A 39-year-old attorney name “Patricia” who was recently promoted to partner presented with a fear of public speaking that significantly impacted her at trials which she was expected to speak in front of over 25 people, including jurors and a judge. She constantly avoided litigation despite her clients’ efforts to proceed, which was concerning for her career. She reported having heart palpitations and incapacitating anxiety days before she was expected to try a case and spent excessive amounts of time planning ways to avoid. After 4 months of CBT which included relaxation therapy, role-playing, cognitive restructuring and prearranged exposures, she was able to successfully plead her cases in court with a significant reduction of anxiety to only minor discomfort.
A 29-year-old med student named “Cynthia” was experiencing increasing social anxiety in med school when she was expected to present a case in her rotations. She was in the process of applying to residency programs but was concerned that her social anxiety would hamper her from advancing in her professional path and incapacitate her at her interviews. Within 10 CBT sessions, her anxiety was at a manageable level and she felt prepared and confident enough in her ability to excel in her interviews.
A 34-year-old advertising executive name “Gerald” spent most of his life avoiding social contact and plunging himself in his career, one in which involved working on creative projects instead of people. He had only one short term girlfriend and a couple friends from high school who kept in touch. In the beginning of treatment, we developed a hierarchy of social activities ranging from least to most anxiety producing. He learned the biological and cognitive structures responsible for his social anxiety and was encouraged to engage in activities he had avoided most of his life. We began with less intimidating situations such as ordering food in a restaurant and making eye contact and small talk with doormen and colleagues. He graduated up to industry social events, volunteering, and online dating. After 6 months of hard work, he began dating two women, making new friends, and attending work events that he used to avoid.
A 24-year-old woman name “Jennifer” working in finance presented with a specific social anxiety limited only to meeting men she was interested in dating. She was stuck only dating men she knew from college and really had no interest in romantically. She feared being humiliated while flirting with potential men by stuttering, perspiring, or possibly even passing out during a date. CBT techniques including relaxation techniques, role-playing, and cognitive restructuring to reduce her symptoms and increase her confidence and self-esteem. Within 3 months, she was able to approach men at work and in bars and parties. Within 5 months, she was in a committed relationship.