Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely-used treatment option for social anxiety disorder. This approach emphasizes understanding and altering the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to your anxiety.

Cognitive behavioral therapy typically utilizes Beck’s tri-part model of emotion to understand how thoughts and emotions are interconnected. This can help you recognize distorted thoughts that cause distress, then reframe them into more adaptive beliefs that can bring more comfort.

Cognitive therapy consists of various techniques, such as psychoeducation about the tri-part model of emotion, dissecting distorted thoughts and relearning adaptive behavior patterns. These skills are acquired through exercises performed both in-session and at home.

Cognitive behavioral therapy may include exposure exercise as part of their process to help you comprehend how fears develop. This involves having you recreate the feared situation and determine whether it actually occurred or not.

This is a gradual process that may take several sessions. With practice, you may be able to reenact situations you once believed impossible, like giving a public speech or attending a job interview. The aim is to gradually expose you to your feared event so that fear or anxiety no longer gripes when it occurs.

Exposure exercises are an integral part of therapy for social anxiety disorder. They aim to help you discover that your feared situation does not unfold as badly as you have feared and that it is not nearly as devastating as you had imagined. The initial stage involves recording yourself having a conversation and listening back afterwards.

The second stage of these exposures requires you to reenact your fear. For instance, you might need to sing a song in front of an audience or purposefully embarrass yourself in an embarrassing way.

Online cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety disorder can help you explore your thoughts, beliefs and emotions that are fueling your anxiety. While these may be difficult to recognize, a qualified therapist will ensure you can identify them and reframe them into more helpful ideas.

Your therapist may offer strategies to modify your avoidance behaviors. This could include saying hello to classmates, taking risks with strangers, and trying to resolve an issue in class.

You could try using this technique in situations where you typically feel anxious, such as talking on the phone with someone or attending a party. During these conversations, it may be tempting to discuss problems or worries or even start brainstorming solutions to them.

Another strategy a therapist who utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy can teach you is attention training. Focusing on what you think or say may distract from paying attention to other people’s reactions and perceptions of your situation, causing you to miss out on true reactions from others and reinforce negative self-perceptions.

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