Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety Help

Larry Cohen, LICSW

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety

It’s important to remember that the anxiety response, while biologically based, is triggered by the perception of danger. Even a biologically oversensitive anxiety mechanism generally needs the perception of danger to go off. And a biologically normal anxiety mechanism will go off too sensitively if we have learned to misperceive danger.

Therefore, the most effective way of overcoming social anxiety for most people is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT, also called cognitive behavior therapy or cognitive therapy). This is a systematic approach that can help you:

  • identify, challenge and change your distorted hot thoughts that help make you anxious;
  • understand and change your patterns of avoidance and other safety behaviors that reinforce these hot thoughts;
  • learn to be mindfully focused on the conversation and activity in the moment, and to put your thoughts and feelings into the background;
  • identify, challenge and change your underlying core beliefs (basic attitudes about yourself and others) that make you more likely to get anxious in the first place.

Click here for more information on CBT for social anxiety.

The Purpose of Anxiety

Perception is the Starting Point

Fight, Flight or Freeze

When Dangers are Social

Social Anxiety Does Not Equal Introversion

Social Anxiety Triggers

Biology, Social Anxiety and Medication

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety


If you have any questions or comments, please email Larry Cohen, LICSW, with offices in Washington, DC.

Social Anxiety Help is a founding regional clinic of the National Social Anxiety Center (NSAC):