Trauma Treatment Program

The Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies ("PATSS") is a specialized program within Weill Cornell Medical College's Department of Psychiatry. Led by JoAnn Difede, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of anxiety disorders, PATSS offers a state of the art approach to patient care that brings innovation to tried-and-true therapeutic techniques. Our expertise lies in the treatment of trauma-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety-related disorders, and mood-related disorders.


Clinical Research: PATSS is conducting a number of clinical research studies involving posttraumatic stress disorder in the general population and for occupations at risk, such as police, firefighters, and other disaster workers. The treatment offered through each of these studies is free. An assessment may also be provided to determine eligibility for these studies.

Military Services: Since 2009, PATSS has undertaken a wide range of outreach and education efforts as one of the key components of our Welcome Back Veterans Initiative. Thanks to funding provided by the McCormick Foundation and the Weill Cornell’s Clinical and Translational Science, our various educational initiatives reached more than 1,400 veterans and mental health professionals, and our clinicians provided training to nearly 350 mental health and community providers.

In 2015, in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian, Columbia University Medical Center, and Weill Cornell Medicine, we initiated the Military Family Wellness Center (MFWC). The MFWC connects US military service members of any duty status and service era and their families with high quality evidence-based mental health services. Every new patient receives a thorough intake assessment, which allows us to get a deeper understanding of the challenges you are facing. We then devise a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Burn Center: For many years, the program has provided psychological consultation to the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and has implemented a number of research-based clinical interventions designed specifically for individuals suffering from burn injuries, terrorist attacks, motor vehicle accidents, interpersonal violence, and life-threatening illnesses. Through the Burn Center, we developed relationships with both the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and disaster rescue and recovery workers.

Virtual Reality:  PATSS is pioneering the use of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy in the treatment of a number of anxiety and stress-related disorders, including Combat-related PTSD. In the past, we have provided through our clinical research studies Virtual Reality Exposure (VRE) Therapy. Study findings show that VRE therapy can be an effective and cost-efficient treatment method for PTSD.

Currently, we are conducting a  study to examine the use of VR therapy virtual reality can be used as a pain management technique and help reduce the use of pain medication (narcotics) during medical procedures among burn victims.

Wellness Program: In the past, PATSS offers a series of Psychological Health and Wellness Workshops to active duty and veteran service members.

Currently, we are collaborating with the Sierra Club in to help develop a wellness program intended to reduce mental health stigma and increase the likelihood of mental healthcare participation in veterans who are single mothers.

 Stay tuned for future programming!

Education: Our faculty have trained and mentored numerous externs, pre-doctoral interns, and post-doctoral fellows, and have found mentorship to be one of the most rewarding aspects of their career.  Trainees benefit from the guidance of personnel in PTSD research, cognitive science, industry, and software development and will be uniquely prepared to lead future interdisciplinary research and implement evidence-based PTSD treatment.

We offer volunteer position throughout the academic year and summer to high school and undergraduate level students. Volunteer assist with administrative tasks, data management, and literature reviews. Additional opportunities are available such as, career development and mentoring for students interested in entering the field of clinical psychology and psychiatry.

Among PATSS's major educational initiatives is our training of Department of Defense (DoD) clinicians to conduct PTSD treatment using virtual reality exposure therapy with active duty military personnel returning from OIF/OEF. We have multiple collaborative relationships with U.S. Military Hospitals and Army and Air Force clinicians across the United States. Our role in these collaborations has been to develop novel treatments for PTSD, train clinicians conducting the treatment with active duty military personnel returning from OIF/OEF, and provide ongoing consultation.

If you are interested in any of our services, please give us a call at 212-821-0783.


Manhattan Offices

425 East 61st Street
New York, NY 10065

435 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021

Westchester Office

21 Bloomingdale Road
White Plains, NY 10605