One-Session Treatment of Specific Phobias in Children: Recent Developments and a Systematic Review

Thompson E. Davis, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA; email:
Thomas H. Ollendick, Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24060, USA; email:
Lars-Göran Öst, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden; email:


One-Session Treatment is a well-established evidence-based treatment for specific phobias in youths that incorporates reinforcement, cognitive challenges, participant modeling, psychoeducation, and skills training into a single, massed session of graduated exposure. This review begins by briefly examining the phenomenology, etiology, epidemiology, and assessment of specific phobias and then pivots to a description of One-Session Treatment. We examine the use of One-Session Treatment with children and adolescents, briefly discussing its components and application, and subsequently review almost two decades of research supporting its efficacy. Finally, we propose future directions for research and practice.