Training Aim: The candidate, Dr. Kate Wolitzky-Taylor, is proposing to receive training in (a) clinical and research issues in treating comorbid anxiety disorders in substance using populations;and (b) effectiveness research methodology. The purpose of acquiring training in these areas is for the candidate to develop a program of work aimed at (a) increasing access to cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) for anxiety disorders among those with substance use disorders;(b) adapting CBT protocols for anxiety disorders to be appropriate for delivery to persons with substance use disorders;(c) ensuring that these adapted CBT protocols are consistent with the culture of typical addictions treatment settings;and (d) examining the effectiveness of these interventions in real-world clinical settings such as Intensive Outpatient Programs in community addictions treatment centers. Previous Experience: The candidate has received extensive training and experience in the research and treatment of anxiety disorders. She has excelled in both conducting research in the treatment of anxiety disorders and in delivering CBT for anxiety disorders to a wide variety of patients. Her experiences include an undergraduate research assistantship at the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program at the Emory University School of Medicine, doctoral training in clinical psychology at the Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders at the University of Texas at Austin's Department of Psychology, completing a research-oriented clinical internship in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina in the Traumatic Stress Track, and her current postdoctoral research fellowship at the Anxiety Disorders Research Center at the University of California-Los Angeles Department of Psychology. Career Goals: The candidate aspires to obtain a tenure-track faculty position in a psychology department in which she can build a research program that incorporates her current expertise in anxiety disorders with her burgeoning interest in the treatment of comorbid anxiety and substance use disorders (SUDs) and the evaluation of CBT protocols in real-world clinical addictions settings. Research Career Development Plan: The primary goals of the career development plan are to (a) learn about treatments for SUDs, both broadly and in the context of anxiety-SUD comorbidity;and (b) learn methodology of effectiveness research. Attainment of these goals will provide the candidate with skills and knowledge needed to adapt CBT for anxiety disorders to a community clinical setting providing addictions treatment and to evaluate the effectiveness of CBT for anxiety disorders in these settings. These goals will be accomplished through directed readings, clinical experiences, consultation, coursework, and participation in seminars and conferences.
Those with anxiety and substance use disorder comorbidity are rarely treated for their anxiety disorder, and treating anxiety in this population may reduce anxiety symptoms as well as improve substance use outcomes. The proposed research aims to investigate the effectiveness of a cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) program for anxiety disorders to be delivered in community outpatient substance abuse treatment centers. Addressing anxiety disorders with evidence-based treatments in real-world clinical addictions settings is likely to have significant public health implications, reducing symptoms of both anxiety and substance use disorders.