• Subject Name : Management

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder


Introduction to NLP..

Social Anxiety and its impact

Theoretical approach to Social Anxiety.

Present State and Desired State.

Goals give our life meaning.

 Changing personality.

NLP techniques.


Belief change.

Content Reframing.


Action Plan to overcome Social Anxiety.

Technical explanation of application.


Counselling and Therapy Sessions.

Laughter Therapy.

Social Incorporation..

Keeping a diary.


Introduction to NLP

Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a concept introduced by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. Neuro-Linguistic programming is a pseudoscientific way to improve communication, personal development, and to overcome any emotional as well as social insecurity. According to Richard and John, there is a connection between the neurological process and behavioural patterns of an individual which can be changed to accomplish particular goals in life. NLP also provides a practical approach to change the way an individual thinks and to take full control of the mind (Bandler, 2020). The concept of NLP has been adopted by many hypnotherapists and companies through marketing seminars to improve leadership skills as well as the business skills of its employees. The principle of NLP states that feelings, thought, emotions are not the things that are, or that a person has, but things a person does. Therefore, NLP shows how to take control of these beliefs and influences by using the power of mind or techniques such as visualization (Bandler,2020). However, some controlled trials have failed to show the importance and benefits of NLP due to which it has been criticized by many scientists. Also, some practitioners have argued that there is a lack of actual support in the research and testing of NLP. 

The main aim of this paper is to identify the real situation in which I feel insecure and have a sense of blockage or inability to cope with it normally. The real situation in which I feel insecure is Social anxiety as most of the time I feel a lack of self-confidence and inner power when I am surrounded by a group of people. The paper will also highlight the main reason for suffering from social anxiety and a complete action plan with a theoretical approach to overcome social anxiety. 

Social Anxiety and Its Impact

Social Anxiety is one of the difficult challenges that most of our generation (roughly 15 million people) are facing in today's competitive world. The reason for electing social anxiety as one of my biggest insecurity is the current competitive environment of social isolation and traumatic bullying (Hofmann et al. 2017). From childhood, I used to study alone due to which I was never able to make new friends throughout my school period as well as during my college period. This highly impacted my participation in curricular activities and interaction with others. Another important reason for my social anxiety disorder is the extensive use of technology, people are now spending more time on mobiles, laptops, and tablets instead of talking face to face with other people (Pontes, Etal. 2017). Therefore, I used to spend more time alone instead of communicating with other people. Now, whenever I want to communicate with other people or explore some new workplace, I find many difficulties and a lot of thoughts in my mind such as “ I am going to do something embarrassing”, “I will not able to work here”, “I don't belong to this place”, “ I am not likable”, “people are going to hate me”, and many more. So, to avoid these thoughts or social anxiety I prefer to avoid visiting crowded places like shopping malls, theatres, and concerts. 

Every emotional and mental disorder affects one's life in various ways. Social anxiety has affected my life in various ways or it prevents me from living my life properly. One of the major impacts of social anxiety is that it creates a lot of work stress because if I am doing some work and facing difficulties in it, I can't even ask for any help which increases workload as well as it makes me depressed in that particular situation (Hofmann et al. 2017). 

Social anxiety was also known as separate phobic disorders in the mid-1960s. It is a persistent fear of one or more social situations where embarrassment may occur and the fear of social anxiety is out of the limit due to social situations as set by persons cultural guidelines. Social anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders, but the hardest part is that people who are suffering from it are not even able to ask for help due to lack of communication skills and self-confidence. Social anxiety affects everyone in different ways according to the current situation and mindset of the person. 

Theoretical Approach to Social Anxiety

Social anxiety affects an individual life in various ways, but there are some ways through which they can overcome social anxiety. Following are some methods and habits that help an individual to overcome social anxiety. 

Challenge negative and anxious thoughts 

One of the best ways to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety is to challenge the negative and anxious thoughts that come into the head while thinking about any social situations (Alden, Etal. 2018). Once a person identifies the main reason behind its negative thoughts, they can analyse and challenge it by asking why these questions come into my mind? 

