David Barlow on Treating Anxiety Disorders
by David Barlow
This motivating conversation with distinguished anxiety expert Dr. David Barlow covers his development of a novel approach to anxiety treatment, the origins of behavioral therapy techniques, and implications for the future of psychotherapy as a whole
In this inspiring interview, Dr. David Barlow reflects on critical moments in his highly influential career, describing an experimental psychology course that opened the possibility of “establishing a science of behavior where you could validate the principles of psychology.” He traces the development of his expertise in the treatment of anxiety, which emerged out of his dissertation research around curing the "great snake-phobic epidemic of the 1960s" and recounts his work with many of the great founding scientists of behavioral psychology.

In a lively discussion with acclaimed psychologist Kelly Brownell, Barlow reveals insights from his wealth of knowledge on the integration of science and clinical practice. Vividly drawing upon his experiences from inside the behavioral paradigm shift, he shares about learning psychotherapy by watching Joseph Wolpe perform systematic desensitization, and the resistance he saw from his psychoanalytically trained peers against utilizing behavioral techniques. “I felt it was necessary at the time to deny [Wolpe] was a great clinician…It’s the procedures that are really effective!”

Barlow introduces thought-provoking suggestions about the future direction of the field as a whole, advocating for-profit dissemination of therapy innovations as manualized treatments, “If you’re going to really get some findings out there, you need to have a mechanism to really push and disseminate it.” Barlow’s perspective on this and other topics is sure to provoke stimulating thought and discussion!
In Depth
By watching this video, you will:
  • Learn the history of behavioral therapy research and training
  • Understand the benefits of single-case experimental design
  • Explore the advantages of collaboration between psychology and medical sciences
  • Gain perspective on the economics of psychotherapy research and practice

Length of video: 1:09:39

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-421-5

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-421-5

Dr. Barlow received his PhD from the University of Vermont in 1969 and has published over 500 articles and chapters and over 60 books and clinical manuals, mostly in the areas of anxiety and related emotional disorders, sexual problems, and clinical research methodology. He is formerly Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at Brown University, and founded clinical psychology internships in both settings.He was also Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York and Director of the Phobia and Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the University at Albany, SUNY.

He joined Boston University in 1996 where he currently teaches.

He is Past-President of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association, Past-President of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and was Chair of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Psychological Intervention Guidelines, as well as a member of the DSM-IV Task Force of the American Psychiatric Association.
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