Maximizing Exposure Therapy (METER) Study

The Maximizing Exposure Therapy (METER) Study is currently recruiting individuals who are seeking help with their public speaking anxiety.

Exposure therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety. The purpose of the study is to examine and compare the effects of two different forms of therapy (i.e. Positive Affect Treatment and Relaxation Treatment) on subsequent exposure therapy. Each of these therapies includes components and therapeutic strategies that have been demonstrated to be effective for anxiety and stress.

  • Positive Affect Treatment involves enhancing and increasing positive coping and life strategies. If assigned to this intervention, you will schedule activities you enjoy a few times a week, track completion of these activities, and track your mood. A therapist will help you schedule these activities and review completion of these activities in your sessions.
  • Relaxation Treatment focuses on increasing relaxation and reducing physical tension. If assigned to this intervention, you will learn strategies for relaxation, such as mindfulness, diaphragmatic breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. A therapist will go over these skills with you in your sessions and assign you homework to practice these skills outside of session.

Both versions of treatment involve examining thoughts and modifying behaviors.

Please go to this link to complete our online questionnaire to see if you’re eligible for our study:

Eligibility Criteria

Individuals who seeking treatment for public speaking anxiety may be eligible for the study if they are between the ages of 18 to 60, are English speaking, are not currently suffering from major medical conditions, and are either un-medicated or stabilized on medications.

Screening Procedures

Individuals who are interested in participating should complete the online screener (link above). If likely eligible based on the screener, participants are then scheduled for a diagnostic evaluation (approximately 1-2 hours) over Zoom to determine final eligibility.

Payment and Fees

You will be paid $20/hour for the diagnostic interview and laboratory assessments. The maximum amount that can be earned in this study is $180. You will receive treatment for free.

Treatment Procedures

Treatment is conducted one on one, over 16 visits (two sessions per week). You will be asked to complete online questionnaires remotely and in-person laboratory assessments with our research staff: prior to treatment, after your first treatment (Positive Affect Treatment or Relaxation Treatment), after exposure therapy, and at a 3-month follow-up. During these assessments, your behavior and your physical responses (skin conductance, heart rate) will be monitored and recorded while you are asked to complete experimental tasks (e.g., a public speech task). You will also remotely complete brief online questionnaires every other therapy session (once a week) during each treatment.

Study Personnel Contact

For further information about this project, contact:
Brooke Cullen

Protocol ID: IRB#23-001487, UCLA IRB Approved Approval Date: 11/20/2023