Cognitive–behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders: Model and current issues Book Chapter

Hambrick, JP, Comer, JS, Albano, AM. (2010). Cognitive–behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders: Model and current issues . 204-215. 10.1017/CBO9780511777578.020

cited authors

  • Hambrick, JP; Comer, JS; Albano, AM



  • Origins of cognitive–behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders In 1920, John B. Watson and Rosalie Raynor published the Little Albert experiments, showing that fear can be acquired in humans through associative learning – that is, the pairing of neutral objects with aversive stimuli. In 1924, Mary Cover Jones, then at Teachers' College at Columbia University, demonstrated that fears can also be removed through the very same principles of association, establishing the central groundwork for the field of behavior therapy and the evidence-based psychological treatment of anxiety disorders. Throughout the 1950s, the popularity of behavioral treatment methods grew rapidly, due in large part to Joseph Wolpe's pioneering work in South Africa on “systematic desensitization.” This process helped patients overcome phobias by teaching them relaxation skills and then training them to call upon these skills while they are simultaneously confronting increasingly feared material. In the United States, Ogden Lindsley successfully demonstrated the efficacy of Skinnerian concepts of contingent reward and consequence in changing maladaptive behavior patterns in patients with serious mental illness. Among inpatients with schizophrenia, appropriate self-care and related behaviors were promoted by making desired situations or objects (e.g., free time, access to the canteen) directly contingent upon the performance of desired actions (e.g., bathing, brushing teeth). At the same time, Hans Eysenck's writings in England alleged the futility of psychoanalytic and “eclectic” treatment methods (O'Donohue & Krasner 1995).

publication date

  • January 1, 2010

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) 13

start page

  • 204

end page

  • 215