Targeting Comorbid Anxiety and Depression Using the Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders in Adolescents

Jamie A. Sherman, Niza A. Tonarely, Jill Ehrenreich May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


This article presents the use of an emotion-focused, transdiagnostic therapy approach designed for adolescents with a range of anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, depressive, and related disorders, referred to here as emotional disorders. Preliminary work suggests that emotional disorders share underlying temperament factors, such as high neuroticism and low extroversion in adults and adolescents, possibly influencing the development and maintenance of emotional disorders across the life span. The Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders in Adolescents (UP-A) and similar core dysfunction-focused, transdiagnostic therapy approaches may lead to successful treatment by targeting higher order factors that cut across an array of emotional disorders The utility of UP-A for adolescents experiencing a variety of emotional disorder symptoms is demonstrated here through the case illustration of Tony, a 15-year-old adolescent male with severe social and generalized anxiety and mild levels of depression. After 16 individual treatment sessions, Tony demonstrated significant reductions in anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as an ability to respond more adaptively to a range of emotional experiences. This case study illustrates how short-term, transdiagnostic treatment using the UP-A can effectively ameliorate a wide range of emotional disorder symptoms in adolescents and may also lead to changes in core features of neuroticism, potentially preventing development of further emotional difficulties over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-76
Number of pages18
JournalClinical Case Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018



  • adolescent
  • anxiety
  • cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • depression
  • transdiagnostic treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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