Background: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is generally considered to be the most effective psychological treatment for social anxiety disorder (SAD). Nevertheless, many patients with SAD are still symptomatic after treatment. The present pilot study aimed to examine integrating CBT, with a focus on cognitive and behavioral techniques, and psychodrama, which focuses more on experiential techniques into a combined treatment (CBPT) for social anxious patients in a group format. This new intervention for SAD is described session-by-session.
Method: Five adult female patients diagnosed with social anxiety disorder participated in a twelve-session CBPT in a group format. Pretest and posttest scores of social anxiety, avoidance, spontaneity, cost and probability estimates of negative social events, depression, and quality of life were compared, as were weekly assessments of fear of negative evaluation.
Results: Results demonstrated a significant reduction of the fear of negative evaluation and social anxiety symptoms. It is noteworthy that also the scores of the probability and cost estimates decreased. However, there were no significant differences between pre and post measures in any of other measures.
Conclusion: The current study suggests that group CBPT might be an effective treatment for SAD. However, our sample size was small and this was an uncontrolled study. Therefore, it is necessary to test this intervention in a randomized controlled trial with follow-up assessments.