Social Anxiety Disorder and Video Feedback

Social anxiety disorder is a common type of anxiety disorder, where anxiety arises in social situations. More than mere shyness, the anxiety must be severe enough that it interferes with everyday tasks, such as going to work or school. Persons with social anxiety disorder tend to exaggerate the extent to which others negatively judge them, and they fear being humiliated and rejected.

Group therapy sessions are often used in the treatment of social anxiety disorder. This allows persons to receive feedback, in a supportive environment, about how they are really perceived by others. When group members learn they are not actually negatively perceived by others, their anxiety is reduced. In some cases, it may even be possible to see anatomical changes on an MRI after only 10 weeks.

Video feedback may also be an effective tool. In one recent study, 47 persons with social anxiety disorder watched themselves on video. All but one person agreed they came across more favorably than they predicted they would. By receiving feedback that rebutted their negative bias, their social anxiety was reduced.