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Research has shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) (Burns, 1999 is an effective treatment for several anxiety disorders, particularly panic disorder and social phobia.
It has two components. The cognitive component helps people change thinking patterns that keep them from overcoming their fears. A person with social phobia might be helped to overcome the belief that others are continually watching and harshly judging him or her.
The behavioral component of CBT seeks to change people's reactions to anxiety-provoking situations. A key element of this component is gradual exposure, in which people confront the things they fear in a structured, sensitive manner. This is done with support and guidance when the therapist feels the person is ready and only with the permission of the client and at the pace they wish.
Cognitive-behavior therapy for social phobia also includes anxiety management training, such as teaching people techniques such as deep breathing to control their levels of anxiety.
Cognitive behavioral group therapy (CBGT), founded upon research done by Richard Heimberg, is a similar psychotherapeutic approach. It is generally held for 12 weekly sessions which run for two or three hours. A range of 4-10 patients and two therapists are involved in sharing individual experiences, participating in simulated exposures, and completing homework assignments in the goal of replacing irrational and automatic negative thoughts in social situations. A sample homework assignment might include reading a book or initiating a conversation with an acquaintance. Even in CBGT, sufferers are treated individually. Each person is exposed to different levels of anxious situations, depending on the severity of their illness.
The evidence baseEdit
These two types of cognitive behavior therapy have proven effective in reducing anxiety among social phobics. A 1998 study by Heimberg and Michael Liebowitz and a 2004 experiment showed the efficacy of CBGT.
References & BibliographyEdit
- ↑ Jonathan R. T. Davidson, MD; Edna B. Foa, PhD; et al. Fluoxetine, Comprehensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Placebo in Generalized Social Phobia 1998. Retrieved March 1, 2006.
- ↑ Richard G. Heimberg, PhD; Michael R. Liebowitz, MD. et al. Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy vs Phenelzine Therapy for Social Phobia
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