top of page

Imagery-enhanced CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder: How to use imagery to optimise affective engagement

Prof. Peter McEvoy

Wednesday, 5 February 2025

Thursday, 6 February 2025


PLEASE NOTE:  This event is over multiple days and ALL days must be attended.

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most common mental disorders, and it can have severely detrimental impacts on an individual’s ability to reach their social and occupational potential. People with SAD have a core fear of evaluation from others, which is maintained by factors such as negative thoughts and images relating to social threat, avoidance and safety behaviours, self-focused attention, negative core beliefs about the self and others, and anticipatory and post-event processing (i.e., rumination).

CBT is highly effective for treating SAD, although a significant proportion of people do not recover. Demand for services can also exceed the supply of trained therapists, which can lead to treatment delays and increase costs for health services.

This webinar will outline how imagery-enhanced CBT for SAD can increase the impact of CBT by increasing affective engagement across all components of an evidence-based treatment. 

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


This workshop will focus on what clinicians need to know to effectively integrate imagery into their practice. The empirical evidence supporting imagery-enhanced CBT for SAD will be briefly reviewed before presenting the theoretical and clinical rationale for this approach.

The focus of the workshop will be on understanding the key maintaining factors directly targeted in the treatment protocol, and how to use this framework to guide treatment. The workshop will describe how imagery-enhanced strategies are used to target each of the maintaining factors over the course of therapy. Specifically, the workshop will cover:

• The rationale for focusing on thoughts and mental images
• How to assess and restructure both thoughts and images
• How to use mental imagery to increase affective engagement
• How to integrate imagery into a range of traditional evidence-based techniques designed to modify critical maintaining factors for SAD, including cognitive restructuring, behavioural experiments, dropping safety behaviours, reducing self-focused attention, and video-feedback to modify self-images
• How to integrate imagery-based techniques such as imagery rescripting and positive future imagery to restructure negative core beliefs

Handouts and worksheets that can help to guide therapists and clinicians through the key strategies will be provided. Recent face-to-face and online approaches to treating SAD will be reviewed.

Learning Objectives

• Understand key maintaining factors for social anxiety disorder
• Learn how to present the rationale for integrating imagery throughout therapy
• Learn how to assess for and modify mental imagery
• Learn how to integrate imagery-based techniques into standard CBT techniques
• Learn how to deliver imagery-based techniques to optimise affective engagement and change

Training Modalities

The workshop will include a combination of didactic content, video demonstrations, experiential components whereby participants can work through techniques themselves. Questions will be welcome throughout the workshop.

Key References

McEvoy, P. M., Saulsman, L. S., & Rapee, R. M. (2018). Imagery-enhanced CBT for social anxiety disorder. Guilford press.

McEvoy, P. M., Hyett, M. P., Bank, S. R., Erceg-Hurn, D. M., Johnson, A. R., Kyron, M. J., Saulsman, L. M., Moulds, M. L., Grisham, J. R., Holmes, E. A., Moscovitch, D. A., Lipp, O. V. Campbell, B. N. C., & Rapee, R. M. (2022). Imagery-enhanced versus verbally-based group cognitive behavior therapy for social anxiety disorder: a randomized clinical trial. Psychological Medicine, 52, 1277-1286.

McCarthy, A., Bank, S. R., Campbell, B. N. C., Summers, M., Burgess, M., & McEvoy, P. M. (2022). An investigation of cognitive and affective changes during group imagery rescripting for social anxiety disorder. Behavior Therapy, 53, 1050-1061.

McEvoy, P. M., Erceg-Hurn, D. M., Barbar, K., Dupasquier, J., & Moscovitch, D. A. (2018). Transportability of imagery-enhanced CBT for social anxiety disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 106, 86-94.

McEvoy, P. M., Erceg-Hurn, D. M., Saulsman, L. M., & Thibodeau, M. A. (2015). Imagery enhancements increase the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural group therapy for social anxiety disorder: a benchmarking study. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 65, 42-51.

About the presenter

Peter McEvoy is a Professor of Clinical Psychology within the School of Population Health and the enAble Institute at Curtin University, and he is a Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Centre for Clinical Interventions. Peter co-ordinates and teaches adult psychopathology and psychotherapy in the clinical masters program at Curtin University, and is also the Research Director at the Centre for Clinical Interventions. Peter has published over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles on the assessment and treatment of emotional disorders, and has specialised in the treatment of social anxiety disorder in particular. He has personally facilitated over 50 social anxiety groups in his clinical roles. Peter has been an Associate Editor of the Journal of Anxiety Disorders since 2015 and is on the editorial boards of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy and the Journal of Experimental Psychopathology. Peter was the recipient of the Distinguished Career Award from the Australian Association of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in 2021 in recognition of his exceptional contribution to CBT through research, teaching and clinical innovation.

Who should attend

This workshop is suitable for mental health practitioners who would like an understanding of the core components of evidence-based CBT for social anxiety disorder. The workshop will provide detailed descriptions of the factors that maintain social anxiety disorder that can inform case formulations and treatment plans. The workshop will also guide attendees through techniques designed to modify the maintaining factors. Therefore, early career clinicians will gain a more detailed understanding of techniques they may wish to introduce into their practice with the support of an experienced supervisor and the treatment manual. More experienced clinicians will learn how imagery-enhanced CBT could extend their practice to flexibly using both verbal and imagery-based techniques in their practice. While experience with CBT will be beneficial, it is not essential.

Details coming soon

bottom of page