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Innovations in the Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a very common and disabling mental disorder. Cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) is first-line treatment and has a strong empirical basis. However, not all patients benefit from CBT. About one third of the treated patients do not respond to a sufficient degree (Rodebaugh, Holaway, & Heimberg, 2004). Additionally, access to CBT is often limited. Only a small minority of patients with SAD receives adequate, evidence-based treatment (e.g. Issakidis & Andrews, 2002). Hence, there is a pressing need to optimize existing treatment approaches and to lower treatment barriers. The planned symposium will present different approaches on how to make CBT more efficient and more available for patients with SAD. Treatments that are facilitated via the Internet have the potential to reach patients who are otherwise unlikely to receive adequate treatment (e.g. patients in remote areas, patients fearing stigmatization, patients too shy to initiate face-to-face contact). At the same time, technology-based interventions also help to bring important therapeutic techniques into practice. The first two talks will therefore focus on innovations in the field of Internet-based CBT for SAD and will present strategies to facilitate exposure exercises. Johanna Boettcher will present two studies on a newly developed app for SAD. In a gamified approach, the app guides and motivates patients to conduct exposure exercises in their natural environment. The second presentation will introduce virtual reality (VR) exposure therapy for social fears. Per Carlbring will present data on a RCT, evaluating the impact of a three-hour VR exposure session on public speaking anxiety.  The third talk will present a different angle on how to improve treatment outcomes. Emma Warnock- Parks will outline how video-feedback can be optimized in the treatment of socially anxious patients  in order to increase its impact on patients’ symptomatology. She will present data on the beneficial effect of video feedback on patients’ distorted self-images and will show ways how to make this technique even more powerful. Optimizing intervention techniques and contexts is one way to improve treatment of SAD. It is also important to consider external factors that may influence treatment adherence or outcome. In the last talk, Ulrike Willutzki will present data on a long-time neglected topic in SAD. She will demonstrate how the well-meant support of patients’ spouses can contribute to the maintenance of the disorder. She will discuss how partners can be educated and become involved in treatment helping the patient to overcome anxiety in difficult social situations.  The planned symposium will offer four different strategies that can be implemented to improve cognitive-behavioural treatment techniques and to further the access to CBT. The symposium therefore contributes to a better understanding on how CBT for SAD can become more efficient in alleviating patients’ suffering.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
innovation, Social Anxiety Disorder, SAD, CBT
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147342OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-147342DiVA: diva2:1143895
Conference
47th Congress of the European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 13 - 16 September 2017
Available from: 2017-09-22 Created: 2017-09-22 Last updated: 2017-09-22

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