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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety

an image of someone getting cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy used to treat substance abuse and mental health disorders including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol and drug use disorders
  • Marital problems
  • Eating disorders
  • Severe mental illness 

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective and best-studied forms of psychotherapy for mental health and addiction treatment. CBT is the combination of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy that focuses on the connection between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors

Cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety disorder is one of the most common and effective forms of treatment.

CBT and Social Anxiety

CBT is a leading treatment method for many anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder (SAD). In a study conducted by NCBI, CBT was proven to be 95% effective in treating social anxiety. Social anxiety disorder is a chronic and disabling anxiety condition in which everyday interactions cause major anxiety and self-consciousness. This anxiety leads to avoidance and isolation from others, disrupting your relationships, work, school, and other activities in life.

There are many CBT strategies for social anxiety. The main strategy involves identifying irrational beliefs and thought patterns, and replacing them with more realistic ones to help you change the way you feel and behave. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques for Social Anxiety

There are many cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for social anxiety, including:

  • Exposure
  • Cognitive Restructuring
  • Relaxation Training
  • Social Skills Training

The exposure technique tackles fear reduction by forcing the patient to face situations they fear. In exposure therapy, the patient and the therapist will work together to create a ranked list of anxiety-inducing situations. The patient starts with the least feared situation and works their way up to the top of the list. This is done by imagination, role-playing, or actually confronting the situation outside of the therapy session. The patient experiences these situations consistently until their anxiety and fear subsides.

One of the most effective cbt techniques for social anxiety is cognitive restructuring. Cognitive restructuring involves examining thoughts and core beliefs about feared situations. The patient is taught to

  1. Identify negative thoughts they associate with anxiety-inducing situations
  2. Evaluate the accuracy of these thoughts
  3. Discover rational alternative thoughts
  4. Apply these new positive thoughts to social situations

Relaxation training helps the patient learn to relax certain muscles in their body that tense up during anxiety-provoking situations. This consists of different relaxation exercises including tension release and body scanning.

Social Skills training involves improving behavioral techniques such as eye contact and conversational skills to help the patient in future social interactions. People who suffer from social anxiety disorder tend to hyper fixate on their body language in everyday conversations, causing them to form negative thoughts and isolate themselves from further social interactions.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treatment for Social Anxiety

Now that we have a better understanding of CBT for social anxiety, the next step is finding treatment. When SAD is left untreated, it can result in severe social impairment and withdrawal.  

There are many CBT treatment methods for social anxiety, including:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy

Cognitive behavioral group therapy for social anxiety is an effective treatment method. Group therapy for CBT is beneficial in many ways, it forces you to interact with others in a social setting, helping you conquer your social phobia while giving you a strong support system of like-minded individuals. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety at Drug Rehab Centers

Finding treatment for CBT for social anxiety may seem intimidating, but there are a vast amount of treatment centers in Southern California that specialize in this form of psychotherapy.  We can help you or a loved one overcome their fear of social interactions by connecting you to friendly, licensed therapists nearby. Call our team today at 866.559.4256 to learn more about cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety and get the help you deserve.

Joe Gilmore
Author: Joe Gilmore

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