Patient Resources

What is an emotional disorder? The term emotional disorder is used by psychologists to mean a mental disorder in which the main problem is handling tough emotions like depression and anxiety. It applies to many common problems: social anxiety, worry and generalized anxiety, obsessive thoughts and behaviors like those seen in OCD, depression, trauma or PTSD – the list goes on!  These disorders all have something in common – they make it hard to manage uncomfortable emotions in a way that’s useful, which can cause these emotions to get worse.

What is the Unified Protocol? The Unified Protocol (UP) is a type of therapy for people with emotional disorders. The UP uses what’s known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or treatment focused on learning more helpful ways think and act, which psychologists have found to be very effective. The UP is unique compared to most other treatments because it can address many different problems related to emotion, rather than focusing on just one thing. The goal of the UP is to help patients learn better ways of responding to uncomfortable emotion. The UP consists of different “modules” or sections of treatment, and each module focuses on an important skill necessary for developing healthier habits related to emotional experiences.

Is the Unified Protocol right for me? Great question! The UP is intended for people dealing with emotional disorders, including anxiety and depression. Some of the problems the UP can help with include stress, worry, social anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, health anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. If you need help with problems like these, the UP might be right for you.

Like other treatments, the UP requires meeting with a therapist once per week for about 50 minutes. Also, like many kinds of therapy, the UP involves weekly homework assignments: practicing skills learned in treatment. Therefore, the UP works best if you’ve got the time for weekly sessions and homework.

Looking for COVID-19 specific information? We have you covered! Check out our UP handouts here


Unified Protocol Institute
Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders
900 Commonwealth Ave, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02215

Phone: 617-353-9610
Fax: 617-353-9609 Attn: UP Institute


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