Doing Meditation daily 

After challenging negative thoughts start doing meditation as it helps to be present and aware of all the thoughts that come into the mind. Neuroscience researchers found that meditation has effects on a particular part of the human brain and it can decrease social anxiety level up to 39% by doing meditation for just 20 minutes. 

Setting objective goals 

According to many NLP research people who are suffering from social anxiety tend to disqualify their positive strength, when they feel nervous or anxious. They can perform even better, but because of feeling anxious, they judge their work as dismissal (Alden, Etal. 2018). Therefore, setting objective behavioural goals in social situations will help to overcome social anxiety. For instance, try to make at least three or four comments in social places without thinking about others' opinions. 

Present State and Desired State

Determining the present and desired state is a crucial part of Neuro-linguistic programming. Present state is also known as problem state or symptoms is a useful technique in which a person who is suffering from social anxiety identifies and analyses its current situation to determine the path for achieving the desired state. When creating a present and desired state one should always try to be as specific as possible and quantitative because it is important to connect the present and desired state with each other to get a proper solution. Also, it is crucial to address all the problems in the present state to find its respective solution.

The following table will reflect the problem state as well as the desired state. 

Problem state 

Desired State 

Ø Lack of communication 

One of the major problems that I am currently facing because of social anxiety is a lack of communication with other people. For example, whenever I go shopping and want to purchase something I couldn't able to bargain properly because of poor communication skills. 

Ø The desired state is to feel free to communicate with others at any social place. I want to communicate with new people and want to explore new areas in my life. 

Ø Lack of self-confidence 

Another problem is lack of self-confidence. As whenever I want something from someone like friends or parents, I don't ask them directly or freely because of a lack of self-confidence. 

Ø The desired state is to get proper self-confidence while talking or asking someone for anything without any type of hesitation or nervousness.

Ø Depression

Depression is another major problem that I am facing because of social anxiety. As whenever I feel alone or suffering from some issues, there is no one to which I can communicate regarding the issue. Thus, make me feel depressed and alone. 

Ø The desired state is to get rid of my loneliness and depression as it is affecting my mental as well as physical health. I want to make new friends with whom I can share everything about my problems to get a proper solution. 

Ø Self-isolation 

Self-isolation is the main reason for my social anxiety. As from childhood I prefer to study alone due to which I isolate myself for a long time in my rooms. Another important reason for self-isolation is the current external environment as people don't have time to interact face to face with others and use various social media apps to connect with them. 

Ø The desired state is to spend more time outdoors with new friends and people as it will help me to avoid self-isolation for a longer time. It will also improve my communication skills in both personal as well as work life. 

Ø Social distancing 

Social distancing has always been one of my biggest problems as I always avoid crowded or social places because of a lack of self-confidence and nervousness. Whenever I want to visit someplace, I ensure that it is a crowded or quiet place to feel calm and relax. 

Ø The desired state is to feel relaxed in crowded places such as shopping malls, GYM, and theatres. 

Goals Give Our Life Meaning

Goals are an important part of life; it helps to decide the best path to ensure success in any work or field. Setting up goals can help overcome social anxiety. Goal setting also helps a person in exploring new behaviours, to be centre focused, and to achieve a sustainable life. It is important to set up specific goals to measure performance and to improve it by learning from the mistakes. If I want to overcome the fear of my social anxiety, it is important to identify the main as well as secondary goals specifically to improve my problem state. 

Changing Personality 

The main goal for me is to change my personality based on my real qualities instead of social anxiety. Currently, most of the people think that I like avoiding people or it's in my nature due to which they have created a reputation of mine as a standoffish and unapproachable person, even though it's not true. This has created a non-ending cycle from which now it is tough for me to escape. People don't invite me to social events, don't want to talk to me, and even it affects my working progress. Therefore, I want to develop a great version of myself, that I want to become, not what I had become because of my social anxiety. Also, there are some secondary goals which I want to achieve along with my main goal. Following are my secondary goals such as 

  1. Making new friends

Social anxiety has highly affected my ability to make new friends as I don't attend any social events and prefer to be alone while doing my study or going for movies. Therefore, I want to make new friends with whom I can share everything that I want without any hesitation. 

