Imagery-enhanced cognitive behavioural group therapy for social anxiety disorder: A pilot study
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NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Behaviour Research and Therapy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Behaviour Research and Therapy, Vol. 55 (2014). DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2014.01.006
Cognitive behavioural group therapy (CBGT) for social anxiety disorder (SAD) is efficacious and effective, however a substantial proportion of patients remain in the clinical range so treatment innovations are required. Research suggests that working within the imagery mode may be more emotionally potent than traditional verbal-linguistic strategies. This study piloted an imagery-enhanced CBGT (IE-CBGT) protocol for SAD. It was hypothesised that IE-CBGT would be acceptable to patients, demonstrate large effect sizes, and compare favourably to historical controls who completed CBGT without the imagery-enhancements. Patients (N = 19) were consecutive referrals to a community clinic specialising in anxiety and mood disorders. Primary outcomes were self-reported performance and social interaction anxiety. IE-CBGT was highly acceptable to patients with high attendance and completion rates. Effect sizes were large by mid-treatment and very large at post-treatment and follow-up. A high proportion of patients achieved reliable change. Outcomes compared favourably to published group and individual treatments for SAD but larger randomised controlled trials are now required.
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