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Scientific article
Review
English

Does the form or the amount of exposure make a difference in the cognitive-behavioral therapy treatment of social phobia?

Published inThe journal of nervous and mental disease, vol. 197, no. 7, p. 507-513
Publication date2009
Abstract

Exposure is considered to be an essential ingredient of cognitive-behavioral therapy treatment of social phobia and of most anxiety disorders. To assess the impact of the amount of exposure on outcome, 30 social phobic patients were randomly allocated to 1 of 2 group treatments of 8 weekly sessions: Self-Focused Exposure Therapy which is based essentially on prolonged exposure to public speaking combined with positive feedback or a more standard cognitive and behavioral method encompassing psychoeducation, cognitive work, working through exposure hierarchies of feared situations for exposure within and outside the group. The results show that the 2 methods led to significant and equivalent symptomatic improvements which were maintained at 1-year follow-up. There was a more rapid and initially more pronounced decrease in negative cognitions with the Self-Focused Exposure Therapy, which included no formal cognitive work, than with the more standard approach in which approximately a third of the content was cognitive. In contrast, decrease in social avoidance was more persistent with standard cognitive-behavior therapy which involved less exposure. The results indicate that positive cognitive change can be achieved more rapidly with non cognitive methods while avoidance decreases more reliably with a standard approach rather than an approach with an exclusive focus on exposure.

Keywords
  • Adult
  • Cognitive Therapy/methods
  • Fear/psychology
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Implosive Therapy/*methods
  • Male
  • Phobic Disorders/psychology/*therapy
  • Psychotherapy, Group/methods
  • Speech
  • Treatment Outcome
Citation (ISO format)
BORGEAT, François et al. Does the form or the amount of exposure make a difference in the cognitive-behavioral therapy treatment of social phobia? In: The journal of nervous and mental disease, 2009, vol. 197, n° 7, p. 507–513. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181aacc08
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ISSN of the journal0022-3018
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