Social Anxiety Program

Social anxiety program banner

CBT has been shown to be extremely effective for social anxiety. Dr. McGinn and the team at CBC have developed comprehensive CBT treatment plans for social anxiety that combine evidence-based CBT treatments developed by Richard Heimberg, Samuel Turner, Deborah Beidel, Carrie Masa, and others to help children, adolescents, and adults reduce and manage their anxiety, and lead fulfilling lives.

Social Anxiety Group for Highschoolers and Young Adults

Click here for information on our Social Anxiety Groups

How is Social Anxiety Treated?

CBC’s social anxiety program includes a combination of individual and group therapy. Patients learn new skills in group therapy and learn to apply skills in their daily lives with their individual therapist. Parents and families may also be involved in treatment, especially if the client is under the age of 18. By adopting this type of comprehensive treatment approach, therapists help clients to gain new skills for managing anxiety and provide them with a place for practicing these skills so that they generalize to the client’s life outside of treatment.

Individual Therapy

Individual CBT therapists will provide the following:

  • Psychoeducation: Increasing understanding, awareness, and acceptance of symptoms and how they are treated;
  • Relaxation Training: Clients who present with physical symptoms that impair their functioning are taught breathing and deep muscle relaxation exercises to reduce their physical arousal and perform better in social or performance situations;
  • Cognitive Strategies: Clients learn to identify and modify the believability of unhelpful thoughts that increase their anxiety and impair their performance in social situations, and also learn to relate to their thoughts in a way that enables them to focus and perform effectively in social situations;
  • Social Skills Training: Clients are taught skills to increase their performance and confidence in social situations – they learn skills to effectively meet and communicate with peers, develop and maintain close relationships, and learn skills to enhance performance situations (e.g. taking a test, doing a presentation, eating, drinking, writing in front of others, using public restrooms);
  • Attention Strengthening: Clients learn skills to strengthen their attention so they can stay on task and help improve their functioning in social or performance situations;
  • Exposure and Response Prevention: Clients learn to confront social or performance situations without the use of unhelpful strategies they may have used in the past to cope with feeling anxious in social situations.

Family Sessions (as needed)

Family sessions focus on helping caregivers to learn more about social anxiety, the nature of anxiety, and ways to most effectively support their family member in engaging in this treatment and using the skills learned during this treatment. This modality is used on an as-needed basis.

Group Therapy

To complement individual therapy or act as a stand-alone treatment, CBC offers social anxiety group treatment. The group setting provides a unique opportunity to gain exposure to social situations that elicit anxiety and practice newly acquired skills in vivo, with coaching and feedback from skilled clinicians and supportive peers. All groups are offered in our White Plains location.

Group Therapy Adolescents (freshmen through seniors in high school)

This group is designed to help adolescents (9th through 12th grade students) who experience difficulty with anxiety in social settings such as school, with friends/peers, when participating in extracurricular activities, or when performing in public. The main goal is to boost group members’ comfort, confidence, and competence in these situations. The group helps adolescents gain a better understanding of social anxiety, challenge worry thoughts they experience in social situations, learn valuable social skills to improve their confidence in these situations, and practice facing their fears in real-time.

The social anxiety group meets weekly for 16 weeks and is 90 minutes in length. Group sessions are based on the evidence-based treatments Social Effectiveness Therapy for Children and Adolescents (Beidel, Turner, & Morris, 2003) and Skills for Academic and Social Success (Masia,Warner, Fisher, Shrout, Rathor & Klein, 2007) and include:

  • Psychoeducation about social anxiety
  • Cognitive restructuring strategies to challenge worry thoughts
  • Social skills training specific to the needs of individuals with social anxiety (e.g., maintaining conversations, listening and remembering, assertiveness)
  • Facing your fear exercises (i.e. social exposures), which include social outings to local establishments that parallel the real-life experiences of teens (e.g., going for coffee, a meal, etc.).

Group Therapy Adults

The social anxiety adult group meets weekly for 12 weeks and is based on the evidence-based treatment Cognitive Behavior Group Therapy developed by Heimberg and Becker (2002).

  • Psychoeducation about social anxiety
  • Cognitive restructuring strategies to overcome worry thoughts before and after exposure situations.
  • In session exposure exercises during sessions using group members to practice skills
  • Exposure exercises designed to be practiced at home and other social environments.


Make an Appointment or a Referral

Please contact our Director of Intake Services at 212-595-9559 (ext.1) or 914-385-1150 (ext.1), or fill out the form above, with any questions regarding eligibility, for further information, or to make a referral. If you are a current patient at CBC, please speak to your individual therapist to see how this group may be of added benefit to you.