Peter Muris

Maastricht University, The Netherlands

Back to the future: Tracing the footsteps of Mary Cover Jones – The treatment of children and adolescents with anxiety disorders

It is beyond doubt that cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) is currently the best intervention for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders. In this presentation, I will describe the history and evolution of CBT as an intervention for anxious youth. I will also provide a brief summary of what is currently known about the effectivity of CBT showing that about half of the young people can be successfully treated with this intervention. Then I will highlight a number of challenges that need to be tackled to further improve our clinical care for this target population. These are concerned with the dissemination and implementation of CBT in ‘real’ clinical practice, the improvement of CBT protocols, as well as the development of innovative and alternative interventions. It is argued that new, ‘hot’ therapies for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders are not the only way to go but that we can still learn a lot from knowledge acquired in the past.

Peter Muris is full professor in Developmental Psychopathology at the Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University. After completing a master’s degree in Mental Health Sciences (Clinical Psychology) at Maastricht University, he conducte PhD research on coping styles and anxiety at the University of Amsterdam. Muris returned to Maastricht as faculty member and completed his clinical training as cognitive behavior therapist and health psychologist. In 2004 he was appointed full professor in Clinical Psychology at Erasmus University Rotterdam; in 2011 he accepted his current professorship at the Maastricht University. His research fits within the experimental psychopathology tradition and is predominantly focused on child and adolescent psychopathology, in particular anxiety disorders. A prolific author, Muris is also associate editor of the Journal of Child and Family Studies, Child Psychiatry and Human Development, and the Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, and member of the editorial boards of several other journals.






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