April 22, 2021

Treating Social Anxiety in an Era of Social Distancing: Adapting Exposure Therapy for Youth During COVID-19

New paper published by Emily L. Bilek, Ph.D., ABPP, et al., in Cognitive and Behavioral Practice

COVID-19 has dramatically influenced many areas of life, and has led to significantly fewer opportunities for social interaction and engagement for people of all ages. The widespread reduction in social interaction may have an especially negative impact on youth with social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder is characterized by fears of negative evaluation or embarrassment in social situations and is often coupled with avoidance of social interactions. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a gold-standard treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder and typically focuses on helping people systematically face their fears. Facing fears, also known as “exposure," is an effective strategy for helping individuals overcome anxious avoidance.

Unfortunately, it is especially hard for youth to practice exposures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This paper provides clinicians with tailored strategies for completing exposure therapy with socially anxious youth. Read the paper here