Psychological treatment of co-occurring anxiety disorders in clinical practice: a vignette study

Gavin I. Clark*, Tanya L. Hanstock, Laura H. Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Background and Objectives: Many individuals with anxiety difficulties present with co-occurring anxiety disorders yet no evidence-based guidelines exist on how to treat this presentation. The present study investigated how Australian psychologists approach treating co-occurring anxiety disorders. Methods: A total of 169 psychologists practicing in Australia undertook an online survey consisting of open-questions relating to the treatment of DSM-IV anxiety disorder diagnoses and reported practice in relation to two clinical vignettes. Participant responses were coded using a directed content analysis approach. Results: The majority of psychologists reported utilising cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) interventions in the treatment of single and co-occurring anxiety disorders but not specific evidence-based treatment guides or protocols. The majority of the psychologists surveyed reported that they adopt a transdiagnostic approach to addressing co-occurring anxiety disorders. Conclusions: Psychologists typically do not follow a specific treatment guide in the treatment of anxiety disorders and judge a transdiagnostic approach incorporating CBT techniques as the best way to treat comorbidity. More effort may be needed to disseminate evidence-based interventions for anxiety disorders and for authors of empirically supported treatments to provide clear guidelines regarding treating co-occurring anxiety disorders.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)480-490
    Number of pages11
    JournalAustralian Psychologist
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


    • anxiety/anxiety disorders
    • cognitive behaviour therapy
    • comorbid
    • evidence-based treatment
    • psychological therapy
    • transdiagnostic


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