Do CBT Techniques Not Work on Social Anxiety Disorders Anymore?

In this article, there are opinions that cognitive behavioral therapy/ CBT Techniques are not effective in moderate and severe social anxiety disorder.

Clinical Psychologist Mustafa G. observed that cognitive-behavioral therapy technique is not always effective. Customers in these examples received Cognitive Behavioral Therapy but CBT Techniques had no positive impact.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is recommended by many specialists across the articles on the Internet for the treatment of “Social Phobia”. However, according to the information I have obtained from my clients, cognitive behavioral therapies are effective in mild social anxiety disorder cases and adolescents; From my experiences in most cases it doesn’t work.

cbt techniques

What are CBT Techniques?

CBT Techniques include cognitive therapy, behavior therapy methods including exposure treatment depending on the patient’s specific disorder. The first step is to identify the thought patterns, beliefs or other ideas that lead to unwanted behaviors via questionnaires which are filled out by both therapist and client. Then discussions are made to change those thought processes so they work more effectively for their life style through behavioral changes including graded tasks depending on symptom severity.

social anxiety disorder
social anxiety disorder

CBT Techniques can be used for both social disabilities or chronic health-related disorders. It has become one of the most common therapies in recent years because of its effectiveness in treating mental illnesses like anxiety, eating disorders, depression, OCD etc. If someone is suffering from any of these then they may want to speak with a therapist about how cognitive therapy techniques could help them strengthen their mood or pursue better coping mechanisms.

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Clients’ opinions

CASE EXAMPLE : A 36-year-old male with moderate social anxiety disorder a had received cognitive-behavioral therapy by a psychologist he had previously visited. When I asked him if he had any benefit from this therapy, he replied:

I’m afraid to enter the crowd, traveling in public transport. The expert I’ve been to before advised me in the first session:

When you get out of here, go home by taxi. Next day, take a bus. 3rd day on metrobus, 4th day on subway, 5th day Take the train. This way you will progressively overcome your fear.
This method, is called “systematic desensitization” in behavioral therapies, was recommended to our client.

Our client, however, told us that he already knew this advice, that he had applied it before and that he could not see any benefit. He said that he found the methods to be recommended, and that he had lost his faith in psychologists after this incident.

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In many cases with CBT Techniques, clients usually give the same answer: “Okay, we know them, but it doesn’t help.”

Cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT Techniques), as the name suggests, focus on the individual’s thoughts and behaviors and try to change them. However, they do not take into account why the person has such a thought or behavior and the underlying dynamics of it. Therefore they remain superficial. “What has the individual experienced and has started to use these negative automatic thoughts?”

CBT Techniques were more effective 20-30 years ago than today.

Because the possibilities of accessing information were not as advanced as today. Today, people can access information about the internet by means of internet. Due to the numerous personal development books published in recent years, individuals who have psychological problems judge CBT Techniques in many subjects.

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For example, I read the book “Feeling Good“. Many of my clients, reading a book describing CBT techniques, stated that they could not solve their problems.
That is why, in recent years, the therapy schools in the world have started to focus on emotions rather than thoughts and behaviors(cbt techniques). The origins of emotions are the parental experiences and the parental relationships that we call the first object relations. Psychodynamic (psychoanalytic) therapies working with emotions and past experiences ask the following question:
“Which past lives of the individual causes this problem?”

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Behavior of Schizoid Person

Individuals with schizoid personality disorder tend to retreat, stay away as they are concerned that they will be exploited by people with close relationships.

If there is damage in the personality structure of a client who comes with a symptom of social anxiety, a long-term, personality-oriented dynamic psychotherapies may result well.

I tell my clients, who came to me with a more neurotic-level “social phobia” complaint, “I don’t know what social anxiety disorder is.” I want them to describe it to me. When they start to describe, I often notice that the underlying emotion is “shame and embarrassment.”

There are memories with a slight feeling of emotion. In the following sessions, the person keeps the memories ,he had through for many years, in mind begin to emerge. Some of the clients experience intense emotions during the session: “I didn’t even think it would affect me so much.” They say.

Some clients say that they did not have a problem in their past, they had a very good childhood. However, THERE ARE THE SECRETS OF ALL PEOPLE. A slap in the elementary school teacher, the shame of the father’s poverty, the sexual experience of the child grow up in a conservative family, the misconception of anyone, the sexual activities in childhood, harassment, traumas and thousands of other examples of social phobia may be their childhood experiences.

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How Does it Affect People?

The level of affect depends on the individual. For example, slap from a teacher in elementary school may sound laughable moment for many people, but it can create a very intense shame, humiliation and trauma for some people.
When the clients tell these experiences, they experience a very intense emotion discharge. Later, when they share these secrets with someone else, they realize that there is nothing unconscious minds. Even the expression of a small astonishment of a novice therapist may cause trauma to the individual again.

Therefore, when the person sees that the deepest shame is shared with the therapist and not criticized, the first step of the change begins. Brain restructuring, new neuronal bonds begin to form. As a result of the emptying of the emotions, the potential of the amygdala is reduced. This situation allows the person who is facing a socially dangerous situation to remain calm.

A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT Techniques, are a form of treatment that focuses on the present rather than past events. It’s useful for treating social disorders which largely impact present-life circumstances. Techniques are plentiful and take many forms but include being aware of one’s feelings and thoughts “of one”s life situation.” These are often presented as triggering incorrect emotional behaviours called cognitive distortions.

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Also, there is no such thing as “precise” information about the therapy. Because psychotherapy is an archaeological excavation. In order to make a prediction about this, it is necessary to give the individual several sessions. From this point of view, the improvement may vary from a few sessions to one year.

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Mustafa GÖDEŞ

Clinical Psychologist

Last Updated on December 11, 2022 by Lucas Berg


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