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Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: A Primer 

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Michelle G. Craske, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and is Director of the UCLA Anxiety Disorders Behavioral Research Program.

Affecting one out of three Americans at some point during their lives, anxiety disorders are among the most common and debilitating mental health conditions. The ability to recognize and effectively treat these disorders is essential for every clinician.

For many years Dr. Craske and David Barlow, Ph.D. have led development of empirically-validated treatments for anxiety disorders. Together, they have also written numerous highly-acclaimed hands-on workbooks for clients and therapists. As Dr. Craske’s students and workshop trainees attest, her teaching ability and communications skills are second to none.

The current video consists of two parts. In the first, Dr. Craske describes the major anxiety disorders as well as recent discoveries concerning the role of genetic factors, personality, temperament, life stressors, and parenting in the development of these disorders. The latest information concerning prevalence rates, sex differences, and the life course of anxiety disorders is also presented. In this section Dr. Craske imparts a rich understanding of the anxiety disorders, as accurate case conceptualization is the foundation for the delivery of effective treatment.

In part two, Dr. Craske teaches each component of CBT and, via many treatment anecdotes, illustrates how each of the components should be modified and implemented for each of the anxiety disorders. Particular attention is given to cognitive-restructuring and exposure and to making certain that viewers have a deep understanding of the purpose of these procedures as well as how to tailor them to individual clients. Part two includes a number of video clips of Dr. Craske and her colleagues demonstrating the techniques taught in this workshop.


Learning Objectives: After viewing this program, you will be able to...

1) make more accurate diagnoses, i.e., differentiate among the anxiety disorders.

2) explain why one element of CBT, traditionally considered essential, is now de-emphasized or omitted altogether.

3) describe the basic components of CBT for anxiety disorders and their implementation.

4) describe the rationale (i.e., conceptual and empirical foundation) for the major components of CBT for anxiety disorders.

5) explain how to structure exposure sessions to target an individual client’s specific fear.

This program is appropriate for a broad range of mental health professionals including psychologists, social workers, and counselors. It does not assume prior expertise in CBT or anxiety disorders. Thus, it is an excellent introduction for those who do not have experience treating anxiety disorders with CBT. Because recent research has led to significant changes in the implementation of CBT, it is also an important update for experienced CBT clinicians.

CE credit: 6 hours

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