Adult Intensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program
Aisha Usmani, PhD
Director, AICBT program
Jennifer Ragan, PhD
Associate Director, AICBT program
Explore This Treatment Program
Anxiety can be a debilitating condition impacting every aspect of our lives. Anxiety makes us uncomfortable and can make it difficult to fully engage with work, family, school and friendships. We end up not participating in life to our fullest extent, but that is not something we have to endure.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most researched treatment for anxiety and related disorders. CBT is a goal-oriented, problem-centered, skill-focused treatment that targets three interacting anxiety subsystems that are typically affected by these disorders—thoughts, behaviors and physiology. Different elements of CBT can be applied depending upon patient needs.
The Adult Intensive Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (AICBT) program at Massachusetts General Hospital offers intensive cognitive behavioral treatment for a range of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive (OC) spectrum disorders.
The AICBT program is especially designed to meet the needs of individuals 18 and older who do not have the luxury of spending months in weekly therapy and need to make progress quickly. It can also benefit individuals who struggle with making progress in the typical once-a-week treatment model, have hit a plateau or are experiencing slowed progress.
Benefits of the Program
The AICBT program can be especially beneficial because if offers:
- Daily appointments: Patients see their therapists daily (on business days) during treatment. This focused treatment increases the chances of effectively targeting avoidance and compulsions
- Sessions each business day: During the first week, patients spend three hours each day with their therapists, enabling closely guided skill practice. During the second and third weeks, sessions are two hours each day
- Short treatment duration: Treatment duration is typically 15 business days (totaling three weeks). Patients receive a robust treatment experience in a brief amount of time so they can quickly return to their regular, improved lives. This also eliminates the inconvenience of taking time out every week over a period of months to travel to and attend therapy
- Flexible location: Treatment may occur in our office, at the patient’s home or in the community. Our team travels within the Boston area so that treatment can occur wherever the patient’s fears are most often triggered
- Treatment team: Our therapists are doctoral level psychologists who specialize in the treatment of anxiety and OC-spectrum disorders
- Personalized care: We are highly committed to increasing the efficacy of treatment, so treatment is personalized to meet the needs of each patient
Disorders We Treat
Patients who engage in the Adult Intensive Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (AICBT) program at Massachusetts General Hospital must be willing to commit three hours per day to working with their therapists over the course of treatment. They must also be willing to practice the skills learned during the sessions on their own time.
Disorders treated at the AICBT program include:
- Panic disorder
- Agoraphobia (fear of places or situations where escape may be difficult)
- Specific phobias
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Tourette’s and tic disorders
- Trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder)
- Excoriation Disorder (skin-picking)
Who Can Benefit From AICBT?
AICBT is likely to be appropriate for you if:
- Your primary problem is anxiety or obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders, or a combination of anxiety issues
- You are willing to engage in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) skills-based treatment, including exposures (with guidance)
- You do not have active drug or alcohol use now or in the recent past
- You do not have active suicidal thoughts now or in the recent past
- You do not have psychotic thinking
A comprehensive assessment will be done at the outset to ensure that this treatment is a good fit. Once the assessment is complete and you have been accepted into the program, treatment will be scheduled at a time that works for both you and your therapist. You will work together to determine the goals of treatment and the best type of exposures or exercises to achieve these goals. Note that patients will never be “made” to do exposures and will always do them at their own pace with the encouragement of the therapist.
The Adult Intensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program does not accept any insurance and is a self-pay program only. The costs of clinician travel to and from locations outside of the hospital, as well as costs to facilitate any exposures, are additional to the base price of the program.
We will provide you with an estimate of the cost of your personalized treatment once we have discussed these treatment options with you and your treatment plan has been made.
Because of the format of the program and the services provided, it is considered an elective treatment that is not covered by the vast majority of insurance companies. You will be responsible for payment of all fees at the beginning of treatment, regardless of whether or not you attend all of the contracted days.
We cannot assist you in obtaining any insurance reimbursement for these services, either prior to or following completion of the intensive program.