Robert Johansson Foto: Jalal Maleki

Robert Johansson

Associate Professor

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Psychology
Telephone 08-16 36 85
Visiting address Frescati hagväg 8
Room B409
Postal address Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2020. Karin Lindqvist (et al.). Journal of Medical Internet Research 22 (3)

    Background: Adolescent depression is one of the largest health issues in the world and there is a pressing need for effective and accessible treatments.

    Objective: This trial examines whether affect-focused internet-based psychodynamic therapy (IPDT) with therapist support is more effective than an internet-based supportive control condition on reducing depression in adolescents.

    Methods: The trial included 76 adolescents (61/76, 80% female; mean age 16.6 years), self-referred via an open access website and fulfilling criteria for major depressive disorder. Adolescents were randomized to 8 weeks of IPDT (38/76, 50%) or supportive control (38/76, 50%). The primary outcome was self-reported depressive symptoms, measured with the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology for Adolescents (QIDS-A17-SR). Secondary outcomes were anxiety severity, emotion regulation, self-compassion, and an additional depression measure. Assessments were made at baseline, postassessment, and at 6 months follow-up, in addition to weekly assessments of the primary outcome measure as well as emotion regulation during treatment.

    Results: IPDT was significantly more effective than the control condition in reducing depression (d=0.82, P=.01), the result of which was corroborated by the second depression measure (d=0.80, P<.001). IPDT was also significantly more effective in reducing anxiety (d=0.78, P<.001) and increasing emotion regulation (d=0.97, P<.001) and self-compassion (d=0.65, P=.003). Significantly more patients in the IPDT group compared to the control group met criteria for response (56% vs 21%, respectively) and remission (35% vs 8%, respectively). Results on depression and anxiety symptoms were stable at 6 months follow-up. On average, participants completed 5.8 (SD 2.4) of the 8 modules.

    Conclusions: IPDT may be an effective intervention to reduce adolescent depression. Further research is needed, including comparisons with other treatments.

    Trial Registration: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN) 16206254;

  • 2020. Tomas Lindegaard (et al.). Internet Interventions 20

    Objective: Both Internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) and Internet-delivered psychodynamic psychotherapy (IPDT) have shown promise in the treatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD). However, little is known about client preferences and what predicts treatment outcome. The objective of the present pilot study was to examine preference for ICBT versus IPDT in the treatment of SAD and whether participants' preference strength and therapeutic alliance predicted treatment response. Further, we also investigated the effect of the two treatments, including 6-months follow-up.

    Method: Thirty-six participants were instructed to choose between either IPDT or ICBT based on a brief description. Both treatments were 10 weeks long. Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale – Self Report was used as the primary outcome measure.

    Results: IPDT (N = 23; 63.9%) was preferred more often than ICBT (N = 13; 36.1%), but the difference did not reach statistical significance (p = .10). Preference strength did not predict the treatment effect but therapeutic alliance did. The observed within-group effects for the treatment period were d = 0.40 [−0.21, 0.99] for the IPDT group and d = 0.53 [−0.29, 1.31] for the ICBT group. An intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis revealed no significant difference between the two treatments on any outcome measure at either post-treatment or at six months follow-up.

    Conclusion: The present pilot study did not find a difference in preference for IPDT or ICBT in the treatment of SAD and both treatments resulted in small to moderate improvements in symptoms of SAD. Preference strength might not predict treatment effect, but this needs to be tested in larger studies.

  • 2020. Jakob Mechler (et al.). Trials 21 (1)

    Background: Adolescent depression is a common mental health problem and there is an urgent need for effective and accessible treatments. Internet-based interventions solve many obstacles for seeking and receiving treatment, thus increasing access to effective treatments. Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) for adolescent depression has demonstrated efficacy in previous trials. In order to broaden the range of evidence-based treatments for young people, we evaluated a newly developed affect-focused Internet-based psychodynamic treatment (IPDT) in a previous study with promising results. The purpose of the planned study is to evaluate the efficacy of IPDT for adolescent depression in a non-inferiority trial, comparing it to ICBT.

    Methods: The study will employ a parallel randomized non-inferiority design (ratio 1:1; n = 270). Eligible participants are adolescents 15–19 years suffering from depression. The primary hypothesis is that IPDT will be non-inferior to ICBT in reducing depressive symptoms from pre-treatment to end of treatment. Secondary research questions include comparing outcomes of IPDT and ICBT regarding anxiety symptoms, emotion regulation and self-compassion. Additional data will be collected to evaluate cost-effectiveness as well as investigating predictors, moderators and mediators of outcome. In addition, we will examine long-term outcome up to 1 year after end of treatment. Diagnostic interviews with MINI 7.0 will be used to establish primary diagnosis of depression as well as ruling out any exclusion criteria. Both treatments consist of eight modules over 10 weeks, complemented with therapist support through text messages and weekly chat sessions. Primary outcome measure is the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology in Adolescents Self-Rated (QIDS-A17-SR). Primary outcome will be analysed using data from all participants entering the study using a multilevel growth curve strategy based on the weekly measurements of QIDS-A17-SR. The non-inferiority margin is defined as d = 0.30.

