Treatment for anxiety in adolescents at the transition to adulthood

Prof. Anne Marie Albano

Tuesday, 18 January 2022


For the typical adolescent, the developmental transition to early adulthood is a time of uncertainty and anxiety but also of optimism and growth (Arnett, 2004).  For youth with pre-existing or new onset anxiety disorders, everyday tasks become insurmountable, resulting in a failure to achieve independent functioning. CBT and medication are effective treatments for anxiety in adolescents and children (Walkup, et al., 2008), however, long-term remission through the transition to adulthood is not maintained for nearly half of effectively treated youth (Ginsburg et al., 2014). Traditionally, families have been of secondary focus or minimally involved in empirical studies of treatment outcome.  In addition, developmental milestones and age-appropriate functioning has not been a primary target of treatment. And, the unique contextual features of the environments and situations experienced by adolescents and young adults calls for specific attention of CBT therapists in delivering exposures that are ecologically valid to the youth. Hence, it is hypothesized that a systematic approach to assisting youth and their caretakers to understanding and meet the tasks of development as well as the nature of anxiety increases outcomes for CBT in youth. Central also, to treatment, is for youth to take on the challenges of anxiety and daily living with appropriate parental guidance and support. 

The event will be equivalent to 5.1/4hrs of CPD.


In this workshop, Dr. Albano will discuss the Launching Emerging Adults Program (LEAP), a model integrating the core components of effective CBT for anxiety in adolescents and young adults with novel components designed to address patient-caretaker dependency, role transitions, and attainment of behaviors necessary for independent functioning within the contexts that are unique to this developmental age. LEAP is a developmentally-informed treatment aimed at both syndrome relief and improved functioning, based on our experiences in treating transition-aged youth and informed by critical reviews of the developmental psychology of emerging adulthood (e.g., Arnett, 2004) and research in neurobiology and clinical trials. Dr. Albano will present the LEAP-specific assessment and treatment protocol with an emphasis on novel components including: negotiating a developmental hierarchy, planning for parental “letting go” while engaging and addressing core beliefs and fears of the parents and their emerging adult child, and engaging youth in community-based group exposures and use of ecologically valid virtual reality exposures.

Learning Objectives

1. Recognise the tasks of development necessary for adolescents to transition to adulthood
2. Devise strategies for addressing parental over involvement and adolescent dependency including family communication and problem solving
3. Develop exposures that maximize the use of context and address developmental stage issues to increase ecological validity and reduce or develop tolerance of anxiety

Training Modalities

Didactic, Q&A, experiential learning and clinical presentation of cases including video.

Key References

Arnett, Jeffrey Jensen (2004). Emerging adulthood: The winding road from late teens through the twenties. New York: Guilford Press.
Ginsburg, G.S., Becker-Haimes, E.M., Keeton, C., Kendall, P.C., Iyengar, S., Sakolsky, D., Albano, A.M., Peris, T., Compton, S.N., & Piacentini, J. (2018). Results from the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Extended Long Term Study (CAMELS): Primary anxiety outcomes. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 57, 471-480.
Hoffman, L., Guerry, J., & Albano, A.M. (2018). Anxiety Disorders: Transitional Age Youth. Current Psychiatry Reports: Child and Adolescent Disorders, 20: 25. Philadelphia: Springer., 10.1007/s11920-018-0888-9

About the presenter

Anne Marie Albano is Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry at Columbia University and Founder of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders and Clinical Site Director of New York Presbyterian Hospital’s Youth Anxiety Center, and Executive Director of Modern Minds of Charleston, SC. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi. Dr. Albano is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, a Beck Institute Scholar, and is Board Certified in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. She is the recipient of the 2015 ABCT Award for Outstanding Contributions by an Individual for Clinical Activities. Dr. Albano is a past President of the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology of the American Psychological Association and also past-president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). She is past editor of Cognitive and Behavioral Practice and Associate Editor of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Albano was the inaugural editor of the journal “Evidence-Based Practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health” published by the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. She has published more than 100 articles and chapters and is the co-author of several cognitive behavioral treatment manuals and of the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for Children, all published by Oxford University Press. Dr. Albano served as a Principal Investigator of a 6-site, National Institute of Mental Health-sponsored study entitled “Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Treatment Study” (CAMS) and the Extended Long Term Follow Up of CAMS (CAMELS) and also was a PI for the Treatments for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS). Both trials examined the relative efficacy of CBT, medication, combination treatment, and pill placebo in youth. Her book with Leslie Pepper, You and Your Anxious Child: Free Your Child from Fears and Worries and Create a Joyful Family Life, was a 2014 ABCT Self-Help Book Award winner and 2014 Self-Help Book Award winner from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. In 2015, a new ABCT award was established in Dr. Albano’s name by a family to encourage the proliferation of evidence-based treatment, the Anne Marie Albano Early Career Award for Excellence in the Integration of Science and Practice.

Who should attend

This event is pitched at beginner-intermediate level.