OBJECTIVE: This article reviews relevant aspects of social phobia and the stages of treatment within cognitive-behavioral therapy in children and adolescents, as well as in adults. METHOD: A review of the literature published on the treatment of social phobia using cognitive-behavioral treatments was performed using the Medline database. RESULTS: A review of the literature suggests that social phobia is a chronic and prevalent condition, characterized by social inhibition and excessive shyness. Diagnosis and treatment of the disorder are usually determined by distress level and functional impairment. Population studies indicate that lifetime prevalence rates for social phobia range from 2.5 to 13.3%. The main techniques used in cognitive-behavioral therapy for social phobia are described and exemplified in a case report. CONCLUSIONS: There is a general consensus in the literature that cognitive-behavioral therapy is efficacious in the treatment of youth and adults with social phobia. Because of the early onset associated with social phobia, the identification of children at high risk for the development of social phobia should be prioritized in future investigations.
Social phobia; Cognitive-behavioral therapy; Shyness; Anxiety; Literature review