What are Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders refer to excessive fear, anxiety and avoidance behavior to a degree that interferes with functioning.
Learn More about Anxiety and Depression

Program Overview

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CALM is a structured therapeutic approach that has been demonstrated to be effective in helping people to reduce their anxiety and depression symptoms.1 This specific way of using proven cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles helps clinicians, who are not necessarily therapists, to use an effective intervention with their patients.

CALM is a unified approach to detect and treat depression and four common anxiety disorders:

  • Panic Disorder (PD)
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

CALM Tools for Living

CALM Tools for Living is a web-based tool that guides patients, with the assistance of a clinician, through the CALM treatment intervention.  The computer program's step-by-step process allows patients to:

  • Read information on the computer
  • Watch video demonstrations
  • Discuss it with their clinician
  • Learn various skills (thinking, feeling, behaving)
  • Develop a plan to practice these new skills

The web-based program has various modules that are combined over a total of 8 sessions. The program automatically guides the patient through those modules that are relevant to their disorder.

CALM Tools for Living also saves data entered by each patient for use throughout the intervention. This function also allows the patient and clinician to review change that occurs over the course of treatment.

CALM and the CALM Tools for Living tool use a multi-focus approach to:

  • Educate about anxiety and depression
  • Learn how to record and assess symptoms
  • Identify new ways to change physiological, cognitive, and behavioral responses to anxiety
  • Practice new skills to cope with anxiety
  • Develop plans for maintaining the progress they have achieved
Program Background

The CALM approach is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques. CBT is a first-line, evidence-based treatment for anxiety and depression with decades of research support. CALM is an application of CBT well-suited to situations where multiple problems, medically complex clients, and lack of time are the rule. Therefore, the program is short-term, flexible, and designed to help clinicians who are not necessarily experts in CBT to deliver the intervention.

The effectiveness of collaborative care is well-established for primary care depression, but less so for anxiety disorders. The variety of anxiety disorders and the fact that people with anxiety are less likely to seek treatment may contribute to this. Patients prefer psychotherapeutic approaches, which may be better at maintaining improvement than pharmacotherapy.

The effectiveness of collaborative care is well-established for primary care depression, but less so for anxiety disorders. The variety of anxiety disorders and the fact that people with anxiety are less likely to seek treatment may contribute to this. Patients prefer psychotherapeutic approaches, which may be better at maintaining improvement than pharmacotherapy.

CALM is a program with built-in flexibility, treating the four most common anxiety disorders–even if they occur with depression.

The researchers built on the work by Dr. Wayne Katon in a collaborative care model for treatment of depression. An initial study (Collaborative Care for Anxiety and Panic) was conducted at three sites on the West Coast to assess whether evidence-based treatments (CBT and medications) could be generalized to non-specialist therapists. The positive study outcomes then served as the basis for expanding the study to a wider group of individuals and anxiety disorders.


1 Roy-Byrne, P., Craske, M.G., Sullivan, G., Rose, R.D., Edlund, M.J., Lang, A.J., Bystritsky, A., Welch, S.S., Chavira, D.A., Golinelli, D., Campbell-Sills, L., Sherbourne, C.D., & Stein, M.B. (2010). Delivery of evidence-based treatment for multiple anxiety disorders in primary care: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 303 (19): 1921-1928.