Anxiety disorders treatment for youth: Past, present and future 

The past 20 years was characterized by advances in the development and empirical testing of treatments for youth with anxiety . Cognitive behavioral therapy emerged as the gold-standard, evidence-based psychosocial treatment for separation, social, and generalized anxiety, and for specific phobias. And yet, while CBT and medication are effective acute treatments for anxiety in youth ages 7 to 17 years (Walkup, et al., 2008), long-term remission is not maintained for nearly half of effectively treated youth (Ginsburg et al., 2014). This talk explores variables accounting for the lack of robust and lasting response to CBT, including the limited role of parents in therapy and the impact of the youth’s level of independent functioning. For the typical youth, developmental transitions through to early adulthood are accompanied by uncertainty and anxiety but mostly full of optimism and growth (Arnett, 2004). Youth with anxiety encounter a more difficult course characterized by everyday tasks appearing insurmountable, resulting in failure to meet normative milestones and achieve age-appropriate independent functioning. A systematic approach to understand and meet the tasks of development and empower youth to function at their highest level of independence will be presented with the aim to increase outcomes for CBT in youth. In this keynote, Dr. Albano will discuss adapting evidence-based CBT for anxiety in youth ages 7 to 21 with novel components designed to address patient-caretaker dependency, role transitions, and attainment of behaviors necessary for age-appropriate independent functioning within the contexts that are unique to the youth’s developmental age.   


Columbia University. United States

Anne Marie Albano is the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CUCARD) Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry. She is Board Certified in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and served as President of the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and President of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). Dr. Albano was a Principal Investigator for the “Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Treatment Study” (CAMS) and the “Treatments for Adolescents with Depression Study” (TADS). Presently, she and her colleagues are working to extend the response and benefits of CBT through developmentally focused, parent-involved models for youth with anxiety. Additional research is ongoing in developing and testing virtual environments for adolescents and young adults who suffer with anxiety and mood disorders, with the aim to extend the benefits of exposure and behaviorally-based therapies to make meaningful, lasting changes for emerging adults.  She is a mentor, teacher, and supervisor to child psychiatry fellows, clinical psychology students and fellows, and to audiences of clinicians from the range of mental health professions. In addition to her clinical and teaching roles, Dr. Albano serves as a consultant to organizations and entities in developing clinical services or research methods to evaluate services, as well to non-profit boards focused on mental health, suicide prevention, and health education for youth.