Centre for Continuing Education

Anxiety Disorders Course for Health Professionals

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In partnership with the Discipline of Psychiatry
Developed and delivered by the Discipline of Psychiatry at Sydney Medical School, the University of Sydney, and open to all health professionals for continuing professional development.

The latest research in the field of anxiety disorders has been translated into a short course at the University of Sydney by 21 leading experts from 12 universities and hospitals across Australia and New Zealand under the Centres of Clinical Research Excellence (CCRE) Scheme of National Health and Medical Research Council.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders, affecting around 1 in 7 Australians. The disability associated with anxiety disorders is comparable to physical illnesses. However, the distress and impairment sufferers' experience often goes unrecognised or is poorly treated, despite effective treatments being available. People with anxiety disorders need your help, and we can make your help more effective and professional. To help people with anxiety disorders, you must be equipped with the specialised knowledge about effective psychological and pharmacological evidence-based treatments for anxiety disorders. The theoretical basis and the application of these treatments are required knowledge for a broad range of health professionals.

If you see patients or clients with anxiety disorders, or if you are looking to become specialised in this area, this workshop series is right for you.

Course outcomes

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Discuss the symptoms, prevalence, and burden of anxiety disorders
  • Differentiate medical and other comorbid disorders that may present as an anxiety disorder or complicate treatment
  • Explain how patients' anxiety disorders are triggered, developed, and maintained using physiological, genetic, attachment, neurobiological, behavioural and cognitive models and theories
  • Systematically appraise the basis for the selection of particular treatment approaches to anxiety disorders
  • Develop imaginal and in vivo exposure hierarchies for feared situations
  • Identify and challenge cognitive distortions common to anxiety disorders
  • Set up and conduct a behavioural experiment
  • Identify appropriate medications to complement cognitive-behavioural treatments for anxiety disorders

With the above competences, you will be able to effectively communicate with, and provide helpful advice to people with anxiety disorders. You would have a better chance of getting a job where competence in diagnosing and treating anxiety disorders is either needed (e.g. anxiety disorders clinics) or desirable (e.g. outpatient mental health service). These competences will be very useful for participants in private practice because many people with anxiety disorders seek help from therapists in the private sector. Health professionals acting as consultants to companies would benefit from this course due to the prevalence of anxiety and anxiety disorders in the workplace. This course also helps you gain an in-depth theoretical foundation for further developing skills in the treatment of anxiety disorders with clinical supervision.

Course Content

This course will cover the following topics:

  • Anxiety and anxiety disorders
  • The science of anxiety disorders
  • Development of anxiety in children
  • Assessment of anxiety disorders
  • Cognitive theory and case formulation
  • Learning theory and behaviour therapy for anxiety disorders
  • Cognitive therapy for anxiety disorders
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders: Behavioural experiments, case studies, evidence base and Internet-delivered CBT
  • Pharmacotherapy for anxiety disorders

Course Delivery

This course will be delivered in a workshop format with practical tasks. Additional online learning resources and activities are available to complement the face-to-face sessions. You will be given assignments to complete between sessions in order to consolidate your learning.

The online discussion forum is a good place for you to ask questions and stay connected with the tutors and other participants during the course. You will continue to have access to the discussion forum until the end of 2014.

CPD accreditation

Suitable for

This course is suitable for health professionals such as mental health clinicians, general practitioners, pharmacists, nurses, social workers, psychologists, counsellors, marriage and family therapists, psychiatrists, psychiatry registrars, occupational therapists, and health consultants. However, anyone who wishes to gain a comprehensive understanding of anxiety disorders can benefit from this course.

Prerequisites for admission

There are no specific degrees or course requirements for this course.

Technical support and advice

For technical support and specific advice about this course, please contact course coordinator Richard He.

Free Educational Video Series

Still can’t decide if this course is right for you? You can request our video series Getting Started with Helping People with Anxiety Disorders prepared by Associate Professor Anthony Harris, Professor Richard Bryant, Dr Juliette Drobny and Associate Professor Rocco Crino. Sign up for this video series for free to learn the functions and symptoms of anxiety, explore two popular ideas to treat anxiety, and discover the techniques used by experienced therapists through case studies and examples.

Similar courses

Not in Sydney or not available for the workshop series? Enrol into the online version of this workshop series so that you can study anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace:


This course received contribution from the following experts through the CCRE Scheme of National Health and Medical Research Council: Prof. Gavin Andrews, Prof. Philip Boyce, Prof. Richard, Bryant, Prof. Helen Christensen, A/Prof. Rocco Crino, Dr. Angela Dixon, Dr. Juliette Drobny, Dr. Kim Felmingham, A/Prof. Anthony Harris, Dr. Michael Harris, A/Prof. Jennie Hudson, A/Prof. Caroline Hunt, Dr. Kasia Kozlowska, Dr. Lisa Lampe, Dr. Loyola McClean, A/Prof. Ross Menzies, A/Prof. Michelle Moulds, Prof. Richie Poulton, Dr. Chris Ryan, A/Prof. Vladan Starcevic, and A/Prof. Naomi Wray.

Course Features

  • Expert Trainers
  • Evidence-Based Training
  • Case Studies and Discussions
  • Online Resources and Support
  • Qualifies for Continuing Professional Development Credits
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Central Location