Clinic offers treatment for anxiety
By LOIS BAKER
News Services Editor
Anxiety disorders are extremely common in the U.S., affecting
people each year. That's the bad news.
The good news is that there are effective treatments for most
problems. Even better news is that in Western New York, sufferers can
receive treatment at reduced cost at UB's Anxiety Disorders Clinic, which
conducts a doctoral training program in clinical psychology.
The clinic was established in 1989 and currently trains between
five and 10
future clinical psychologists a year.
Larry Hawk, assistant professor of psychology and director of
the clinic, said
there is a nationwide shortage of psychologists trained in the most current and
most effective treatment methods for symptoms of anxiety.
"Many therapists still employ the more traditional treatments
long-term Freudian-based approaches whose effectiveness is hard to measure
generally, and which have not proved to be particularly effective for anxiety,"
Hawk and Michael Raulin, clinical associate professor of psychology
founder of the clinic, train doctoral students in the treatment approach called
cognitive behavior therapy, in which the therapist serves more as an educator
and coach than an analyst.
"Rather than search for the beginnings of the problem, cognitive
treatment is more focused on the present," Hawk said. "We try to determine
how the problem is affecting clients' lives right now and find ways to help them
meet their immediate goals. The treatment is more active and collaborative
than traditional methods, aimed at changing behavior, thought patterns and
bodily responses associated with the problem.
"This type of treatment has shown repeatedly to be very effective
who have anxiety," Hawk said. "It's really rather remarkable."
Anxiety disorders involve one or more of the following scenarios,
frequently over weeks or months, are excessive or irrational, and interfere
with work, relationships or other aspects of life, Hawk said:
- Intense fears of particular situation or objects, such as animals,
the sight of blood or social interactions
- Excessive worry about general situations, such as health, money,
- Repeated "panic attacks," or feelings of fear or terror that
and repeatedly, often accompanied by racing heart, sweating, dizziness or
- Recurrent distressing intrusive thoughts or images, intense
doubt or repetitive
behaviors, such as checking or hand-washing, used to reduce anxiety
- Intense fear or feelings of numbness following a traumatic experience.
Treatment for these problems at the Anxiety Disorders Clinic is
doctoral students, supervised by Hawk and Raulin. Most of the treatments
involve 12-16 sessions lasting one to two hours. Hawk noted that for persons
without insurance or those with limited coverage, professional treatment for
anxiety symptoms can be prohibitive. Treatment provided through the UB
clinic is offered at a reduced fee because it is part of a doctoral training
For more information about the clinic, call the Psychological