10.1080/14740338.2018.1475558. IF: 3.4
  18. Koechlin, H., Coakley, R., Schechter, N., Werner, C. & Kossowsky, J. (2018). The role of emotion regulation in chronic pain. A systematic literature review. J Psychosom Res. Apr;107:38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2018.02.002. IF: 2.8
  19. Urech U, Grossert A, Alder J, Scherer S, Handschin B, Kasenda B, Borislavova B, Degen S, Erb J, Faessler A, Gattlen L, Schibli S, Werndli C, Gaab J, Berger T, Zumbrunn T, Hess V (2018). Web-based stress management for newly diagnosed cancer patients (STREAM): A randomised, wait-list controlled intervention study. J Clin Oncol. Mar 10;36(8):780-788. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2017.74.8491. Epub 2018 Jan 25. IF: 24.0
  20. Schmid DA, Allum JHJ, Sleptsova M,  Gross S, Gaab J, Welge-Lüssen A, Schaefert R, Langewitz W (2018). Effects of a program of cognitive-behavioural group therapy, vestibular rehabilitation, and psychoeducational explanations on patients with dizziness and no quantified balance deficit, compared to patients with dizziness and a quantified balance deficit. J Psychosom Res. Feb;105:21-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.11.020. Epub 2017 Dec 2. IF: 2.8
  21. Gut W., Crump L., Zinsstag J., Hattendorf J. & Hediger, K (2018). The effect of human interaction on guinea pig behaviour in animal-assisted therapy. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. May–June; 25: 56-64. doi: doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2018.02.004. IF: 1.6
  22. Gaab, J., Locher, C., & Blease, C. (2018). Placebo and psychotherapy: Differences, similarities and implications. Neurobiology of the Placebo Effect. International Review of Neurobiology, doi.org/10.1016/bs.irn.2018.01.013. IF: 1.9.
  23. Locher C, Gaab J, Loughlin M, Blease C (2018). After Placebo: In Medical Research and Clinical Practice. Book review, Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. 26 March. doi.org/10.1111/jep.12888. IF: 1.5
  24. Trachsel, M., Gaab., Biller-Adorno, N. (2018). Psychotherapieethik. Standards der Psychotherapie, Hogrefe-Verlag 1. Auflage 2018, ISBN: 9783801728410: 
  25. Meier S, Haschke M, Zahner C, Kruttschnitt E, Drewe J, Liakoni E, Hammann F, Gaab J (2018). Effects of a fixed herbal drug combination (ZE 185) to an experimental acute stress setting in healthy men – an explorative randomized  placebo-controlled double blind study. Phytomedicine. Jan 15;39:85-92. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2017.12.005., IF 3.5
  26. Gocheva V, Hund-Georgiadis M, Hediger K (2018). Effects of animal-assisted therapy on concentration and attention span in patients with acquired brain injuries: a randomised controlled trial. Neuropsychology, 32/1,54-64, dx.doi.org/10.1037/neu0000398. IF: 3.3
Grants (new and running)
  1. NIH Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program (2018). Clinical and digital phenotyping of pediatric chronic diseases. Principal Investigator: PD Dr. Joe Kossowsky, $25’000
  2. Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, Schweiz SNF: PostDoc Mobility Grant (2018-2020). Overcoming Classificatory and Methodological Hurdles to Improve Treatment of Chronic Primary Pain: A Network Meta-Analytic Approach. Antragsstellerin und Principal Investigator: Dr. Cosima Locher, CHF 108’292
  3. Universität Basel: Get on track Grant (2018). Antragstellerin: Helen Koechlin MSc, CHF 7’563.55
  4. Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (2017-2021). Ambizione: Psychophysiological effects of animal-assisted interventions in patients with brain injury. Antragstellerin und Principal investigator: Dr. Karin Hediger, CHF 706'727
  5. Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (2017). Ethical and legal regulation of Big Data research – towards a sensible and efficient use of electronic health records and social media data [BigResearchEthics]. Principal investigator and grant recipient: Prof. Dr. Elger Bernice Simone (Universität Basel), National scientific collaborator/Projektpartner: Prof. Dr. Jens Gaab, CHF 400'062
  6. Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, Schweiz SNF (2016-2019). Taking the placebo further: open placebo. Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Jens Gaab, CHF 218'008
  7. Stiftung pro REHAB Basel (2016 – 2019): Unterstützung des Forschungsprojektes «effects of animal-assisted therapy in patients with brain-injuries» und Teilfinanzierung der post-doc Stelle von Karin Hediger. Antrassteller: Dr. Karin Hediger & Prof. Dr. Jakob Zinsstag. CHF 144'069
  8. Diözese Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Bischöfliches Ordinat (2016-2019). Finacial Assitance of Sr. Roshin Kunnel for Studies in Clinical Psychology. Donation, € 36'000




