Internet CBT treatment for social phobia. What is it?

A man [woman] who does not think for himself [herself] does not think at all.
-Oscar Wilde

I added the brackets to remind you, my dear reader, that it is 2012.


Internet CBT treatment for social phobia

I have created a video to help explain Internet CBT treatment for social phobia. One goal of this treatment is finding out what type of thinking people use. The video is designed to help people become more aware of these thoughts. Thinking about thinking is the first step.

Social phobia is characterised by an inflated threat perception in social situations. Sufferers experience intense fear of negative evaluation and see amplified threats in being judged by others. This exaggerated fear response has a marked impact on their relationships with others, in both public (e.g. work) and private life (e.g relationships). Frequently people suffer from low mood and exhaustion due to the distress the problem causes. Sufferers fear, avoid, or endure with significant stress the following: conversations, meeting new people, expressing a controversial opinion or disagreement, being assertive, speaking in front of a group, being the centre of attention, eating, drinking, or making mistakes in front of others.

Our Internet CBT treatment for social phobia ( is a professional website incorporating a computerised CBT practitioner that we have been building since 2007. CBT, or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, is a well known treatment approach supported by several hundred controlled experimental trials. Our Internet CBT treatment for social phobia offers you a fully automated computer psychologist that tailors your treatment to the specific symptoms that you report to the system. The database it uses is derived from a wealth of psychological data gathered in major anxiety and mood clinics over the past 20 years.

Your subscription lasts for 6 months, and includes the following online treatment procedures: (1) cognitive restructuring exercises; (2) mindfulness tasks; (3) exposure exercises and behavioural experiments; (4) education about the nature of anxiety and depression; (5) quizzes to test your growing understanding of your condition and its treatment; (6) emails to motivate and remind you to access the program; (7) online assessment tools to measure your improvement; and (8) voice overs by me Fjola and Ross explaining each treatment procedure covered in the program.

AI-Therapy is an Internet-based CBT treatment for social phobia comprising 7 sections. Section 1 helps the user get in the habit of becoming aware of their thoughts and behaviours. Sections 2-6 teach strategies to address unhelpful thinking and behaviours. Section 7 is focused on relapse prevention so that the user can maintain their changes in the long run.


Try a 10 questions free social phobia symptoms test





Fjola  Helgadottir, PhD, MClinPsych, is a clinical psychologist, a senior research clinician at the University of Oxford, and is a co-creator of, an online CBT treatment program for overcoming social anxiety


3 thoughts on “Internet CBT treatment for social phobia

  1. Why do some people choose (love) to take them selves down? A habit? A need of some sort? Thanks again Fjóla.

  2. {{Why do some people choose (love) to take them selves down? A habit? A need of some sort? Thanks again Fjóla.}}

    Thanks Hildur for the question. This is a broad question, and I could probably write a PhD thesis to try to answer this. In short:

    Every person’s thoughts are different. The way you interpret the world is molded from the wide range of experiences that are collected throughout your life. Furthermore, they are influenced by the thoughts, behaviours, and actions of the people around you, such as your family, friends, co-workers, etc.

    Whenever you experience something new, whether it is good or bad, you have some control over the way you interpret it. Both our great joys and our deep sorrows add to our pile of experiences, which our waking life operates on. In other words, we make our judgments based on information from our past. All of this is wired into our brains. However, the lovely thing is that our brains keep changing, so when you learn something new, you are making new connections in your brain. This is how cognitive behavior therapy works on a basic level: it trains you to be more adaptive with your thinking. Of course, we all come into the world with genetics which predispose us to all sorts of things, but our responsibility as adults is to live an adaptive life. This includes aiming towards thinking in a calm, relaxed and balanced way.

    Back to your question – why do some people choose (love) to take them selves down, is it a habit or need of some sort?

    In general terms (of course every person’s situation is different) individuals get in a habit of thinking in certain way. Many people go through their whole life without seeing this as a bad habit. Rather, they see these thoughts as some sort of truth. Examples included: “Other people are so much better than me”, “I am so different”, “I am so odd”, etc. If we think about the wiring that is going on in their brains, it is a reinforced process. Learning and training yourself to challenge and change your thinking in a more adaptive way is a key goal of cognitive behavior therapy. People who frequently take themselves down can learn to change this unhelpful thinking pattern using CBT, which is one of its greatest practical outcomes.


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