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PSY 415

Hofstra University

Department of Psychology

PhD Program in Clinical Psychology


Clinical Seminar in Cognitive Behavior Therapy
for Anxiety Disorders and Depression

William C. Sanderson, PhD

Professor of Psychology                                    

Hofstra University
Hempstead NY  11549




COURSE DESCRIPTION (Prerequisite: Psychology 229):

 Approximately 25% of the general population suffers from an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. 20% suffer from depression.  This two-semester course will focus on the clinical application of specific treatment strategies that have been shown to be effective in controlled research studies to address these prevalent emotional disorders.  Students will learn how to: (1) conduct a thorough assessment, (2) implement specific cognitive behavioral treatment strategies targeting the diagnosed symptoms and problems, (3) evaluate the effectiveness of treatment as it progresses utilizing relevant patient self-report questionnaires.  By the end of the two-semester course, students will have a thorough exposure to information regarding the psychopathology, assessment, and treatment of anxiety and depression.


Students will provide treatment for two ongoing cases as part of the CBT Program for Anxiety and Depression.  Each class will involve group supervision of ongoing cases by the instructor.  Specific readings will be assigned by the instructor to match the cases being treated.



50% of grade will be based upon write up of case, including assessment, treatment planning, and response to treatment in a case report format (cf: Kazdin, A.E. (1998)).   One paper, no more than 20 pages APA style, due at the last class each semester.  The remaining 50% of grade will be based upon class attendance and participation.





I will conduct all supervision in a group format.  You will have approximately 20 minutes for supervision of your ongoing case(s).  Therefore, it is important to be as efficient as possible.  Rather than just summarizing what went on each week in session, I think presenting in the following SOAP format is best. For example:


Subjective: pt reports feeling more anxious this week, had two panic attacks

Objective: Beck Anxiety Inventory score increased from 17 to 26, other measures remained the same

Assessment:  Patient had an interpersonal conflict with spouse and is not compliant with relaxation strategies perhaps leading to an increase in anxiety.

Plan:   a. cognitive restructuring to address noncompliance with relaxation procedure

         b. assertiveness training for interpersonal conflict

         c. cognitive restructuring of anxiety provoking situations related to panic attacks

         d. assess depression level  

         e. introduce breathing retraining



This is a brief example, but thinking in this format and using this structure will facilitate supervision, which should be problem-oriented, focused on where to go next with the pt, as well as problems that arise in using the various strategies.



Everyone will have a chance to present their case in detail during their assigned case conference (sometime during the last five weeks of each semester).  The presentation is informal.  The only requirement is to distribute summaries of your patient's self-report questionnaire scores pre- and during treatment (use a table or figure to do so).   Limit your presentation to approximately 10-15 minutes covering the info below, so that approximately 30 minutes is left for group discussion of the case.


Please cover the following during your 10-15 minute presentation:

1. DSM Diagnosis and other assessment results (e.g., self-report questionnaires)

2. Specific symptoms/problems addressed in treatment (e.g., panic attacks, assertiveness, schemas)

3. Interventions employed to address problems/symptoms.

4. What went well?  What did not?

This info will facilitate group discussion regarding the assessment and treatment of the case.



20 pages maximum. The paper should include the following:


1. Introduction (discuss treatment outcome literature for the problem/diagnoses you are treating -- no more than 4 pages).


2. Assessment section describing your evaluation of the case, including results of the SCID and any self-report questionnaires used. Differential diagnosis and decisions about principal diagnosis can be discussed as well.


3. A table summarizing your session by session treatment.


4. A discussion of the application of specific treatment strategies and the patient's response to treatment employed, including a discussion of difficulties if any (this section should be the bulk of the paper).


5. A figure or table depicting the self-report questionnaire scores over time.


6. Discussion of future directions with the case (no more than 2 pgs).


The Kazdin (1998) article, listed on the syllabus, is a good overview for writing up a case study.


COURSE OBJECTIVES (PhD Program in Clinical Psychology): Intervention Skills

1) Students will interpret and explain the principles and techniques of applied behavior analysis and cognitive-behavioral 

    therapy, in both oral and written form.

2) Students will demonstrate competence in the use of interventions based on applied behavior analysis and cognitive 

    behavior therapy.




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