PD Dr. Joe Kossowsky: Elucidating, Validating and Harnessing Psychosocial and Pharmacological Mechanisms in the Treatment of Pediatric Pain and Mental Health


Dr. Sibylle Meier: Supporting Healthy Individuals Dealing with Acute Psychosocial Stress: Investigations of a Fixed Herbal Drug Combination and a Social Support Stress Management
Dr. Helen Koechlin: A Multimodal Approach to Investigating the Importance of Emotional Functioning in Childhood and Adolescence
Dr. Dena Sadeghi Bahmani: Sleep patterns, depression, physical activity levels, fatigue, and mental toughness in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS); results from cross- sectional, longitudinal and intervention studies

Master theses
  1. Jasmine Baumann: Treating Tinnitus with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: A Review on Previous Research
  2. Deborah Meier: Prediction of fear of spiders following exposure training by outcome expectation in an open- hidden paradigm
  3. Flurina Kappeler: Psychophysiologische Evaluation eines auf sozialer Unterstützung basierten Stressmanagements bei gesunden Frauen
  4. Gianna Traub: Short-term Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Emotion, Nonverbal- and Verbal Communication of Patients in a Minimally Conscious State: A Pilot Study
  5. Luzius Heydrich: Placebo Therapy – A randomized controlled trial
  6. Marc Grethler: HEAL-D: Zur praktischen Integration unspezifischer Therapieeffekte – Grundlagen eines Messinstrumentes
  7. Kiran Katharina Mira Hug: Is Sensory Processing Sensitivity related to Attention?
  8. Julia Arigoni: The expectancy-outcome association in exposure training with spider- fearful participants: does the therapeutic alliance function as a mediator?
  9. Julia Sachers: Dog-assisted therapy in children and adolescents with severe neurological impairments and disorders of consciousness in a neuropediatric clinic
  10. Kerstin Trachsel: Placebo Therapy - A randomized controlled trial
  11. Jasmin Merz: Comparative Long-Term Efficacy of Treatments for Adults with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Meta- Analysis
  12. Ornella Fasolin: The impact of the open/hidden administration of therapeutic alliance on guilt-induced negative affect
  13. Sarah Vanessa Rösiger: Smile and Sleep - Der Zusammenhang von Humor und Schlafqualität
  14. Luana Saner: Evaluation von Erfolgsvariablen psychischer Störungen in der Psychotherapie: Eine Analyse vom Eintritt bis zum Austritt
  15. Schewaz Kamal Mohammad: AIT-Techniken in der Perspektive von darauffolgenden Veränderungsmomenten
  16. Silvana Schlager: The Efficacy of Alternative Therapies for PTSD: A Systematic Review
  17. Sebastian Gross: Components of psychotherapy
  18. Süheyla Seker: Placebo Therapy – A randomized controlled trial
  19. Cora Wagner: The Relation between Ward Cats and Patient Satisfaction in Psychiatric Wards
  20. Janina Weber: Mehr als ein Lachen? Über die Auswirkungen von Spitalclowns auf hospitalisierte Kinder - Eine Eltern-, Spitalpersonal- und Clown-Perspektive
  21. Friederike Boek: Dog-assisted therapy to accompany neurorehabilitation in pediatrics with disorders of consciousness: An exploratory study
  22. Delfine d’Huart: Placebo Therapy – A Randomized Controlled Trial
  23. Lisa Stallmach: Expulsion and Dropout in Inpatient Psychotherapy of Personality Disorders: The Role of Personality Functioning
  24. Marion Rudaz: Dyadic Analysis of Health-Related Quality of Life Among Young Breast Cancer Survivors and Their Biological Relatives
  25. Julia Wagner: Placebo Therapy – A Randomized Controlled Trial


Centre for Psychotherapy

The Centre for Psychotherapy expanded its services in 2018 and established a productive cooperation with COMPAS at the Bäumlihof. Beside offering clinical assessments, counseling, psychotherapy, and psychotherapeutic trainings for mental disorders and difficulties as well as psychological support during somatic diseases and disorders for all ages, the Centre for Psychotherapy now also offers specialized services for internationals and their families now living in Switzerland as well as animal-assisted psychotherapy at the Bäumlihof. The mean number of appointments per month in 2018 was 123, with was another increase of 20% from last year. The mean numbers of appointments per month and since the start of the Centre for Psychotherapy are shown in the graph below.

Members Centre for Psychotherapy 2018
  • Directorate: Jens Gaab, Karin Hediger, Nadja Heimgartner, Milena Petignat
  • Administration: Lena Greschner, Dilan Sezer, Cora Wagner
  • Psychotherapists: Jens Gaab, Karin Hediger, Nadja Heimgartner, Debora Neyer, Sibylle Meier, Marnie Reed, Emma Jones, Daniela Taborelli, Dorothée Bentz, Salvator Corbisiero