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Sofia 3 Hall - Marinela

Cognitive Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder in Adults and Adolescents - Part I

Social anxiety disorder is common and remarkably persistent in the absence of treatment. It frequently leads to occupational and educational underachievement. Interpersonal relationships are impaired. Dissatisfaction with the way that life is progressing often triggers depressive episodes.

Clark and Wells (1995) proposed a cognitive model that aims to explain why social anxiety disorder is so persistent. A distinctive form of cognitive therapy that targets the maintenance processes classified in the model was developed. Randomised controlled trials in the UK, Germany and Sweden have demonstrated that the new treatment is highly effective. Comparisons with other active treatments have established that cognitive therapy is superior to: two forms of group CBT, exposure therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, SSRIs, medication-focussed treatment as usual, and placebo medication. Such a comprehensive demonstration of differential effectiveness is extremely rare in psychotherapy.

This workshop presents the Clark & Wells model and illustrates the key treatment procedures that have been developed from the model. These include: the self-focused attention and safety behaviours experiential exercise, video-feedback, externally-focused attention training, behavioural experiments, and procedures (discrimination training and memory re-scripting) for addressing early experiences that influence patients’ current behaviour in social situations. The treatment procedures are illustrated with case material and videos clips from therapy sessions. Guidance on the use of the most appropriate measures for identifying therapy targets and monitoring progress is also provided. Finally, the workshop explains why some procedures that are common in other CBT programs (e.g. thought-records, positive self-talk in a phobic situation, exposure hierarchies) are NOT used in Clark & Wells’ cognitive therapy program. As social anxiety disorder usually starts in adolescence, the workshop covers how to use the treatment in adolescents as well as adults.

You will learn

  • To identifying key processes in maintaining social anxiety disorder
  • The main procedures in cognitive therapy for social anxiety disorder

How to track change in the maintenance processes during therapy