9th World Congress of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies

Activity: Talk and presentationAcademic presentationAcademic


Therapists’ Characteristics and Beliefs About the Use of Exposure in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Youth: A Survey Among Mental Health Practitioners 
Although there is consensus that exposure is the key ingredient in treating childhood anxiety disorders, several studies suggest exposure to be underused in clinical practice. Two recently conducted surveys among youth anxiety therapists in America show that exposure is only used in 5-15% of the cases (Higa-McMillan, Kotte, Jackson, & Daleiden, 2017; Whiteside, Deacon, Benito, & Steward, 2016). Therapists’ beliefs about exposure, their age, experience, caseload, training and theoretical orientation, as well as the level of the therapists’ own anxiety have been suggested to play an important role in the underusage of exposure in the treatment of adults with anxiety disorders. An internet-based survey among 207 youth mental health care professionals in the Netherlands and Flanders was conducted to assess the (under)use of exposure in Europe, and whether the same barriers holds these youth mental health care professionals from using exposure. Results showed that exposure was the intervention of choice in about 50% of the cases, in contrast to recommendations from (inter)national guidelines, advising exposure as first line treatment for childhood anxiety disorders (f.e., National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2014). Exposure seems to be a technique that is easily left out, given the strong association between exposure use and the belief that, compared to other techniques, exposure places children at a greater risk of harm. These beliefs about exposure seem to interact with education about and training in exposure-based CBT when affecting it’s use in clinical practice. Results of this survey will be reported and discussed in more depth, as well as implications for supervision and training of (future) therapists working with anxious youth.
Event title9th World Congress of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies
Event typeConference
LocationBerlin, Germany