Psychological treatments for social phobia

Can J Psychiatry. 2005 May;50(6):308-16. doi: 10.1177/070674370505000603.


Objective: To review the empirical status of psychological treatments for social phobia (SP), commenting both on cognitive-behavioural interventions and on more recent iterations of those approaches. We also review the effective components of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT).

Method: We qualitatively reviewed the empirical literature on the psychological treatment of SP. We include empirical studies, metaanalyses, and recent conference presentations in this review.

Results: Cognitive and behavioural interventions for SP appear to be more effective than wait-list controls and supportive therapy. Comparisons of CBT and pharmacologic treatment have produced inconsistent results. Several new treatments for SP demonstrate promising results.

Conclusion: Evidence suggests that various psychosocial treatments for SP are better than wait-list controls and credible placebo interventions. Ongoing projects investigate the relative efficacy of combining medication and psychosocial treatments over monotherapies; this line of research is important to continue. Further research should also focus on which components of CBT are most effective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology*
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Relaxation
  • Socialization
  • Teaching


  • Benzodiazepines