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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently posted this on the SAUK site and would like to make more people aware of it. For anyone who has tried anything similar it'd be good to fear from you. Attention Training is part of the new therapy for anxiety disorders based on research by Clark & Wells who developed a model for SA seen in Gillian Butlers book. The new therapy is called Metacognitive Therapy (MCT) - please see my earlier thread on this.

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/41013/title/Don’t_worry,_get_attention_training

"In these studies, both published in the February Journal of Abnormal Psychology, attention training alleviated anxiety disorders just as effectively as cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and antianxiety medication had in earlier investigations. Yet attention training requires minimal professional supervision, causes no side effects and could be completed over the Internet."

"A similar form of attention guidance, directed by psychologist Norman Schmidt of Florida State University in Tallahassee, provided marked relief for many patients diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. About 15 million U.S. adults struggle with this condition, which is characterized by a debilitating dread of everyday social situations and a fear of being watched and judged by others."

For anyone interested in learning attention training there's some guidance here:
http://www.mct-institute.com/attention.html
 

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wow, that is awesome. it makes a lot of sense - in SA your attention is all on potential social threats, which ramps up the fight or flight response, and makes you want to leave the situation. being able to redirect your attention would interrupt that process.

another technique which helps redirects attention is mindfulness, ie switching your awareness to your present sensations, instead of casting out into horrible predictions of the future.

it's kind of hard to believe that this technique goes back to 1990, and i'm just hearing about it now. i wonder what else i've been missing, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah I think most types of mindfulness are about redirecting your attention, but in MCT you focus your attention externally rather than internally on your thoughts or feelings. For example on sounds or on what's going on around you. I think a big part of SA is taking our thoughts to be reality, but when you notice more of the real world it disconfirms a lot of the thoughts/images inside your head.
 

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"Schmidt's team studied 36 patients diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. Half the volunteers completed training that taught them to look away from images of disgusted-looking faces in order to identify letters that replaced neutral-looking faces. For the other half, letters replaced disgusted and neutral faces equally often.

Four months after attention training, 13 of 18 patients had recovered, compared with five of 18 patients in the placebo group."

1. How much did they recover? Did they become completely cured of social anxiety?
2. The study took place over 4 months but in the beginning of the article, it is said that you only need to do a few hours worth of attention training to get benefits that last upto 4 months. Where's the data from which they made this conclusion? It sure isn't in the article.

For anyone interested in learning attention training there's some guidance here:
http://www.mct-institute.com/attention.html
Just a word of warning, you have to pay 27 UK pounds for the product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
1. How much did they recover? Did they become completely cured of social anxiety?
2. The study took place over 4 months but in the beginning of the article, it is said that you only need to do a few hours worth of attention training to get benefits that last upto 4 months. Where's the data from which they made this conclusion? It sure isn't in the article.

Just a word of warning, you have to pay 27 UK pounds for the product.
That's for therapists, not the general public. From what I see of the Selfhelp programmes section they're still developing ones for general use. There's a section on external focus in the Gillian Butler book 'Overcoming SA' so you could try that. I can't answer about the article because I don't know. There's a few studies similar to it doing the rounds at the moment. Here's another one, bear in mind the results are preliminary:
http://www.articlearchives.com/trends-events/investigations/1549627-1.html

I just want to make it clear that I'm not trying to sell any product or anything, I'm in the same boat as everyone else here, I just want to share the info I've found out.

Thanks for those links R4ph4el, it'll be nice to read about someone who has tried it because not many people seem to mention it on SA boards.
 

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I find that when i happen to be focusing my attention externally, like on another person, I seem to feel calmer sometimes. Of course this hardly ever happens, so maybe I should try to CONSCIOUSLY do it!

One place this does happen with me is during a crisis. In the middle of a crisis, I don't have time to worry and think too much, the way I normally do. Attention is completely focused on someone else and the immediate problem.

It is a very logical idea that being able to direct one's attention where one wants, rather than obssessively where we don't want it, could change how we feel!!

This is also good news in that we SA people don't have to change the essence of who we are (eg. trying to force an introvert to become an extrovert); we just have to change where we direct our attention.

Sounds easy, in theory anyway! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As I understand it attention training is best practiced in a fairly safe non-social environment so you can develop the skill, and then you naturally become less self-focused. Then you can start using it in social settings. I think in the Gillian Butler book she talks about how self-focused attention makes it hard to engage with people socially and affects your performance.
 
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