    Discussion: This trial will demonstrate whether IPDT is non-inferior to ICBT in the treatment of adolescent depression. The study might therefore broaden the range of evidence-based treatment alternatives for young people struggling with depression. Further analyses of data from this trial may increase our knowledge about “what works for whom” and the pathways of change for two distinct types of interventions.

    Trial registration: ISRCTN12552584, Registered on 13 August 2019.

  • 2019. Robert Johansson. Contemporary Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, 337-347

    One recent advance in the field of psychodynamic therapy is the development of internet-based models in the form of guided self-help. Typically, these treatments are in the form of self-help material that is provided to a client over the internet with additional therapist contact by e-mail. This chapter aims to introduce two distinct models of internet-based psychodynamic therapy in detail, give an overview of the current evidence base, and provide clinical illustrations of the process of working with this form of psychodynamic therapy.

  • 2019. Allan Abbass (et al.). Psychodynamic Psychiatry 47 (1), 99-112

    The aim of this study was to evaluate changes in long-term health care costs and symptom severity after adjunctive intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP) individually tailored and administered to patients with bipolar disorder undergoing standard psychiatric care. Eleven therapists with different levels of expertise delivered an average of 4.6 one-hour sessions of ISTDP to 29 patients with bipolar disorders. Health care service costs were compiled for a one-year period prior to the start of ISTDP along with four one-year periods after termination. Two validated self-report scales, the Brief Symptom Inventory and the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems, were administered at intake and termination of ISTDP. Hospital cost reductions were significant for the one-year post-treatment period relative to baseline year, and all cost reductions were sustained for the follow-up period of four post-treatment years. Self-reported psychiatric symptoms and interpersonal problems were significantly reduced. These preliminary findings suggest that this brief adjunctive psychotherapy may be beneficial and cost-effective in select patients with bipolar disorders, and that gains may be sustained in long-term followup. Future research directions are discussed.

  • 2019. Martin Kraepelien (et al.). Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy 26 (3), 298-308

    The objective of this study was to explore the effects of treatment compliance in a guided individually tailored internet-based treatment (TAIL) in relation to depression and co-morbid symptoms. Compliance with the homework in the different treatment components in TAIL, each aimed at a specific condition, was rated for 207 participants by independent assessors. Six subgroups (n = 34-131) were constructed consisting of participants with co-occurring symptoms of worry, panic, social anxiety, stress, insomnia, or pain. For each group, hierarchical regression was used to investigate whether the total sum of compliance points, Overall Compliance, predicted reductions in depression and in condition-specific symptoms. Also, in each subgroup, it was tested whether working with specific treatment components, Specific Compliance, predicted reduction of the targeted symptoms. Overall Compliance predicted 15% of the reduction in depression symptoms. For participants with worry, panic, social anxiety, stress, or insomnia, Overall Compliance also predicted symptom reductions in that specific condition. Specific Compliance predicted reduction in the targeted symptoms for participants with social anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Specific Compliance with stress and insomnia components also predicted reductions in depression. Our results strengthen the importance of compliance in internet-based treatments. Because compliance with stress and insomnia components was particularly important for broad symptom reductions, these conditions should not be ignored when treating patients with co-morbid symptoms.

  • 2019. Tomas Nygren (et al.). Journal of Clinical Psychology 75 (6), 985-998

    Objective: Kurdish immigrants in Sweden have a doubled risk of mental health problems, and refugee and immigrant populations underutilize mental health services. The present study investigated the efficacy of culturally adapted guided internet-based cognitive behavior therapy (ICBT) for depressive symptoms in a Kurdish population.

    Method: We included 50 individuals who were randomized to either an 8-week treatment or a wait-list. The Beck Depression Inventory-II was the primary outcome measure, and measures of anxiety and insomnia were secondary outcomes.

    Results: Depressive symptoms were significantly reduced (intention-to-treat analysis) in the treatment group, with a between-group effect size at posttreatment of Cohen's d = 1.27. Moderate to large between-group effects were also observed on all secondary outcome measures. Treatment effects were sustained at 11-month follow-up.

    Conclusion: The results provide preliminary support for culturally adapted ICBT as a complement to other treatment formats for treating symptoms of depression in a Kurdish population.

Show all publications by Robert Johansson at Stockholm University

Last updated: October 6, 2020

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