Researchers develop standardised model for treating child anxiety and depression

March 2, 2011

( -- Research shows that about one in 10 children and adolescents suffer from an anxiety disorder. Further, about five to eight percent suffer from depression. Both these relatively common psychological disturbances have serious long term consequences for children and adolescents if left untreated.

While many parents seek help for their , research has shown that not all of these children will receive competently administered treatment that is based on the latest research findings and clinical advances in the field. Unfortunately for parents, there is no way to know whether their therapist’s practice meets worldwide standards.

To address this problem, researchers Elizabeth Sburlati, Carolyn Schniering, Heidi Lyneham and Ronald Rapee from the University’s Centre for Emotional Health have now turned their attention to developing a standardised model of therapist competencies for treating children and with anxiety and depressive disorders. The researcher’s findings have recently been published online in the international journal Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review.

The team, headed by Elizabeth Sburlati, first consulted leading treatment authors and experts from around the world to identify those therapist competencies that are needed to effectively treat child and adolescent and , using current evidence based practices. They then developed a treatment model which incorporated expert recommendations.

Sburlati notes that while there are a number of treatments which are known to be effective for these type of disorders, many therapists in routine clinical practice are either not using them or are not implementing them correctly.

“In essence, there has been a gap between science and practice. This means that a large number of those children and adolescents seeking treatment from professionals are not receiving effective treatments and therefore, are not getting better,” she said.

This model of therapist competencies has been well received by both national and international experts in the field and has the potential to become the standard of practice upon which training programs can be developed.

“Now that we know what therapists need to be able to do to treat these kids effectively, we can improve training programs that teach these abilities and ensure that all therapists meet a certain standard of professional competence,” Sburlati said.

“This will raise professional standards in the field and subsequently safeguard many children and adolescents seeking treatment, ensuring that they receive effective treatment, and therefore, the best chance at recovery”.

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not rated yet Mar 02, 2011
Has any mental health professionals or research scientists ever worked full time with mentally ill human beings? Have they ever witnessed full time the pain and suffering and experimentation and false hope that clients have to live with everyday? Now these supposed experts want to experiment with children and make them go through the horrors of supposed mental health recovery? We are going to stand by and watch our children be mentally molested by this giant -Ponzi Scheme-in the name of supposed experimentation?
not rated yet Mar 04, 2011

The goal of a mental health professional is never to experiment on a patient - instead it is to better understand the disease that the patient is inflicted with in order that said disease can be better treated.

The alternative to experimental psychology is to sit on our asses and do nothing as we watch the suffering of humans - manifest in everything from the child's drawing of scenes of violence through to the adolescent's suicide attempt.

I won't stand by and do nothing - that would violate my sense of decency and humanity.

Do YOU see any choice other than action or inaction?
not rated yet Mar 08, 2011
Alex Arts,

For years I worked in a top mental health rehabilitation facilty (FH) in northern new jersey and I saw horrendous pain and suffering and false hope and experimentation on a wholesale level with thousands of clients? To do nothing would be better than this inhuman -Torture- on the majority of human beings with mental illness???

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