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Social Phobia Treatment Psychological Techniques

A number of studies demonstrated the value of cognitive behavioral treatment packages for reducing social phobia, compared with wait list and with a credible placebo treatment. In addition, follow-up assessment indicated that in most studies continued improvement is seen following the end of treatment. In terms of specific techniques, in vivo exposure is generally considered an essential component of successful treatment.
Role-playing within a group treatment has also been found useful, perhaps simply as a more structured form of exposure. As mentioned earlier, there is some question whether social phobics actually lack social skills or whether their anxiety simply interferes with performance. Thus, the specific inclusion of social skills training is questioned, and more research will be required to ascertain when it is necessary and how it works. Nevertheless, some treatment packages have focused on this technique as a major component of treatment. Cognitive restructuring (aimed especially at the fear of negative evaluation) is considered essential by some researchers, though some studies have questioned its unique contribution.
Finally, a large, recent multicenter trial compared group cognitive behavioral therapy with phenelzine in treating social phobia. Phenelzine resulted in a more rapid effect. However, at the end of treatment, both active treatments resulted in similar effects that were considerably greater than that of placebo. However, at follow-up, the cognitive behavior therapy condition maintained greater gains than phenelzine.

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