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SJHH ... / Health Services/ Mental Health & Addiction Services/ Mental Health Services/ Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic (ATRC)/ Treatment and Evaluation: An Overview

Treatment and Evaluation: An Overview

At St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic (ATRC), we offer comprehensive evaluations and proven treatments for anxiety-related conditions. Treatments at the ATRC include both medications and effective psychological treatments. Our staff is available to consult with your family doctor, psychiatrist and other professionals who are involved in your care.

Evaluation Process

Every individual who is seen at the Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic receives a comprehensive assessment. This assessment may include:

  • Detailed interviews to help clarify the diagnosis, to assess anxiety problems in particular, and to examine psychological functioning
  • Psychiatric consultation to provide further clarification of the problem and to understand medical causes that may be contributing to your anxiety
  • Administration of questionnaires to obtain additional information

This thorough assessment is conducted because anxiety disorders are complex and are often misdiagnosed. The evaluation procedure helps us determine the nature of the problem. Based on these assessments, we will make appropriate recommendations, which may include treatment at the ATRC, suggestions to seek treatment at another clinic or agency, or no treatment at all. Your doctor will receive a report describing the results of the evaluation as well as our recommendations for treatment.

Treatment Programs

The Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic offers both medical and psychological treatments, as well as combinations of these approaches. Medical treatments include various new and established medications that have been shown to be useful for the treatment of anxiety. Our psychological treatment programs are based primarily on a form of treatment called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT has been proven in numerous clinical trials to be an effective method of reducing and managing anxiety, fear, and avoidance. In treatment, the therapist and client work together to identify and challenge anxious thoughts and behaviours that maintain a person’s anxiety and related difficulties.  For more information on CBT, click here

Psychological treatments are provided mainly in group format, although there are some limited options for individual therapy.  A typical course of CBT is 12 sessions. In addition, our program includes an ongoing monthly “booster group” for individuals who have been through one of our standard treatments and wish to obtain additional support as they continue to use the strategies that they have learned during their treatment. Finally, if further treatment is needed in the future, our staff is available to provide additional consultation for you or your doctor.

Treatment is time limited; we generally do not follow patients over the long-term. When treatment is completed, patients are referred back to their family doctor or to another professional if additional treatment is required. Note that the ATRC offers a monthly booster group for individuals who require support to help maintain the gains they made during treatment.