Exposure Therapy for Youth With Anxiety: Utilization Rates and Predictors of Implementation in a Sample of Practicing Clinicians from Across the United States

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Publication Title

Journal of Anxiety Disorders


Exposure therapy is a highly effective, evidence-based treatment technique for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders. Regardless, therapists in the community are reported to use exposure relatively rarely compared with other approaches. The goal of the present study was to identify how practicing clinicians treat youth with anxiety disorders across the United States and what factors contribute to their use of exposure therapy. Recruited from public directories, 257 private practice therapists who treat anxious youth were surveyed. Non-exposure cognitive-behavioral techniques like cognitive restructuring and relaxation techniques were used significantly more frequently than exposure. Providers with more training in exposure therapy and fewer negative beliefs about this approach reported using exposure significantly more in the treatment of youth with social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, and panic disorders. Self-identification as an anxiety disorder specialist significantly predicted exposure use for youth with posttraumatic stress disorder. Most therapists in private practice have minimal training in exposure therapy, perceive a lack of training options, and believe there would be a benefit to acquiring more training. The implications of these findings are discussed, including how to optimally design training opportunities in exposure therapy.



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Barriers, Cognitive-behavioral therapy, Community, Dissemination, Private practice, Treatment