September 28, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

The National Social Anxiety Center (NSAC) provides information about relevant and current research in service of disseminating and promoting evidence-based treatment. This month’s summary focuses on an internet-delivered CBT (ICBT) program for the treatment of social anxiety.

Research has previously demonstrated effectiveness of ICBT for social anxiety. This study adds to the current body of knowledge with a focus on the use, adherence and effectiveness of ICBT outside of a controlled setting. The program included psychoeducation as well as both cognitive and behavioral CBT interventions. Participants (n=3,384) also had contact with coaches, who were not mental health professionals, for guidance during the program. Although a minority of participants had full adherence to the program, those who participated in the program had positive treatment outcomes. Results showed medium effect sizes in the reduction of social anxiety symptoms following a cognitive restructuring module and large effect sizes following an exposure module.

The authors summarize that ICBT is an effective treatment for individuals with social anxiety who may be unable or unwilling to seek face-to-face treatment. They also emphasize the importance of some type of human contact (coaches) and behavioral exposures for effective online treatment of social anxiety.

We have previously discussed the benefits of CBT for social anxiety. What are the specific ways you use to determine how components of CBT impact your clients’ outcomes?

Dryman, M. T., McTeague, L. M., Olino, T. M., & Heimberg, R. G. (2017). Evaluation of an Open-Access CBT-Based Internet Program for Social Anxiety: Patterns of Use, Retention, and Outcomes. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Link to abstract.

Michelle Dexter, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist

Representative of NSAC Los Angeles (Behavioral Associates LA)