Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Social Phobia in Adolescents
Shyness and social anxiety are common emotions experienced by children and teenagers. When intense, they often result in the avoidance of social situations and can significantly impair a child's functioning and emotional development. Left untreated in its clinical state, Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is a serious condition often lasting into adulthood. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is highly effective in treating adults with SAD and has been successfully adapted for the treatment of youth. This therapist guide presents a group treatment program for adolescents aged 13 to 18 that uses well-tested CBT techniques. In this program, groups of 5 to 7 youths with excessive shyness or social anxiety learn how to cope in social situations. Cognitive restructuring exercises help participants understand their anxiety and reexamine thinking that may contribute to their distress. Other exercises teach social and problem solving skills, and also increase self-esteem and assertiveness. Behavioral exposure exercises give participants the opportunity to practice these skills by systematically confronting them in feared or avoided social situations.
This guide offers practical instruction on how to apply this program, as well as information on the theory and research on which it is based. It provides session outlines for adolescent group therapy, including sample dialogues, role-playing scenarios, and homework assignments. It also addresses individual therapy and provides tips for conducting the treatment with children aged 8 to 12.