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Harnessing excellence in CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder

Jennifer Wild

29 Jun 2023


Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is a chronic and disabling anxiety disorder. People with SAD fear they will do or say something that will be embarrassing or humiliating and that others will notice and think badly of them.  As a result they avoid a range of social and performance situations, such as job interviews, speaking up in meetings or lectures, eating in public, attending parties, dating or talking to people in authority.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, this extended to avoidance of online meetings, and for some, reaching out to friends.  Unsurprisingly, SAD is associated with under-achievement and high rates of depression. Whilst social anxiety begins in adolescence, treatment is typically sought in one’s mid-thirties, resulting in years of distress.  Social anxiety is the strongest predictor of school dropout and for adults, alcohol and drug problems.  Competently identifying and treating SAD with cognitive therapy can help individuals engage in a life they would like to be living and lead to significant improvement in the beliefs they hold of themselves.

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


This workshop focuses on why, how and when to treat social anxiety disorder. We will cover assessment, formulation and the key cognitive therapy components of Cognitive Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder based on the Clark & Wells (1995) model, the leading treatment for SAD recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the session, attendees will be able to:
1. Assess SAD and make differential diagnoses
2. Conduct the core components of CT-SAD: formulation, self-focused attention and safety behaviours experiment, video and still feedback, attention training, behavioural experiments, surveys and memory work
3. Conduct efficient remote sessions for CT-SAD
4. Weave work on negative self-beliefs with behavioural experiments to generate significant change
5. Determine when, how and why to update socially traumatic memories linked to negative images

Training Modalities

The presenter will use a range of teaching methods: slides, videos and experiential exercises.

Key References

Clark, D. M., & Wells, A. (1995). A cognitive model of social phobia. In Heimberg, G., Liebowitz, M. R., Hope, D. & Scheier, F. (eds), Social Phobia: Diagnosis, Assessment, and Treatment (pp. 69–93). New York, USA: Guilford Press.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2013). Social Anxiety Disorder: Recognition, Assessment and Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder Clinical Guideline 159. Available at: Google Scholar

Warnock-Parkes, E. L., Wild, J., Stott, R., Grey, N., Ehlers, A., & Clark, D. M. (2017). Seeing is believing using video feedback in cognitive therapy for social anxiety disorder. Cognitive and Behavioural Practice, 24, 245–255 

Warnock-Parkes, E., Wild, J., Thew, G., Kerr, A., Grey, N., Stott, R., Ehlers, A. & Clark, D. M. (2020) Treating social anxiety disorder remotely with cognitive therapy. the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 13, E30.

Warnock-Parkes, E., Wild, J., Thew, G., Kerr, A., Grey, N., & Clark, D. (2022). ‘I’m unlikeable, boring, weird, foolish, inferior, inadequate’: How to address the persistent negative self-evaluations that are central to social anxiety disorder with cognitive therapy. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 15, E56. doi:10.1017/S1754470X22000496

Wild, J., & Clark, D. M. (2011). Imagery rescripting of early traumatic memories in social phobia. Cognitive Behavioural Practice, 18, 433–443.

About the presenter

Jennifer Wild is Professor of Military Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. She holds affiliate status at the University of Oxford where she developed evidence-based interventions to prevent PTSD and depression in emergency workers. Her area of expertise is in developing and evaluating evidence-based interventions for anxiety and stress disorders, and in developing preventative interventions for people at risk of trauma, such as emergency responders and military members. Prof Wild developed an innovative CBT technique for updating distressing images linked to memories tied to the onset of social anxiety. This technique is now part of Cognitive Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder, recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as a first-line treatment for the disorder. Dr Wild has over 70 publications, including book chapters, and a recently published popular science book on resilience: Be Extraordinary: 7 Key Skills to Transform Your Life from Ordinary to Extraordinary. Her latest book, Shortcuts: Psychology, covers the 50 biggest ideas in psychology. Dr Wild regularly appears in the media giving advice rooted in science on how to overcome anxiety.

Who should attend

CBT practitioners who treat people with SAD including IAPT High Intensity Therapists.

Low Intensity clinical contact hours survey - BABCP Low Intensity Special Interest Group

Please click below if you are interested in contributing to the survey.


The BACP Low Intensity SIG are interested in the impact of clinical contact hours on Low Intensity/Wellbeing Practitioner wellbeing. This questionnaire contains six multi-choice questions and a free text box for you to share your experiences. The answers to these questions will help the BABCP SIG plan how to meet CPD topics and other developments within the SIG.  The SIG hope to produce a write up of the answers to this questionnaire to be shared with SIG members and to be used in training.

View Survey

This FREE conference is for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners working in Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression services and is brought to you by Bespoke Mental Health in collaboration with the NHS England Talking Therapies National PWP Leads Network

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