Jon Vøllestad


Associate Professor


Research groups


My research interests revolve around the understanding and treatment of anxiety, depression, and other emotional disorders. I have been particularly interested in how acceptance and mindfulness can be beneficial for individuals dealing with anxiety and recurrent depression. I have participated in various clinical studies exploring this area. 

Currently, my primary focus is on transdiagnostic treatment, which targets common vulnerability factors underlying various disorders rather than specific diagnoses.Together with colleagues at the University of Bergen (UiB) and internationally, I am researching the transdiagnostic model "Unified Protocol." We are also working towards implementing this approach in Norwegian mental health care and other settings.  


Programme participation
Popular scientific lecture
Academic article
Academic lecture
Popular scientific article
Academic literature review
Feature article
Article in business/trade/industry journal
Academic chapter/article/Conference paper
Non-fiction book
Doctoral dissertation
Thesis at a second degree level
Interview Journal

See a complete overview of publications in Cristin.


Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders (Unified Protocol)

Treatment of mental disorders has long been focused on specific diagnoses. This has contributed to the development of many effective methods but also comes with some challenges. It is demanding for individual practitioners to learn a manual for each disorder, and it is resource-intensive to implement many different methods in healthcare services. Additionally, high comorbidity between conditions can make it difficult to determine which diagnosis-specific approach to choose. Furthermore, research on mental disorders raises more fundamental questions about the validity of the categorical diagnostic understanding in the DSM and ICD systems. This has led to increased interest in transdiagnostic treatment, which targets vulnerability factors that are common to various conditions. 

One such approach is the Unified Protocol (UP), which focuses on difficulties in emotion regulation as an underlying process across different mental disorders. This project consists of multiple components. A feasibility study of UP has been initiated at the outpatient clinic of the Department of Psychology. The project will also enable the investigation of potential changes in interoceptive ability (sensing internal bodily functions like the heart and respiration) and heart rate variability (which is linked to emotion regulation ability) in individuals undergoing UP treatment. Professor Elisabeth Schanche, Associate Professor Jon Vøllestand, and Associate Professor Berge Osnes lead this project. A larger European multisite study (RCT) involving partners from Spain, Portugal, Romania, Germany, Denmark, and Norway is planned. In this part of the project, new digital solutions and technological tools, such as smartphone apps, will be developed and tested.