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Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic

The Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic (ATRC) at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is a specialized outpatient program dedicated to clinical service, education, and research in the area of anxiety disorders. Located in a large community hospital affiliated with McMaster University, the ATRC receives over 3000 referrals each year and provides comprehensive assessment and treatment services including an early intervention assessment stream for youth with obsessive compulsive disorder. In addition to offering state-of-the-art assessments and treatments for anxiety disorders, the ATRC is one of Canada’s leading centres for training and research in the area of anxiety. Each year, 25-30 students from various disciplines (psychology, psychiatry, nursing, occupational therapy, and social work) complete clinical and research training at the clinic, making it an exciting hub of activity with numerous opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The ATRC houses a network of established investigators with international collaborations researching various aspects of anxiety disorders. Research in the ATRC encompasses studies designed to further our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the etiology and maintenance of anxiety disorders as well as the development and evaluation of new assessment methods and treatment approaches including innovative cognitive behavioural interventions. 


Current research projects include:

  • Cannabis use and anxiety disorders: Understanding motives for use, relationship to anxiety symptoms and impact on treatment.
  • Development and evaluation of the Diagnostic Research and Assessment Tool (DART) for DSM-5, an open access semi-structured diagnostic interview.
  • Neuromodulation using tCDS (transcranial direct current stimulation) for enhancing learning during exposure for OCD.
  • Addressing “treatment non response” in OCD – an algorithmic model.
  • Fitness level as a predictor of hippocampal neurogenesis in an exercise treatment study for OCD.
  • The impact of different cognitive strategies on post event processing in social anxiety disorder.
  • The impact of self-concealment behaviours on interpersonal connection in social anxiety disorder before and after treatment.
  • Attachment and the endowment effect in hoarding disorder.
  • The efficacy of Group Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD.
  • The efficacy of group cognitive behavioural therapy for hoarding disorder.
  • Behavioral and neuroeconomics of hoarding behaviors in children and adolescents
  • The impact of the Progressive Goal Attainment Program on work readiness for individuals with mood and anxiety disorders.  
  • Understanding partial response to treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • Exposure based treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder: A survey of CBT clinicians.  
  • The efficacy of a Transdiagnostic Behaviour Therapy Intervention for anxiety disorders.
  • An imaging study to understand brain chemistry and brain activity in pediatric OCD – Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders (POND) Network site.

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