Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been demonstrated in hundreds of outcome studies to be the most effective treatment for social anxiety disorder, the 3rd or 4th most prevalent mental health disorder in the United States. However, there are several different CBT for social anxiety protocols, each with different emphases, although all sharing much in common.

This training session provides an comprehensive overview of five evidence-based cognitive-behavioral strategies for the treatment of social anxiety disorder: behavioral experiments/exposure; cognitive restructuring; external mindfulness plus thought defusion; assertion training; and core belief change work. Viewers will learn how to apply, combine, and adapt these strategies to the needs of socially anxious individuals.

Different means of applying these CBT strategies are demonstrated during this training session through 10 clinical role plays. There is also discussion on how to design and implement exposures as behavioral experiments to test and modify automatic thoughts, underlying assumptions and core beliefs for the purpose of decreasing social anxiety and shame, and building self-confidence. Many client worksheets, instructional handouts and questionnaires are provided for use and adaptation in your own practices.

Viewers will become familiarized with the major debates among the three waves of cognitive-behavioral therapies as to the most effective strategies for treating social anxiety disorder, and how to integrate the best of each of these variant approaches depending on the needs of particular clients.

Learning Objectives:

  • describe what social anxiety disorder is, its impact on those who suffer from it, and what treatments have been demonstrated to be most effective
  • develop strategies to help clients understand the impact of self-focus and self-evaluation when experiencing social anxiety, and how to train clients in the use of external mindfulness when socially anxious
  • develop strategies to train clients in differing means of doing cognitive restructuring before and after social anxiety triggers
  • develop strategies to help clients design, execute and learn from behavioral experiments / exposures to test socially anxious thoughts and underlying core beliefs, and to increase client motivation to carry out such experiments
  • develop strategies to train clients in the use of assertion to increase self-confidence in handling fears come true
  • develop strategies to help clients identify and change underlying core beliefs that exacerbate their social anxiety

NOTE: There is a shorter, less in-depth version of this training session that was presented four years earlier, available here.



Larry Cohen, LICSW, A-CBT, is cofounder and Cochair of the National Social Anxiety Center (NSAC). He has directed the Social Anxiety Help clinic (NSAC District of Columbia) in Washington, DC since 1990 where he has provided cognitive-behavioral therapy for more than 1,000 persons with social anxiety, and has conducted some 100 20-week social anxiety CBT groups. Larry is certified as a Diplomate in CBT by the Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies, which has also conferred on him the status of Fellow for having “made sustained outstanding contributions to the field of cognitive therapy”.


Chamin Ajjan, LCSW, A-CBT, CST, is the founder and Clinical Director of Chamin Ajjan Psychotherapy (NSAC Brooklyn). She serves as NSAC’s Marketing Coordinator, and as a member of NSAC’s Board.


(This training session was a live, online webinar on April 28, 2023, sponsored by the Cognitive Behavior Institute’s Center for Education. CBI is the Pittsburgh regional clinic of NSAC, and they offer many online clinical education webinars about evidence-based psychotherapies at low cost and available to clinicians located anywhere.)



Our workshops and webinars are offered as an educational resource for
mental health professionals who are already familiar with cognitive and behavioral therapies.
These resources alone do not suffice as adequate training
to conduct cognitive and behavioral therapies
for those with social anxiety and related problems.