Learning to change a way of being:An interpretative phenomenological perspective on cognitive therapy for social phobia


Social phobia (SP) is a common and disabling condition for which cognitive-behavioral treatments (CBT) have demonstrated efficacy. However, there remains room for improvement. Hence, further exploration of the means by which CBT helps patients with SP is warranted. Studies examining patients' perspectives on which aspects of treatment were most or least helpful may augment other established methodologies for identifying the more or less effective components and thus help to increase the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of CBT for SP. The current study used interpretive phenomenological analysis to analyze the transcripts of interviews with eight patients who had completed cognitive therapy (CT) for SP. Four related themes were identified: (i) social phobia as a way of being; (ii) learning to challenge social phobia as a way of being: transformative mechanisms of therapy; (iii) challenges faced in the pursuit of change; (iv) a whole new world: new ways of being. This analysis of patients' experiences of CT for SP confirmed that the factors hypothesized to be important in maintaining SP in cognitive-behavioral models of the disorder are evident in patients' descriptions of the processes of change in CT for SP (e.g., reducing internal focus of attention and reducing safety behaviors and avoidance). Helpful components of CT for SP were identified as areas where the protocol could be enhanced. Recommendations for the way in which CT for SP is implemented are made.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.03.018
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
Funding Information: This research was supported by Wellcome Trust Programme Grant 069777 and Oxfordshire Health Services Research Committee Grant no 763 . The authors are grateful to Olivia Bolt and to the clinicians at the Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma for assista
Additional Information: © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Open access under CC BY license.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cognitive behavior therapy,Cognitive therapy,Interpretive phenomenological analysis,Patients' experiences,Qualitative,Social phobia,Clinical Psychology,Psychiatry and Mental health
Publication ISSN: 0887-6185
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2024 08:11
Date Deposited: 07 May 2020 12:24
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://www.sci ... 0782?via%3Dihub (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2010-08-01
Authors: McManus, Freda
Peerbhoy, Dawn
Larkin, Michael (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-3304-7000)
Clark, David M.



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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