Dr Frank Salerno, PhD Montreal Psychologist 514.515.9350 Westmount Location

Dr Paula Bennett, PhD Montreal Psychologist 514.482.3327 NDG Location


Therapy for Social Anxiety / Social Phobia in Montreal

What is social anxiety?

Social Anxiety is the intense and persistent fear of negative evaluation by others in a social or performance situation. It is essentially a deep fear of humiliation or embarrassment. In some cases, exposure to a feared social situation can provoke a panic attack.

What causes and/or maintains social anxiety?

Genetics: Twin and family studies suggest that there is a genetic vulnerability in those who develop Social Anxiety (e.g., Kendler et. al., 1992; Fyer et. al., 1993).

Some data suggest that Social Anxiety in adulthood is associated with a childhood history of social inhibition and shyness (Schwartz, Snidman, and Kagan, 1999). However, Temperament is not destiny. About one-third of individuals who come into the world “wired” to be shy lose their timidity during the process of development.

Beliefs:  Social phobics hold negative beliefs about themselves and others.

Information processing: Social phobics devote excessive attentional resources to the detection of potential social threat cues such as frowning and yawning (Veljaca & Rapee, 1998).

How can CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) help for social anxiety?

Both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and drug treatment are equally effective for Social Anxiety in Montreal. Some research suggests that medication leads to slightly better results in the short term, whereas CBT is associated with less relapse in the long run.

Two main therapeutic elements are used for the treatment of Social Anxiety in Montreal:

  1. Cognitive restructuring: This therapeutic strategy aims to help client’s alter negative self-talk and inaccurate fears about the outcomes of social interactions.
  2. Exposure: Therapy gently helps clients face their social fears. In most cases, clients discover that their fears were unnecessary. The result is that they become more comfortable with social interactions.