Dr. Cosima Locher

Dr. Cosima Locher


Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie Fakultät für Psychologie
Universität Basel
Missionsstrase 62
4055 Basel

+41 61 207 03 85

Büro: Missionsstrasse 62

  • Date of Birth: 15.05.1989
  • Nationality: Swiss
  • Researcher ID: N-5671-2017
  • OrcID: 0000-0002-9660-0590
  • Researchergate ID: Link
  • Google Scholar ID: Link

1. Articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals


Gerger, H., Bürgler, S., Sezer, D., Grethler, M., Gaab, J., & Locher, C. (2020). The Healing Encounters and Attitudes Lists (HEAL): Psychometric properties of a German version in comparison with the original HEAL. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10(897), 1-11. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00897. IF: 3.5

Locher, C., Gaab, J., Blease, C., Inderbinen, M., Kost, L., & Koechlin, H. (2020). Placebos are part of the solution, not the problem. An exemplification of the case of antidepressants in pediatric chronic pain conditions. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10(998), 1-5. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00998. IF: 3.5


Locher, C., Kossowsky, J., Koechlin, H., Lan Lam, T., Barthel, J., Berde, B. C., Gaab, J., Schwarzer, G., Linde, K., & Meissner, K. (in press). Efficacy, safety and acceptability of pharmacological treatments for pediatric migraine prophylaxis: A systematic review and network meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatrics. IF: 12.0

Frey Nascimento, A., Gaab, J., Kirsch, I., Kaptchuk, T., Kossowsky, J., Meyer, A., & Locher, C. (in press). Open-label placebo treatment of women with premenstrual syndrome: Study protocol of a randomized controlled trial. BMJ Open. IF: 2.4

Koechlin, H., Whalley, B., Welton, N., & Locher, C. (2019). The best treatment option(s) for adult and elderly patients with chronic primary musculoskeletal pain: A protocol for a systematic review and network meta-analysis. Systematic Reviews, 8(269), 1-10. doi:10.1186/s13643-019-1174-6. IF: 1.7

Barke, A., Koechlin, H., Korwisi, B., & Locher, C. (2019). Emotional distress: Specifying a neglected part of chronic pain. European Journal of Pain, Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1002/ejp.1525. IF: 3.2

Gaab, J., Bürgin, D., Locher, C., Werner, C., Urech, S., Bratschi, C., Garcia, L. B., Hauke, M., Bitter, S., Bohny, M., & Bentz, D. (2019). Endogenous cortisol and conditioned placebo effects on pain – A randomized trial. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 123, 109739. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2019.109739. IF: 2.9

Blease, C. R., Bernstein, M. H., & Locher, C. (2019). Open-label placebo clinical trials: Is it the rationale, the interaction or the pill? BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, Published Online First: 26 June 2019. doi:10.1136/bmjebm-2019-111209.

Locher, C., Koechlin, H., Gaab, J., & Gerger, H. (2019). The other side of the coin: Nocebo effects and psychotherapy. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(555), 1-6. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00555. IF: 2.3

Gaab, J., Kossowsky, J., Ehlert, U., & Locher, C. (2019). Effects and Components of Placebos with a Psychological Treatment Rationale – Three Randomized-Controlled Studies. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1421. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-37945-1. IF: 4.1

Locher, C., Meier, S., & Gaab, J. (2019). Psychotherapy – A world of meanings. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 460. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00460. IF: 2.3

Locher, C., Nascimento, A. F., Kossowsky, J., Meyer, A., & Gaab, J. (2019). Open-label placebo response–Does optimism matter? A secondary-analysis of a randomized controlled trial.Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 116, 25-30. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2018.11.009. IF: 3.3
Contribution: process of theory forming,application for ethical approval, recruitment, data monitoring, performing experiment, data analyses, writing manuscript    

