Clinic Offers Treatment For Anxiety Disorders

By Lois Baker

Release Date: February 17, 1999 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Anxiety disorders are extremely common in the U.S., affecting 23 million people each year. That is the bad news.

The good news is that there are effective treatments for most of these 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 each year.

Larry W. 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 that use long-term Freudian-based approaches whose effectiveness is hard to measure generally, and which have not proved to be particularly effective for anxiety," he said.

Hawk and Michael L. Raulin, clinical associate professor of psychology and 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 as an analyst.

"Rather than search for the beginnings of the problem, cognitive behavioral 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 in people who have anxiety," Hawk said. "It's really rather remarkable."

Treatment for these problems is provided at the Anxiety Disorders Clinic by 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 program.

For more information about the clinic, call the UB Psychological Services Center at 645-3697.