Information on the Anxiety Study for Children (ASC Study)

In cooperation by the International Psychoanalytic University Berlin, the University Medical Centre Göttingen and the University Hospital Heidelberg

Financed by the Association of Analytical Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists in Germany (VAKJP) and the Foundation to Promote University Psychoanalysis

2014–2018 / Project Head: Prof. Dr. Annette Streeck-Fischer


Project description

The Anxiety Study for Children (ASC Study) concerns a cooperation between three universities (Berlin, Göttingen and Heidelberg) with the aim of researching and improving the psychotherapeutic treatment of children with anxiety disorders. While the psychotherapeutic treatment of anxiety disorders with adults and adolescents is quite well researched by now, there are however significantly fewer studies on the psychotherapeutic treatment of anxiety disorders in childhood. For which reason, affected children between 7 and 13 years old suffering from a disorder with separation anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder or social phobia can now participate in the new ASC Study. We are offering them the opportunity in Berlin, Göttingen and Heidelberg to undergo psychotherapeutic treatment which is specially tailored to the respective anxiety disorder. Doing so, we are working locally in Göttingen and Heidelberg with established therapists and various outpatient departments, while the treatment in Berlin is being conducted in a university outpatient service. The study design concerns a multi-centre randomised controlled study.

Study Centres

Centre Berlin
Local Head of Study: Prof. Dr. Annette Streeck-Fischer
International Psychoanalytic University Berlin (IPU)
Stromstr. 3, 10555 Berlin

Centre Göttingen
Head of Study/Local Head of Study: Dipl.-Psych. Dr. Simone Salzer
Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy
University Medical Centre Göttingen
Von-Siebold-Str. 5, 37075 Göttingen

Centre Heidelberg
Local Head of Study: Dipl.-Psych. Dr. Annette Stefini
Clinic for General Psychiatry
Heidelberg University Hospital
Voßstr. 4, 69115 Heidelberg

Information for Parents

Information for Parents
Children between 7 and 13 years old can participate in the study. If your child suffers from anxiety, you can contact us and find out whether participating in our therapy study could be helpful. This occurs in a personal meeting, which however can also be discussed in advance by phone. Even if your child is not accepted for participation in the study, we will continue to advise and counsel you.

The treatment provided in the context of the study concerns individual psychotherapy provided in an outpatient service and consists of 25 therapy sessions with accompanying parent meetings. An established psychotherapy method in which the therapists are trained is applied. The therapy lasts approximately 8 months with weekly therapy sessions. In addition to a precise diagnosis at the beginning, the progress and success of the therapy are also being scientifically studied. Appointments for initial consultations are conducted with the shortest possible waiting times (as a rule less than 14 days). If you and your child decide to participate in the study after we have informed you in detail about the benefits and drawbacks, the therapy can either begin very promptly or after a 16-week waiting period. The various local contact persons are available here.

Information for Referrers

The aim of the randomised controlled study is the evaluation of a childhood age manualised psychodynamic focal therapy (25 sessions plus accompanying parent meetings) compared to an untreated 16-week waiting group. It has already proven possible to establish the effectiveness of this treatment in prior studies with adult and adolescent age groups. The patients included in the study are referred randomly to either the treatment or to a waiting group. The patients are also called back for intermediate examinations during the waiting period. After the 16-week waiting period, the patients in the waiting group will also be treated. Children between 7 and 13 years old with a primary diagnosis of social phobia, generalised anxiety disorder or a disorder with separation anxiety can participate in the study.

Exclusion criteria for participating in the study are

  • Psychotic disorders
  • Substance-related disorders
  • Any current or prior clinically significant cerebro-organic disease
  • Severe physical illness
  • IQ < 80
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Pronounced attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Acute suicidal tendency
  • Competing psychotherapeutic or psychopharmacological treatments

Please contact us regarding any questions about the referring of patients.