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The Transdiagnostic Perspective on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety and Depression: New Wine for Old Wineskins?

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Transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety and depression has been of growing interest in psychotherapy research. In this article we discuss several fundamental issues raised by contributors to this special issue on transdiagnostic CBT for emotional disorders. Although researchers have tended to assume that interventions are transdiagnostic because they are labeled as such, the actual boundary between transdiagnostic and disorderspecific treatments may be far less clear than previously acknowledged. Nevertheless, there are many reasons to advocate for greater attention to a transdiagnostic perspective, not the least being the large shared variance in the emotional disorders, which is often overlooked in contemporary disorder-specific CBT protocols. Evidence of the efficacy of transdiagnostic CBT for anxiety and depression is limited, and issues facing comparative outcome and process studies are discussed. The article concludes by suggesting a programmatic framework for advancing a theory-driven, empirically based psychotherapy research agenda that could lead to the development of a truly integrated, transdiagnostic CBT for anxiety and depression.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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