Behavioural experiments for social anxiety

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During your treatment for social anxiety, you will conduct a number of behavioural experiments with the help of your therapist. The purpose of a behavioural experiment is to avoid relying on safety behaviour, learn to focus your attention on the other and to investigate whether your negative expectations are valid.

You can schedule a behavioural experiment in the app by registering a new activity in your Daily Planner under the category ‘Slightly outside your comfort zone’. Give the activity a title, schedule it at the right time and then answer the following questions under ‘What are your thoughts now?’:

  • Describe the experiment you will be carrying out. What are you going to do? In what situation? How are you going to behave? How are you going to ensure that you do not rely on safety behaviour? How are you going to ensure that you behave in an open way, such as making eye contact, using body language and smiling?
  • What is your negative expectation regarding this experiment? How credible is this expectation on a scale of 0-100%?
  • Assuming that the negative expectation is correct, how will the experiment unfold? What will happen, how will you react, and what is the outcome?
  • What is your rational expectation regarding this experiment? How credible is this expectation on a scale of 0-100%?
  • Suppose the rational expectation is correct, how will the experiment unfold? What will happen, how will you react, and what is the outcome?

You will then conduct the behavioural experiment at the scheduled time and, afterwards, reflect on the results. You can do this by clicking on the planned activity in your Daily Planner and then describing how it went. To do so, you can answer the following questions:

  • How did the experiment go? What happened, what did you do, how did it end?
  • Which of the two expectations turned out to be valid?
  • After the experiment, what is the credibility of your negative expectation on a scale of 0-100%?
  • After the experiment what is the credibility of your rational expectation on a scale of 0-100%?
  • What have you learned from this experiment?

Below, you will find a completed example of a behavioural experiment in which open behaviour was used in an everyday situation. You can see what was entered prior to the experiment and what was entered afterwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source:

Keijsers, G. P. J., Van Minnen, A., Verbraak, M., Hoogduin, C. A. L. & Emmelkamp, P., (2017). Protocollaire behandelingen voor volwassenen met psychische klachten.

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