Cognitive Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorders in Adults & Adolescents

Prof. David Clark

Tuesday, 6 September 2022


Social Anxiety Disorder is common and remarkably persistent in the absence of treatment. It typically starts in childhood or adolescence and frequently leads to occupational and education underachievement. Interpersonal relationships are impaired. Dissatisfaction with the way that life is progressing often triggers depressive episodes and there is a heightened risk of alcohol and drug abuse.

The event will be equivalent to 5.1/2hrs of CPD.


NICE recommends individual cognitive therapy based on the Clark & Wells model as the first line intervention for adults with social anxiety disorder. This workshop provides a comprehensive practical guide to the treatment with adults and possible adjustments for adolescents. It starts with an overview of the cognitive model, focussing on its treatment implications. Each of the steps in treatment is then described and illustrated with case material and videos of treatment sessions. The key procedures include: deriving with patients an individualized cognitive model; demonstrating the adverse effects of self-focussed attention and safety behaviours through experiential exercises; video feedback and other procedures to correct excessively negative self-imagery; training in externally focussed, non-evaluation attention; behavioural experiments to test negative beliefs; and ways of dealing with socially relevant traumatic memories (discrimination training & memory re-scripting). Guidance on the use of the most appropriate measures for identifying therapy targets and monitoring progress is also provided.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the workshop, participants should be able to:
• Identify the key psychological processes in maintaining social anxiety disorder
• Develop an individual version of the cognitive model with their clients
• Be able to identify appropriate therapeutic strategies and be familiar with how to apply them

Training Modalities

Case illustrations, video demonstration, Q&A, experiential components

Key References

1. Clark, D.M. (2001) A cognitive perspective on social phobia. In R. Crozier and L.E. Alden (eds) International Handbook of Social Anxiety Wiley; Chichester, UK
2. Layard, R. and Clark, D.M. (2014). Thrive: The Power of Psychological Therapy (Chapter 9).Allen Lane, (Penguin), London
3. Social Anxiety section of the free therapist resources website from the Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders & Trauma ( )

About the presenter

Professor David M Clark holds the Chair of Experimental Psychology at University of Oxford and is the National Clinical and Informatics Advisor for the IAPT programme. He is well known for his research on the understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders. With colleagues, he has developed new and highly effective forms of cognitive therapies for panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder. In all three instances, the treatments are recommended as first choice interventions in the relevant NICE Clinical Guidelines. Recognition of his work includes major awards from British Psychological Society, Canadian Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, BABCP, ABCT and the Swedish and Dutch CBT Associations.

Who should attend

Psychological therapists who will be treating patients with social anxiety disorder and already have a general background in cognitive behaviour therapy.