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Dr Lusia Stopa

“Images in Social Anxiety: how they distort the self and how to change them”.

Dr Stopa is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Southampton, UK.


On demand workshop £80 

Includes personal access, slides and additional resources

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Images in Social Anxiety

Abstract

Negative images of the self are at the core of all current cognitive models of social anxiety disorder (Clark &Wells, 1995; Rapee & Heimberg, 1999,; Hofmann, 2007; Moscovitch, 2009). Within current protocols, treatments for these negative images include video feedback and behavioural experiments, both of which aim at helping people to develop a realistic view of how they appear to others. However, negative views of self are not limited to other people’s judgments and they can be entrenched and hard to change.  In general, negative self-images derive from experiences such as neglect, abuse, bullying, and abandonment (Hinrichsen, Morrison,Waller, & Schmidt, 2007; Patel, Brewin, Wheatley, Wells, & Myers, 2007; Wells & Hackmann, 1993). The images then help to maintain a vicious cycle of self-criticism, behavioral change (e.g.,avoidance, withdrawal), and disturbing physiological and emotional responses. In social anxiety disorder, negative self-images often drive a range of specific safety behaviours, such as intense self-monitoring and internal rehearsal of thoughts/behaviours, together with self-focused attention, all of which can significantly interfere with social performance.

There is growing evidence that imagery rescripting helps people to re-evaluate and change negative views of self across a range of disorders including social anxiety disorder  (Morina, Lancee, & Arntz, 2017; Stopa, 2011; Wild, Hackmann, & Clark, 2007, 2008). There is also experimental evidence that positive images of the self derived from autobiographical memories can produce short term reductions in social anxiety, improve actual and perceived social performance and enhance self-esteem (Stopa, Brown, & Hirsch, 2012; Ng, Abbott, & Hunt, 2014). In this workshop, we will look at imagery rescripting, consider the evidence for its efficacy, and learn how to apply it in the treatment of an individual with social anxiety disorder. We will consider current hypotheses about the potential mechanisms of change that might underlie imagery rescripting’s effectiveness. We will also cover how to access positive images through autobiographical memories and incorporate this into current treatments

 
 

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