  1. Getting a new job 

It is hard to get a new job with a social anxiety disorder as whenever I apply for any job related to my interest, I am unable to communicate confidently due to which the company rejects me without observing my skills or qualifications. So, I want to get a new job, where I can freely communicate with everyone in the staff without getting nervous. 

  1. Physically and mentally healthy 

Another goal that I want to achieve is to become healthy both mentally and physically. Currently, social anxiety has affected both my mental as well as physical health because of depression, loneliness, and improper diet which I want to improve by attending mediation sessions and GYM. 

NLP Techniques

The NLP techniques are designed to make life easier and these techniques can transform one's life as thoughts and feelings give shape to reality (Rajasekaran, 2020). Neuro-linguistic programming helps an individual to understand the language of the brain and rebuild the thinking capacity through various NLP techniques. The four NLP techniques which I have used to overcome social anxiety are,

1. Anchoring 

Anchoring is a fundamental process to feel more confident, enthusiastic, and to be more relaxed when meeting with someone. It is a simple method to convert unwanted feelings into resourceful feelings within a matter of time. Also, it is important to set up a stimulus-response pattern to feel the way an individual wants to when needed to (Rajasekaran, 2020). Although, the stimulus is always an environmental sign and the response is always a particular behavioural action. The reason for choosing the Anchoring NLP techniques is that it will help me to feel relaxed or confident whenever I will meet someone at any social place. 

2. Belief Change 

Belief change is another NLP technique which helps to convert negative thoughts into positive. Beliefs play a crucial role in developing the way a person sees the world. All types of belief influence the way an individual sees the world and helps to make the difference between reality and belief system (Rajasekaran, 2020). The belief change technique is also helpful in eliminating the negative thoughts by thinking about positive facts in negative situations or facts that bring positivity into the mind. I select the Belief change NLP techniques to transform my self-created thoughts such as “I am not likeable” or “I am going to do something embarrassing”, etc to change the way I see the world.

3. Content Reframing 

Reframing thoughts is another important NLP technique to change the quality of thoughts that emerge into the mind. It is a physiological technique consisting of identifying the negative thoughts, then changing them (Rajasekaran, 2020). I need to reframe the thoughts that emerge in my mind in any social situation or event to overcome the fear of social anxiety. Reframing the situation helps to convert any negative situation into positive by changing the meaning of the situation. 

4. Rapport 

Rapport is one of the easiest NLP techniques but has a great power to help an individual get along with anyone. Although, there are lots of techniques to build rapport with anyone (Rajasekaran, 2020). One of the quickest and easiest comes from NLP that is copying or mirroring other people such the way they sit, walk, talk, and stand to be like them. I select the rapport to develop my communication skills, whenever I talk to someone in a crowded or social place.

Action Plan to Overcome Social Anxiety

An action plan is one of the important parts to overcome social anxiety. Also, life is too short to let anxiety take over. An action plan is a detailed outline of action required to achieve a specific or more goals. I aim to take action and solve my issues of social anxiety before it holds me any longer. Therefore, I have created a weekly social anxiety plan to follow a particular direction to overcome my social anxiety. The following figure will reflect my action plan to overcome social anxiety and to achieve each of my desired states.


Nº of sessions

Duration of the sessions



Free Communication

2 days per week

3 hours per day

Monday and Tuesday

Therapy/counselling sessions

Self Confidence

1 day per week

2 hours per day




2 days per week

3 hours per day

Thursday and Friday

Laughter therapy


2 days per week

2 hours per day

Saturday and Sunday

Social Incorporation

Technical Explanation of Application


Meditation is a mind sharpening process in which an individual uses a technique such as focussing the mind on a particular object in a peaceful environment to achieve awareness, confidence, sincerity, and calmness into the mind. People who do meditation on the daily basis are both mentally and emotionally stable. 

