Evidence-Based Treatments

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a collection of treatments that are well-established and highly effective. Given the state of the research which shows that many mental health problems are exacerbated or maintained by problematic patterns of thinking and problematic behavior patterns, CBT is best understood as an umbrella term that refers to various treatments that target a person's maladaptive thinking patterns (the "cognitive" part of cognitive-behavioral therapy) and behavioral responses (the "behavioral" part of cognitive-behavioral therapy). For anxiety-related disorders, exposure-based CBT has strong empirical support compared to other forms of psychological treatment. Exposure-based treatments have been designated as having "strong research support" (the highest designation available) by the American Psychological Association's reviews of treatment, and a number of institutions - including the American Psychiatric Association - recommend that CBT, and specifically exposure-based CBT, be considered the first-line psychological treatment for anxiety-related disorders. 

Exposure-based treatments

Exposure therapy is a specific form of CBT that targets an individual's behavior. It has the most extensive support for the treatment of anxiety-related issues compared to other forms of psychological treatment. Exposure-based treatments have attained the designation of "strong research support" (the highest designation from the American Psychological Association) for panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder, and specific phobia. In exposure-based treatments, clients are gradually exposed to feared situations or anxiety-provoking stimuli, learning over time that they are able to manage their anxiety and fear. While exposure treatments reduce symptoms of anxiety, ultimately the goal is to improve clients' quality of life and their ability to function. There are various exposure-based treatments that have demonstrated effectiveness for a variety of mental health problems. For instance, exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a type of exposure treatment that is specifically used to treat people suffering from OCD. Prolonged exposure (PE) is an exposure treatment that is used for people who suffer from PTSD. Interoceptive exposure is an exposure technique used in the treatment of panic disorder.

Mindfulness & acceptance-based treatments

Mindfulness involves living in the present moment and learning to experience unwanted thoughts and emotions without judgement. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) uses mindfulness strategies along with acceptance techniques. Rather than attempting to completely remove anxiety, fear, sadness or negative emotions from your life, this approach encourages people to willingly experience unpleasant thoughts and emotions while committing to act in a manner that is consistent with their values. 

Comprehensive behavioral treatment (comB)

Habit reversal training (HRT) and comprehensive behavioral treatment (ComB) are specific forms of CBT that, like exposure therapies, target behaviors. They are the treatment of choice for body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) such as trichotillomania and excoriation disorder. ComB utilizes HRT and provides a comprehensive treatment plan that may include increasing awareness, learning how to regulate emotions, adjusting physical habits, and changing environmental factors that influence problem behaviors.

ANXIETY & OCD

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Contact Information

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Phone: (515) 216-0679

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