Translating Science to Practice

Maximizing Exposure Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Michelle Craske, Ph.D., interviewed by Jacqueline Persons, Ph.D. 

Exposure therapy has consistently been found to be a highly efficacious treatment for anxiety disorders. New research on an inhibitory learning model of extinction is leading to a re-conceptualization of the underlying theory of exposure therapy and has important implications for clinical practice. Michelle Craske, PhD is an international leader in the field of anxiety disorders and has been on the forefront of research on the inhibitory learning model. She and her colleagues recently published a paper (Craske, M. G., Treanor, M., Conway, C. C., Zbozinek, T., & Vervliet, B. (2014). Maximizing exposure therapy: An inhibitory learning approach. Behaviour Reseach and Therapy, 58, 10-23.) that translates many years of basic science and clinical research into practical suggestions for how to conduct exposure therapy to maximize treatment gains and reduce the likelihood of symptom relapse. In this interview, Jacqueline Persons, PhD speaks with Dr. Craske about this work and how clinicians can apply the findings from this research to their work with anxious patients.

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About Dr. Craske

Michelle Craske, PhD is Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and Director of the Anxiety and Depression Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has published extensively in the area of fear, anxiety, and depression. Her many accomplishments include her service on DSM-IV and DSM-5 workgroups, on the APA Clinical Treatment Guidelines Advisory Steering Committee, and on an Institute of Medicine committee on establishing evidence-based standards for psychosocial treatments. Dr. Craske has given invited keynote addresses at many international conferences and many training workshops to clinicians on the latest advances in cognitive behavioral treatment for anxiety and depression. She is the President-Elect of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), and a past president of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology.

About Dr. Persons

Jacqueline Persons, PhD is Director of the Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Science Center, a group private practice in Oakland, California, and Clinical Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of California, Berkeley. She has published articles, chapters, and book on the topics of outcome and change processes in cognitive behavior therapy, especially as it is provided in a naturalistic clinical setting, and on the topic of case formulation in cognitive behavior therapy. Dr. Persons has presented training workshops to clinicians on case formulation and other topics in cognitive behavior therapy at numerous national and international conferences. She is a former President of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) and the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology.