Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is commonly treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of therapy that was pioneered in the 1960s for the treatment of depression. It becomes more popular in the 1980s and 1990s and is now known to be an evidence-based treatment for many conditions, including anxiety disorders. Research has shown that CBT is a form of therapy that reliably helps in overcoming clinical anxiety disorders.

CBT is not one set method but rather a combination of various techniques that depend on the disorder being treated. For example, CBT for treating depression will be different from CBT for treating SAD or other anxiety disorders.

Because there are so many different techniques, it is important that your therapist is experienced in using CBT for treating social anxiety disorder, and knows which particular techniques are most effective for this disorder.

One of the central goals of CBT is to identify irrational beliefs and thought patterns and replace them with more realistic views. Our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all linked, so by identifying unhelpful thoughts we can then change the way we feel and behave as well.

As part of the therapy process, you will work on a number of problem areas including:


  • Misperceptions you may have about your abilities and self-worth
  • Guilt, embarrassment, or anger over past situations
  • How to be more assertive
  • Tackling perfectionism and being more realistic
  • Dealing with procrastination related to social anxiety
  • Misperceptions of others judging you2


Your CBT therapy sessions may feel somewhat like a student-teacher relationship. The therapist will take the role of a teacher, outlining concepts and helping you on a path of self-discovery and change. You will also be assigned homework assignments that are key to making progress.

Keys for Success

There are several keys to success when it comes to CBT for social anxiety disorder.

The likelihood that CBT will help you depends largely on your expectations about success, your willingness to complete homework assignments, and your ability to confront uncomfortable thoughts.

People who are willing to work hard and believe that CBT will help them are more likely to improve. Although this form of therapy is intensive and requires active participation by the person with SAD, the improvement shown tends to be long-lasting and well worth the effort invested.


Ravi Tomar (name changed)  is a twenty-year-old who told me that he feels depressed and is experiencing a major quantity of stress regarding his studies, noting that he’ll “probably fail out.” He spends abundant of his day in his bedroom taking part in video games and has a hard time identifying what, if anything, is enjoyable in a typical day. He seldom attends his classes and has avoided reaching out to his professors and peers to undertake to salvage his grades this semester.

He has forever been a shy p[erson and has had a really tiny and cohesive cluster of friends from elementary through high school. Notably, his level of stress considerably amplified once he began college. You learn that once meeting new individuals, most of the time he's busy worrying regarding what they're going to think about him – he assumes they're going to realize him “dumb,” “boring,” or a “loser.” Once he loses his concentration, he stutters, is at a loss for words, and starts to sweat, which solely serves to create him feel a lot of uneasy. when the interaction, he replays the speech over and once more, that specializes in the “stupid” things he aforementioned.

Similarly, he encompasses a long-standing history of being uncomfortable with CLASSESauthoritative figures and has had a tough time raising his hand in school and approaching lecturers. Since beginning school, he has been analytic a lot, turning down invites from his friend to travel eat or hang around, ignoring his mobile phone once it rings, and routinely skipping his class. His issues regarding however others read him are what drive him to have interaction in these rejection behaviors. when conducting your assessment, you offer the patient feedback that you just believe he has social folie, which ought to be the first treatment target. You make a case for that you just see his worry of negative analysis, and his thoughts and behaviors close social things, as driving his increasing sense of despair, isolation, and worthlessness.