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Clinical Case Studies


Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a condition in which people consistently and persistently experience significant fear and/or anxiety about one or more social situations in which they may be scrutinized and negatively evaluated. SAD has historically been found to respond well to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) delivered both in-person and via telehealth; however, comparatively little information is available regarding response to treatment in the context of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic social and physical distancing guidelines, which have affected the way in which behavioral health services are delivered, as well as opportunities for interpersonal interactions which are either spontaneous or assigned as exposures. The current case study describes “Jennifer” (a pseudonym), a college student with a primary diagnosis of SAD, who was treated with primarily CBT interventions for 18 individual sessions over the course of approximately 6 months, which included treatment with a psychologist and a graduate student, implemented both in-person and via telehealth, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jennifer responded well to treatment, as evidenced by her self-report and decreases in symptom measure scores, engaged in CBT adapted to pandemic restrictions, and was able to utilize strategies learned during SAD treatment to address generalized anxiety and pandemic-related concerns. This case study demonstrates the feasibility of transitioning SAD care between providers and formats, as well as the robustness and flexibility of CBT strategies in the face of significant change, stress, and limitations of the external environment.



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COVID-19, social anxiety, social phobia, telehealth