Counselling and Therapy Sessions 

Counselling and Therapy Sessions are one of the important parts to overcome social anxiety. It is the process of meeting in which therapists solve a person's behaviour, emotion, nervousness, and beliefs issues.

Laughter Therapy 

Laughter therapy is another kind of therapy session, where people relieve pain, stress, loneliness, and to cure from any disease. A laughter therapy can be great for social anxiety people who get nervous or aren't able to express their emotions when they are happy or feeling good at any social place. 

Social Incorporation

Social Incorporation is the process where newcomers or people who are suffering from any mental or emotional disorder join the social community and express their feelings to overcome their disorders. Social incorporation can be beneficial for Social Anxiety people to overcome their fear of social situations and to improve their communication skills.

Keeping a Diary

According to the report it is seen that Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) can be an effective process to overcome social anxiety if one follows the steps and implements the NLP techniques properly. In my case, it helps me a lot by first identifying the problems that I was facing because of social anxiety, then deciding the desired state that I cannot achieve due to social anxiety. After, identifying and mentioning the desired state, set some primary and secondary goals to make the process more effective and efficient. Once set up the goals, it is important to use a proper NLP technique that helps in achieving those goals as I prefer four NLP techniques to achieve my goals. Action Plan is a crucial part of the whole process to overcome social anxiety as it is important to give a detailed outline of actions to overcome social anxiety. I prefer a weekly action plan according to my needs and goals, but it can be a monthly or quarterly plan depending on the need of the person. Also, to overcome my social anxiety I joined therapy sessions, mediation, laughter sessions, and social incorporation to improve my overall communication skills and to develop a new personality of myself. 

References for Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Bandler, R. (2020). Get the life you want: The secrets to quick and lasting life change with neuro-linguistic programming. Simon and Schuster.

Passmore, J., & Rowson, T. (2019). Neuro-linguistic programming: A review of NLP research and the application of NLP in coaching. International Coaching Psychology Review, 14(1), 57.

Kotera, Y., & Sweet, M. (2019). Comparative evaluation of neuro-linguistic programming. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 47(6), 744-756.

Hofmann, S. G., & Otto, M. W. (2017). Cognitive behavioural therapy for social anxiety disorder: Evidence-based and disorder specific treatment techniques. Routledge.

Alden, L. E., Buhr, K., Robichaud, M., Trew, J. L., & Plasencia, M. L. (2018). Treatment of social approach processes in adults with social anxiety disorder. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 86(6), 505.

Pontes, H. M. (2017). Investigating the differential effects of social networking site addiction and Internet gaming disorder on psychological health. Journal of Behavioural Addictions, 6(4), 601-610.

Spence, S. H., & Rapee, R. M. (2016). The etiology of social anxiety disorder: An evidence-based model. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 86, 50-67.

Hofmann, S. G., & Otto, M. W. (2017). Cognitive behavioural therapy for social anxiety disorder: Evidence-based and disorder specific treatment techniques. Routledge.

Butler, G. (2016). Overcoming social anxiety and shyness: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques. Hachette UK.

Arch, J. J., Landy, L. N., & Brown, K. W. (2016). Predictors and moderators of biopsychological social stress responses following brief self-compassion meditation training. Psych neuroendocrinology, 69, 35-40.

Morrison, A. S., Mateen, M. A., Brozovich, F. A., Zaki, J., Goldin, P. R., Heimberg, R. G., & Gross, J. J. (2016). Empathy for positive and negative emotions in social anxiety disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 87, 232-242.

Antony, M. M., & Swinson, R. P. (2017). The shyness and social anxiety workbook: Proven, step-by-step techniques for overcoming your fear. New Harbinger Publications.

Rajasekaran, V. (2020). Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Techniques: A Therapeutic Approach to Enhancing the Presentation Skill of Engineering Students. IUP Journal of English Studies, 15(1).

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Management Assignment Help

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