University of Tasmania

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Intensive cognitive behavioural therapy for social anxiety disorder : a pilot study

posted on 2023-05-27, 22:28 authored by Hunn, A
Individual cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), typically delivered in 12-16 weekly sessions, is the most effective treatment available for SAD. However, CBT for SAD often demonstrates lower effect sizes than seen in other anxiety disorders. Intensive treatments, consisting of multiple sessions per week, have been found to be effective for other anxiety disorders but have been studied in group format only for SAD. This study investigated the effect of intensive individual CBT (IICBT) delivered in three 60-minute sessions per week, over four consecutive weeks (total 12 sessions). Participants were eight outpatients (Mean age = 28 years, 87.5% female) with a primary diagnosis of SAD. Large within-group effect sizes were found at post-treatment on the Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN; d= 1.61; p = .02), the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS; d= 1.14; p = .03), and Social Phobia Scale (SPS; d= 0.99; p=.12). At three months post treatment, large effect sizes were reported on the SPIN (d= 1.94; p = .001), the SIAS (d= 2.18; p = .002), and SPS (d= 1.70; p=.002). Despite a small sample size, this study provides preliminary data to suggest that IICBT is effective for outpatients with a primary diagnosis of SAD, with results similar or superior to standard treatments. This method provides an additional treatment option, and may be attractive for individuals with severe SAD symptoms, those who need to travel to treatment, and clients or psychologists wishing to reduce the timeframe of treatment. Larger and more rigorous studies are needed to confirm these findings.


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