Sufferers of social anxiety disorder have difficulty coping in certain social situations which may limit their capability to cope in school, the workplace and in their social lives. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is frequently used to treat this disorder.

CBT is founded upon the principal that it is not factors outside ourselves which has an impact on how we behave but purely our own thoughts about the situation and the behaviour of others which determines how we react or feel. CBT uses the following techniques:

  • CBT encourages the teaching of clear communication, how we listen to others and about good relationships.
  • As part of CBT, cognitive restructuring is used in order to help sufferers understand how we distort our own thoughts (cognitive distortion) and how we wrongly assume other’s critical judgements of us. Therefore, restructuring aims to pinpoint the sufferer’s thoughts which induce anxiety and replace them.
  • Clients may also be helped with the aid of breathing exercises, muscle relaxation techniques and mindfulness meditation for example in order to manage symptoms of anxiety.
  • Sometimes therapists help their clients by gradually exposing them to situations which induce anxiety with their support.

Other Options:

At mild levels, social anxiety can also be treated in group sessions as a follow up therapy to improve a client’s communication skills. Alternatively, the emotional freedom technique (EFT) can be used which aims to relieve emotional disturbances in our body. Finally, medication such as beta-blockers or antidepressants may be taken by the client with the approval of a doctor or psychiatrist.