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Anke Ehlers

Dipl-Psych PhD Dr rer nat habil CPsychol

Professor of Experimental Psychopathology

  • Co-Director, Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma

Anxiety disorders and post traumatic stress disorder

Research Summary

My research mainly focuses on anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). My group uses experimental paradigms and prospective longitudinal studies to identify psychological factors that help explain the development and maintenance of these disabling conditions. The results of these studies help us develop new psychological treatments that target these factors. The treatments are evaluated in randomised trials and cohort studies.

The cognitive therapy programme for PTSD developed by our group has been shown to be highly acceptable to patients and very effective. It is recommended as a first line treatment for PTSD by NICE and international guidelines. It has been successfully disseminated into the National Health Service.

My contributions to the field have recently been recognised by several awards, including the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Clinical Psychology Award, American Psychological Association (2014); the Wilhelm Wundt- William James Award; European Federation of Psychology Associations and the American Psychological Foundation; and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) Lifetime Achievement Award (2022). 

Current research projects investigate whether cognitive therapy for PTSD can be delivered more efficiently, what the psychological mechanisms of treatment are, and the treatment of complex PTSD. Experimental studies investigate mechanisms of intrusive memories after trauma.

I am a Supernumerary Fellow of Wolfson College. I am a Fellow of the British Academy, The Academy of Medical Sciences, the Association for Psychological Science, and an elected Member of German National Academy of Scientists Leopoldina and the Academia Europaea.