Barriers to and Facilitators of Using Evidence-Based, Cognitive–Behavioral Anxiety Interventions in Integrated Primary Care Practice

Robyn L. Shepardson, Terri L. Fletcher, Jennifer S. Funderburk, Risa B. Weisberg, Gregory P. Beehler, Stephen A. Maisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cognitive–behavioral treatment for anxiety disorders and symptoms remains underutilized in integrated primary care (IPC), in part because the many treatments developed for specialty care are not readily translated to this unique setting. The objective of this study was to identify barriers and facilitators to behavioral health providers (BHPs) delivering evidence-based cognitive-–behavioral anxiety interventions within IPC practice. We conducted semistructured interviews with a national sample of 18 BHPs (50% psychologists, 33% social workers, 17% registered nurses) working in IPC in the Veterans Health Administration.We assessed barriers to and facilitators of using psychoeducation, exposure, cognitive therapy, relaxation training, mindfulness/ meditation, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy-based interventions, and problem-solving therapy. Qualitative coding and conventional content analysis revealed barriers and facilitators at three levels: IPC, provider, and patient. Themes suggested key barriers of poor fit with the IPC model, BHP training deficits, and lack of patient buy-in, and key facilitators of good perceived fit of the intervention (e.g., scope, duration) with the IPC model, BHPs feeling well equipped, and utility for patients. BHPs select interventions based on fit for the individual patient. Some results were consistent with prior work from specialty care, but the IPC model itself introduces significant implementation challenges. BHPswould benefit fromflexible intervention options and training on IPC treatment goals and how to deliver the essence of evidence-based interventions in small doses. Our findings will help to inform adaptation of behavioral anxiety interventions to better fit IPC practice and development of beneficial training and resources for BHPs to reduce implementation challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-722
Number of pages14
JournalPsychological Services
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 11 2022


  • anxiety
  • behavioral health providers
  • integrated primary care
  • interventions
  • qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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