Locher C., Messerli M., Gaab J., Gerger H. (2019). Long-term effects of psychological interventions to improve adherence to antiretroviral treatment in HIV-infected persons: A systematic review and meta-analysis. AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 33(3), 131-144. doi:10.1089/apc.2018.0164. IF: 4.0

2018Locher C., Gaab, J., Blease C. (2018). When a Placebo is not a Placebo: Problems and Solutions to the Gold Standard in Psychotherapy Research. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 2317. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02317. IF: 2.1.  
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 Opinion on Drug Safety, 17(6), 537-540.doi:10.1080/14740338.2018.1475558. IF: 3.156 

Locher, C., Gaab, J., Loughlin, M., & Blease, C. (2018). Book Review. After placebo: In medical research and clinical practice. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 24(5), 1265- 1267. doi:10.1111/jep.12888. IF: 1.3

2017Locher, C., Koechlin, H., Zion, S. R., Werner, C., Pine, D. S., Kirsch, I., Kessler, R., & Kossowsky, J. (2017). Efficacy and safety of SSRIs, SNRIs, and placebo in common psychiatric disorders: A comprehensive meta-analysis in children and adolescents. JAMA Psychiatry, 74(10), 1011. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.2432. IF = 15.3
Locher, C., Frey Nascimento, A., Kirsch, I., Kossowsky, J., Meyer, A., & Gaab, J. (2017). Is the rationale more important than deception? A randomized controlled trial of open-label placebo analgesiaPAIN, 158(12), 2320-2328. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001012. IF = 5.4
Tondorf, T., Kaufmann, L.-K., Degel, A., Locher, C., Birkhäuer, J., Gerger, H., Ehlert, U., & Gaab, J. (2017). Employing open/hidden administration in psychotherapy research: A randomized-controlled trial of expressive writing. PLoS ONE, 12(11), e0187400. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187400. IF = 4.4
Gaab, J., Locher, C., & Gerger, H. (2017). Placebo und Psychotherapie – Selbstabschaffung oder Erkenntnisgewinn? Stellungnahme der Autoren zum Leserbrief von Harald Walach. Verhaltenstherapie, 27(1), 59-60. doi:10.1159/0004530564. IF = 0.6
2016Locher, C., Hasler, S., & Gaab, J. (2016). When do placebos in psychotherapeutic research work? A systematic review on the example of systematic desensitization. Verhaltenstherapie, 26(1), 9-20. doi: 10.1159/000443464. IF = 0.6
Gaab, J., Blease, C., Locher, C., & Gerger, H. (2016). Go open: A plea for transparency in psychotherapy. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 3(2), 175. doi:10.1037/cns0000063  
2015Locher, C., Kossowsky, J., Gaab, J., Kirsch, I., Bain, P., & Krummenacher, P. (2015). Moderation of antidepressant and placebo outcomes by baseline severity in late-life depression: A systematic review and meta-analysisJournal of Affective Disorders, 181, 50-60. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2015.03.062. IF = 3.4 
2013Kossowsky, J., Pfaltz, M. C., Schneider, S., Taeymans, J., Locher, C., & Gaab, J. (2013). The separation anxiety hypothesis of panic disorder revisited: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry, 170(7), 768-781. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12070893. IF = 14.2 

2. Contributions to books  

2018Gaab, J., Locher, C., & Blease, C. Placebo and Psychotherapy: Differences, Similarities and Implications. Neurobiology of the Placebo Effect. Editor: Colloca L, Book Series: International Review of Neurobiology, Elsevier. IF = 1.9


 3. Contributions to conferences



Two talks at the Symposium “Was macht gute Behandlung in Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Psychologie aus?” at the Privatklinik Hohenegg, Meilen, CH: “Erkenntnisse der Teilnehmer- Umfrage”; “Was macht gute Behandlung in Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Psychologie aus? Neueste Erkenntnisse aus Forschung und Wissenschaft”


