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Personal profile


Dr. Tara Donker is Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, and licensed therapist specialized in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy at a mental health institute (Prezens, Amsterdam). Her research focuses on early intervention and prevention of depression, anxiety and suicide, based on innovative technologies such as virtual reality and mobile apps. Her main goal is to make mental health care more accessible and scalable.

Her main focus of research currently is investigating the effectivity and user-friendliness of ZeroPhobia: a low-cost mobile app using virtual reality for specific phobias. Results from an RCT demonstrated large effect sizes for ZeroPhobia Acrophobia compared to a control group. Now, she will develop and testZeroPhobia Aviophobia.



  • Teacher: CBT seminar for master students clinical psychology
  • Teacher: clinical communication skills for bachelor students clinical psychology (2011)
  • Internship coordinator of low intensity treatment (caring universities)
  • Supervisor of bachelor- and (research)master thesis students
  • Lectures in clinical psychological treatments (CBT, IPT, mental health psychology)
  • Coordinator of bacholorthese (2012-2014)


Over the years she received multiple grants from NWO (including a personal grant "Aspasia"), Fonds NutsOhra, Fonds Psychische Gezondheid, VSB fonds for projects on innovative technologies such as virtual reality in the treatment of specific phobia and online interventions for caregivers of depressed patients. She has received an Aspasia grant to conduct research into virtual reality for psychiatric disorders.

Prizes and Awards

CBT Workshop by Aaron T. Beck and Judith Beck

Black Dog early career travel award

EMGO travel grant

Ancillary activities

  • GGZ inGeest | Amsterdam | Medewerker | 2014-12-01 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Tara Donker is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 10 Similar Profiles
Depression Medicine & Life Sciences
Internet Medicine & Life Sciences
Randomized Controlled Trials Medicine & Life Sciences
Cognitive Therapy Medicine & Life Sciences
Anxiety Disorders Medicine & Life Sciences
Meta-Analysis Medicine & Life Sciences
Anxiety Medicine & Life Sciences
Mental Health Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2007 2019

Effectiveness of Self-guided App-Based Virtual Reality Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Acrophobia: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Donker, T., Cornelisz, I., Van Klaveren, C., Van Straten, A., Carlbring, P., Cuijpers, P. & Van Gelder, J. L., Jul 2019, In : JAMA Psychiatry. 76, 7, p. 682-690 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Cognitive Therapy
Randomized Controlled Trials
Eye Protective Devices
Costs and Cost Analysis
Control Groups

The Virtual Reality Scenario Method: Moving from Imagination to Immersion in Criminal Decision-making Research

van Gelder, J. L., de Vries, R. E., Demetriou, A., van Sintemaartensdijk, I. & Donker, T., 1 May 2019, In : Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. 56, 3, p. 451-480 30 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Decision Making

0Phobia - towards a virtual cure for acrophobia: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Donker, T., Van Esveld, S., Fischer, N. & Van Straten, A., 9 Aug 2018, In : Trials. 19, p. 1-11 11 p., 433.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy
Randomized Controlled Trials
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Eye Protective Devices
Implosive Therapy
Open Access
Randomized Controlled Trials

Seeing is Believing? Comparing Negative Affect, Realism and Presence in Visual Versus Written Guardianship Scenarios

van Gelder, J. L., Martin, C., van Prooijen, J. W., de Vries, R., Marsman, M., Averdijk, M., Reynald, D. & Donker, T., Apr 2018, In : Deviant Behavior. 39, 4, p. 461-474 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Activities 2012 2018

  • 4 Editorial work
  • 2 Lecture / Presentation
  • 1 Conference

Journal of Clinical Medicine (Journal)

Tara Donker (Guest editor)

Activity: Peer review and Editorial workEditorial workAcademic

Global Mental Health (Journal)

Tara Donker (Guest editor)

Activity: Peer review and Editorial workEditorial workAcademic

iSPIN: Combining Forces. Combining forces to develop, test and disseminate eHealth interventions in rare diseases: the example of the Scleroderma Patient‐centered Intervention Network (SPIN)

W. van Ballegooijen (Organiser), J.J. Ruwaard (Organiser), T. Donker (Organiser), A. van Straten (Organiser), L. Kwakkenbos (Organiser), J. Welling (Organiser)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventConferenceAcademic

Internet Interventions (Journal)

Tara Donker (Member of editorial board)
2014 → …

Activity: Peer review and Editorial workEditorial workAcademic

Trials (Journal)

Tara Donker (Associate editor)

Activity: Peer review and Editorial workEditorial workAcademic