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Given the seriousness of social anxiety, specialists at the NYU Child Study Center have developed the Shy or Socially-Anxious Teens Group Treatment Program. The program uses an intervention developed by Carrie Masia Warner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Associate Director of the Institute for Anxiety and Mood Disorders, called Skills for Social and Academic Success, which has been shown to be effective in treating teenagers with social anxiety disorder in two controlled school-based studies.

Led by two clinical psychologists, the 16-week program at the NYU Child Study Center combines education about social anxiety with evidence-based cognitive-behavioral therapy. Teenagers are taught cognitive and social skills to help them reduce worries and improve their social interactions. They engage in role-playing activities designed to develop and practice essential social skills, such as initiating and maintaining conversations. "We know that our thoughts impact how we feel and behave, and these teens learn how much they tend to catastrophize and overestimate the possibility of something negative occurring in social interactions," notes Dr. Masia Warner. Most importantly, the teenagers are encouraged to face their fears by entering into the social situations that they previously avoided. They are then instructed to practice these lessons in real-life situations at home and at school.

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