Talk at the Symposium “Perspectives on good treatment” at the University of Plymouth, UK: “Advantages and challenges of a network meta-analysis”


Talk at the Society for Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies (SIPS) Congress at Leiden, NL: “Efficacy and Safety of Pharmacological Treatments for Migraine Prophylaxis: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis in Children and Adolescents”

06.2018Discussant and organization of a Symposium at the “World Congress of Psychotherapy” at Amsterdam, the Netherlands: “Placebo-Like Effects in Psychotherapy”  
07.2017     Talk at the “European Congress of Psychology” (ECP) at Amsterdam, the Netherlands: “Open-label Placebos in Healthy Participants: An Experimental Pain Investigation”    
04.2017     Talk at the “Society for Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies” (SIPS) Congress at Leiden, the Netherlands: “Open-label Placebos in Healthy Participants: An Experimental Pain Investigation”    
06.2014     Talk at the Placebo Congress at the Foundation Brocher, Hermance, Switzerland: “Placebo Response in Geriatric Depression”    
09.2013     Talk at the SSP-SGP Congress in Basel, Switzerland: “The Separation Anxiety Hypothesis of Panic Disorder Revisited: A Meta-Analysis”     


Pain Management Programmes (PMP) Bristol Conference, UK: “From old chestnut to new acorn? Body Reprogramming as a reconceptualized approach to Fibromyalgia”


Society for Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies (SIPS) Congress at Leiden, NL: “Open-label placebo treatment for women suffering from premenstrual syndrome: Study protocol and first results of a randomized controlled trial”


Society for Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies (SIPS) Congress at Leiden, NL: “Common factors in the treatment of chronic primary pain in children and adolescents: Protocol for a network meta- analysis”


Society for Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies (SIPS) Congress at Leiden, NL: “The role of expectancy and adherence on open-label placebo effects in premenstrual syndrome: Preliminary results of a randomized controlled trial”


World Congress on Pain, IASP, Boston, US: “Best pharmacological treatment option(s) for patients with chronic primary pain: A network meta-analysis”

04.2017 Poster at the SIPS Congress at Leiden, the Netherlands: “Inpatients’ perspectives on therapeutic moments”    
06.2016     Poster Presentation at the Association for Psychological Science (APS) Congress in Chicago, USA: "Efficacy of Psychological Interventions in Improving Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence. A meta-analysis of controlled studies"    
09.2014     Poster Presentation at the European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies (EABCT) Congress in The Hague, the Netherlands: “Baseline Severity: A Moderator of Antidepressant and Placebo Outcomes in Late-Life Depression” 


  4. Outreach activities


Placebo-interview for the Mind-body Connection Podcast Series, Dr. Phil Parker


Talk at the lab meeting, Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care & Pain Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard, US: “The Best Treatment Option(s) for Patients with Chronic Primary Pain: Protocol for a Network Meta-Analytic Approach”


Newsletter “Interventionen bei chronischen Schmerzen - wie sicher und wirksam sind sie?” touché.ch – der Schmerzverband


Twitter account with the research team The Pain Net (@the_pain_net)


Talk at the Pain Management Meeting of Physiotherapists at the Bodmin Hospital, Bodmin, UK: “Placebo and Chronic Primary Pain”


Newspaper articles related to my publication Effects and Components of Placebos with a Psychological Treatment Rationale – Three Randomized-Controlled Studies in the Tages- Anzeiger and Science Daily


Talk at the Pain Management Meeting of Consultants at the University Hospital Plymouth, Derriford Hospital, UK: “Innovative strategies to optimize the treatment of Chronic Primary Pain”


Talk at the “Psychology Research Seminar” at the School of Psychology, University of Plymouth, UK: “Making the non-specifics specific – What we can learn from placebos to improve treatment of Chronic Primary Pain syndromes and depression”

