by Preda A

There are different options for treating social anxiety disorder (SAD). Work with your team to find what works best for you. Counseling can be alone or in a group. The different types are:

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps you learn your feelings and thought patterns. Once they are known, you can work on your coping skills. You will learn how to change your focus to what you can do rather than what you cannot.

CBT can focus on:

  • Exposing you to fears so you can learn to work through them
  • Easing anxiety by learning how to relax
  • Changing how you react to unrealistic thoughts

Exposure Therapy

This helps you face your fears so the reaction to them is less intense. You are slowly exposed to the sources of stress without any danger. The exposure time is increased over time until you adjust.

The next part works on confidence skills. This will teach you how to handle rejection, criticism, or other fears that cause stress. Lastly, you will learn how to react to these fears in a positive way.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

This type of therapy helps you focus on the feelings you have the most problems with. Finding the cause of these feelings may help you understand your reactions in certain situations so you can cope with them.

Relaxation Techniques

These tools can be used to help you ease stress on your own. This may include meditation, yoga, or deep breathing. For example, if your breathing increases under stress you can learn how to slow it down. It can stop symptoms from getting worse.

Support Groups

Support groups can be very helpful. You will meet with other people who live with the same problems. During sessions, others will talk about how they work through them. Together, you may help one another cope with stressful situations. Keep in mind that support groups do not take the place of counseling.


Social anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. . Updated September 21, 2018. Accessed February 27, 2019.

Social anxiety disorder: More than just shyness. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: Accessed February 27, 2019.

Social phobia. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated July 2018. Accessed February 27, 2019.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
  • Review Date: 12/2018
  • Update Date: 02/27/2019