Emotion-focused therapy for social anxiety

Robert Elliott, Ben Shahar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Social anxiety (SA) is a common, debilitating anxiety difficulty characterized by persistent fear of social interactions or situations in which a person might be scrutinized or judged by others. In emotion-focused therapy (EFT) terms, SA involves a set of maladaptive emotion schemes developed as a result of being chronically and traumatically shamed or bullied, usually during the developmental periods of childhood or adolescence. This chapter presents an approach to applying EFT to clients presenting with SA (EFT-AS)—a debilitating fear of other people. This approach provides an alternative to a common but difficult-to-treat psychological difficulty that up until now has been almost exclusively the province of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). In addition, EFT-AS can help EFT practitioners extend their practice to a new, challenging and complex client population, helping therapists to develop additional skills for working effectively with all their clients.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClinical handbook of emotion-focused therapy
EditorsLeslie S. Greenberg, Rhonda N. Goldman
Place of PublicationWashington, DC
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
ISBN (Electronic)1433829800
ISBN (Print)1433829770
StatePublished - 2019


  • emotion-focused therapy
  • social anxiety
  • psychological difficulty
  • fear of social interactions


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