The National Alliance on Mental Illness describes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as exploring relationships among a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. CBT works to help uncover unhealthy patterns of thought and how they may be causing a person grief. Someone with a phobia suffers from a persistent, abnormal, irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that causes them to avoid the feared stimulus at all costs. In turn, this can cause disruption to day-to-day activities. When it comes to social situations, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America explains that social anxiety disorder occurs in about 15 million Americans. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to help social phobia.
As stated in a 2013 Stanford News article titled, “Stanford research helps people with social phobia face their fears” researchers from Stanford University’s Department of Psychology found the cognitive behavioral therapy does significantly reduce symptoms of social anxiety disorder. In addition, they found that CBT increased brain activity in areas that were associated with emotion regulation. The researchers found that “cognitive reappraisal or restructuring” allows a person to revisit their emotional response to a situation and make the decision to change it. Here are a few examples of this as provided by writer Brooke Donald in the article:
Example 1: Instead of thinking “nobody likes me” changing it to “that’s not always true” or “some people like me” or even “this is just a thought, not a fact.”
Example 2: A person who fails a series of tests may initially have negative thoughts, but may then decide to reframe his or her response – that they can challenge and better themselves.
CBT allows individuals to reframe negative self-beliefs into more positive, productive ones. For those with social phobia, reframing their fear is a way of taking control of their emotions and changing their response to the situation. The study shows that therapy can help people reduce their symptoms of social phobia – working with a CBT therapist means they can change their thought patterns and shift their perspective on the things they fear most.
The National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists explains that CBT is based on stoic philosophy – meaning that individuals who use this therapy learn to, at worst, be calm when confronted with undesirable situations. Stoic philosophy aims to teach us that instead of having a problem and a negative reaction – thus creating more stress and anxiety – we can learn to accept a situation, placing us in a better position to manage ourselves in a productive and healthy manner.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a staple of treatment and recovery from substance use disorders. When you seek treatment for social phobias or any other kind of anxiety, you need the best in clinical care and rehabilitation for mind, body, and spirit. New Vista Behavioral Health offers a family of treatment providers bringing you the best in care and recovery. Held to higher standards, our programs result in better outcomes. Call us today for information: 888-316-3665