All About CBT for Social Anxiety, How it Works and What’s Involved

CBT for social anxiety inner workings of the mind

CBT for Social Anxiety

CBT for Social Anxiety is a highly effective way of overcoming the symptoms and emotional distress caused by this anxiety condition.

Social Anxiety is what you experience when you worry about other people (your social group) making a negative judgement about you, or scrutinising you for some action that you have carried out.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy was developed by Aaron Beck in the 1960’s who recognised that people’s inner-thoughts were often more significant than the things that they said out loud during therapy sessions.

He called these inner-thoughts cognition and argued that the way that people think about their experiences links directly to the emotions that they feel.

In other words our emotional experiences are the outcomes of what we think and believe rather than being caused by external events.

These ideas form the central concept of CBT which states that:

The way people think determines the way that they feel.

In the case of Social Anxiety the emotions that we feel are the direct result of what we think or believe our experiences mean.

Common symptoms of social anxiety

Social Anxiety Symptoms & Behaviours

The most frequent symptoms and behaviours include:

  • Excessive self-consciousness: Feeling self-conscious, embarrassed, or ashamed in social situations, and fearing that others are judging or scrutinising you.

  • Fear of negative evaluation: Worrying excessively about being judged or rejected by others, and avoiding situations where you might be evaluated.

  • Avoidance behaviours: Avoiding social situations or only attending them with great difficulty or discomfort.

  • Physical symptoms: Experiencing physical symptoms, such as sweating, blushing, trembling, rapid heartbeat, or nausea, in social situations.

  • Difficulty speaking: Feeling tongue-tied or having difficulty speaking in social situations, particularly in front of others.

  • Difficulty making eye contact: Avoiding eye contact or feeling uncomfortable when making eye contact with others.

  • Panic attacks: Experiencing sudden and intense episodes of fear or panic in social situations.

  • Impairment in functioning: Social anxiety can interfere with daily functioning and lead to difficulties in work, relationships, and social activities.

You may also have other symptoms not listed here but in general terms, symptoms are almost always related to the idea of negative social judgement.


How does CBT for Social Anxiety work?

Normally a programme of CBT for Social Anxiety takes place over a period of 10 to 20 weeks with an hour long session once per week.

Firstly, because the way you think about your day-to-day experiences is determined by your core beliefs, the early sessions of CBT for Social Anxiety involve exploring and measuring these beliefs.

Secondly, once you are able to uncover your core beliefs, your thoughts about certain experiences will make more sense.

Thirdly, by understanding how you have made sense of your experiences in the past you can then begin to make changes to your thoughts and beliefs in order to create new, and more useful, emotional outcomes.

CBT for Social Anxiety builds upon the 5 core CBT principles developed by Aaron Beck and are used extensively in our CORE Programme.

CORE CBT for social anxiety programme on Mac

How many sessions of CBT will I need?

Whilst this is a difficult question to be precise about, most people will be able to overcome their Social Anxiety problems in around 10 – 20 sessions.

However, because CBT for Social Anxiety is always tailored to your own individual needs and circumstances, getting the outcome that you want may sometimes require more sessions.

If you have been suffering Social Anxiety problems for many years then in all likelihood, you can reasonably expect to take a bit longer to get where you want to be.

Our CBT for Social Anxiety programme is based on 12 sessions delivered over 12 weeks and uses an online learning platform for you to develop greater self-awareness and knowledge in the days between sessions.

Free initial consultations for cbt for social anxiety

Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.

If you’d like to find out more about CBT for social anxiety or recovering from any of your mental health problems then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular issues and the different types of mental health counselling we offer (including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – CBT) without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.

The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.

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Not Ready to Commit to Therapy Quite Yet?

Then why not see if you can solve your social anxiety problems using our comprehensive, Online Self-Help CBT course.


Written especially for people who prefer not to engage with a therapist before doing everything they can to overcome their problems.

Mirroring our in-house course of CBT, it contains everything that you need to know to tackle mental health challenges for only £149.

Counselling Locations

We offer cbt for social anxiety problems for people living in:

  • Wombourne
  • Wolverhampton
  • West Midlands
  • Shropshire
  • South Staffordshire
  • Telford
  • Shrewsbury

You can also access our services around the World using online therapy with Paul.