11.2018 Talk at the “Training Course: Treating Fibromyalgia” at the Postgraduate Medical Centre, Plymouth University: “Breaking Good News: What we can learn from placebo research in the treatment of fibromyalgia” 
09.2017 Talk at the “3. Schweizer Fachtag Psychosomatik” at Zürich: “Subjektive Krankheits- und Behandlungsmodelle”    
08.2017     Talk at the “Interdisziplinäre Fortbildung am Kantonsspital Frauenfeld“: „Placebo ist ein wirksames Medikament - wie wirkt es, wie kann es genutzt werden und was sind ethische Implikationen für die Praxis?“    
07.2017     Talk at the „Privatklinik Hohenegg, Meilen“: „Placebos und deren Konsequenzen in der Klinik sowie in der Grundlagenforschung: Effekte und Möglichkeiten, sie zu nutzen”    


5. General contributions to science


Workshop at the Symposium “Was macht gute Behandlung in Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Psychologie aus?” at the Privatklinik Hohenegg, Meilen, CH: “Wie können wir gute Behandlung erforschen? ”

Since 2018

The Pain Net: Foundation of a network with researchers interested in Chronic Primary Pain. The Pain Net is involved in the establishment of a database on all existing interventions for Chronic Primary Pain.

Since 2017International Reproducibility Project
Lakens, D., van Assen, M., Anvari, F., Corker, K. S., Grange, J. A., Gerger, H., Hasselman, F., Koyama, J., Locher, C., Miller, I., Page-Gould, E., Schönbrodt, F. D.,  Sharples, A., Spellman, B. A., & Zhou, S. (2017). Examining the reproducibility of meta-analyses in psychology: A preliminary report.
Since 2015     FS 2018, FS 2017, FS 2016, FS 2015: Talk for the seminar “Resilienz und Ressourcen” at the Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Psychologie, ZHAW, Switzerland: “Placebo und die Bedeutung für die Therapie“    
05.2015Talk for the lecture “Forschungsethik in der Psychologie” at the University of Basel: “Placebo and Ethics”    


From 09.2018SNF Postdoc.mobility fellowship at Plymouth University, the University of Bristol, and Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Title of the Project: “Overcoming Classificatory and Methodological Hurdles to Improve Treatment of Chronic Primary Pain: A Network Meta-Analytic Approach” (P400PS_180730)    
Since 03.2017    Postgraduate education in Integrative Coaching IBP (BSO, SGfB) at the IBP Institute in Winterthur, Switzerland    



PhD / Dr. phil. (summa cum laude) at the University of Basel, Switzerland 

„Placebos and their Consequences in Clinical and Basic Research: Effects and Possible Ways to Harness Them“
Date of Defense: 22.06.2017
Advisor: Prof. Jens Gaab

Master of Science(summa cum laude) in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Basel, Switzerland

Master thesis: “Baseline severity: A moderator of antidepressant and placebo outcomes in late-life depression    
08.2009-07.2012Bachelor of Science (insigni cum laude) in Psychology at the University of Basel, Swizerland 

Bachelor thesis
: Geschlechtsunterschiede chronisch depressiver Patienten: Ansprechen auf eine CBASP-Therapie und interpersonelles Verhalten” 
Since 12.2016Courses in Educational Development, University of Basel
11.2017Good Clinical Practice Basiskurs, Clinical Trial Unit Basel 
02.2016-11.2016  Courses of antelope@university, University of Basel (Dr. Andrea Flora Bauer & Patricia Zweifel) 
 05.2016 Workshop: How to publish in peer-reviewed Journals (Dr. Gunther Tress) 
 09.2016Workshop: How to present at International Conferences (Dr. Gunther Tress)
 05.2015  Workshop: Self-Branding and Self-Promotion (Petra Wüst)
 01.2015Workshop: Writing (PD Dr. Jürgen Barth)
04.2013-05.2013  Online Meta-Analysis course at Statistics.com (Dr. Michael Borenstein & Dr. Hannah Rothstein)  

