Sudden Gains During Therapy of Social Phobia

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The present study investigated the phenomenon of sudden gains in 107 participants with social phobia (social anxiety disorder) who received either cognitive–behavioral group therapy or exposure group therapy without explicit cognitive interventions, which primarily used public speaking situations as exposure tasks. Twenty-two out of 967 session-to-session intervals met criteria for sudden gains, which most frequently occurred in Session 5. Individuals with sudden gains showed similar improvements in the 2 treatment groups. Although cognitive–behavioral therapy was associated with more cognitive changes than exposure therapy, cognitive changes did not precede sudden gains. In general, the results of this study question the clinical significance of sudden gains in social phobia treatment.

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