Since 10.2019

PostDoc research affiliate, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital, funded by SNSF Postdoc.Mobility fellowships
Advisor: Charles Berde, MD PhD

Since 09.2018

PostDoc research affiliate, University of Plymouth, School of Psychology, funded by SNSF Postdoc.Mobility fellowships
Advisor: Prof. Michael Hyland


Research associate, University of Bristol, Bristol Medical School,
funded by SNSF Postdoc.Mobility fellowships
Advisor: Prof. Nicky Welton

Since 08.2017Research associate, Swiss private clinic (Privatklinik Hohenegg, Meilen)  


PostDoc research assistant, University of Basel, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
09.2014-06.2017PhD Candidate, University of Basel, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy 
Advisor: Prof. Jens Gaab 
12.2011-06.2014Research assistant, University of Basel, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy. Project: Meta-Analyses. 
Advisors: Prof. Jens Gaab and Dr. Joe Kossowksy 
11.2013-12.2013Research assistant of the study “Genetische Polymorphismen in Assoziation mit Placebo Analgesie” at the University of Basel 
Advisor: Dr. Peter Krummenacher
05.2013-09.2013 Research assistant for the SSP-SGP Congress at the University of Basel
Advisor: Prof. Jens Gaab
02.2013-05.2013Internship at the Universitäts-Kinderspital beider Basel (UKBB): “Diabetes na und? Eine Studie zur Befindlichkeit bei Kindern mit Diabetes und deren Familie”
Advisor: Prof. Tina In-Albon 
09.2012-10.2012Research assistant of the study “Ambulatory monitoring in PD and PTSD” at the University of Basel 
Advisor: Prof. Monique Pfaltz 
10.2011-12.2011Research assistant, University of Basel, Department of Cognitive and Decision Sciences
Advisor: Prof. Ralph Hertwig
06.2011-09.2011Internship at the Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Germany: station for affective disorders, specialized for chronic depression
Advisor: Prof. Eva-Lotta Brakemeier
09.2010-06.2011Tutor for statistics, University of Basel 
Advisor: Dr. Markus Stöcklin

Since 08.2019

Masterprojects (Julia Patricia Pradela and Tamara Probst)


Masterproject (Tabea Greter)


Masterprojects (Dilan Sezer, Sarah Bürgler, and Bojana Degen)


Masterprojects (Ornella Fasolin, Kerstin Trachsel, Luzius Heydrich, Süheyla Seker)


Masterproject (Claudia Puttinger)


Masterprojects (Jessica Plattner, Sebastian Hasler, Xenia Zheleznyak, Nafisa Müller, Larissa Tellini, Christoph Werner)

Since 09.2019

Bachelor Thesis (Alissa Radin)


Bachelor Thesis (Sophie von Achenbach)


Bachelor Theses (Giulia Ammann and Tamara Rappo)


Bachelor Thesis (Süheyla Seker)

From 02.2018     FS 2018: Seminar „Meta-Analysen“    
08.2015-12.2017     HS 2015, HS 2016, HS 2017: Seminar “Einführung in die Placebo- und Noceboforschung”    
08.2015-12.2017     HS 2015, FS 2016, HS 2016, FS 2017, HS 2017: Seminar “Kolloquium Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie”    
02.2016-06.2016     FS 2016: Lecture “Klinische Somatopsychologie” (with Prof. Jens Gaab)    
09.2010-06.2011     Tutor for statistics, University of Basel    

Since 2019

Reviewing activities for the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Qualitative Health Research, SAGE Open, Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, BMJ Open, Sciencitif Reports, Psychosomatic Medicine

Since 2018

Reviewing activities for PLoS ONE, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Frontiers in Psychology

Since 2015 Reviewing activities for the Journal of Affective Disorders
Since 2019

Member of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), Member of The British Pain Society, Member of the Swiss Psychological Society (SPS)

Since 2013 Member of the Society of Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies (SIPS)