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Helping Students Overcome Social Anxiety


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Table of Contents

I. Recognizing and Addressing Social Anxiety at School
1. What Is Social Anxiety?
2. Why Treat Social Anxiety at School?
3. Identifying Students Struggling with Social Anxiety
II. Promoting Skills for Academic and Social Success (SASS)
4. Educating Teenagers about Social Anxiety
5. Socially Anxious Thinking 101
6. Realistic Thinking
7. Go Ahead, Start the Conversation
8. Maintaining Conversations and Extending Invitations
9. The Secret to Meaningful Conversations: Listening to What Others Say
10. Your Needs Matter: Learn to Speak Up!
11. Facing Your Fears: Creating a Fear Ladder
12. Climbing the Ladder: Exposure Practice in School
III. Supplementary Strategies
13. Getting Parents Involved: How Can They Help?
14. School Social Events and Peer Facilitators
15. Classroom Strategies for Teachers
IV. Other Practical and Clinical Considerations
16. The Nuts and Bolts of Helping Anxious Students at School: Putting It All Together
17. Applying Intervention Skills to Other Anxiety Concerns
18. Keep It Up!: Ways to Maintain Student Progress

About the Author

Carrie Masia Warner, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Montclair State University in New Jersey, Research Scientist at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center. Dr. Masia Warner is an expert in pediatric anxiety disorders and school implementation of evidence-based interventions. She has systematically developed and evaluated interventions for children and adolescents in community settings, with a focus on enhancing the identification and treatment of teenagers with social anxiety and training front-line school professionals. She has published over 65 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Daniela Colognori, PsyD, is Clinical Director of the Tourette Syndrome Clinic at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She is also a founding partner at Specialized Psychological Services, a private clinical practice, where she provides cognitive-behavioral therapy for individuals with anxiety, mood, tic, and body-focused repetitive behavior disorders. Dr. Colognori's research interests and publications focus on improving access to evidence-based interventions for youth with anxiety and mood disorders through partnerships with schools. Chelsea Lynch, MA, is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Florida State University (FSU). She worked in the NYU Langone Medical Center's Child Study Center on a randomized clinical trial evaluating the effectiveness of counselor-delivered cognitive-behavioral therapy for social anxiety in schools. Ms. Lynch has also worked in clinical outpatient, residential, and forensic settings. She currently conducts psychological assessments and provides evidence-based psychological treatment to adults and youth in the community as a student therapist in the FSU Psychology Clinic. Her research interests include evaluating psychological risk factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of co-occurring psychological disorders.


"Until now, there has not been a good resource to assist school practitioners in addressing the highly prevalent problem of social anxiety in adolescents. Based on a solid foundation of evidence-based practices, this definitive book supplies critically needed guidance. Within a response-to-intervention framework, the authors show how to identify social anxiety, develop and implement interventions, provide schoolwide education, promote generalization of skills, and involve parents to increase their understanding and supportiveness. Without question, this book will be widely used in schools and will be an invaluable resource for graduate education. It also will help to fuel an interconnected training, practice, research, and policy agenda to reduce the impacts of social anxiety and improve students' school success. Kudos to the authors!"--Mark D. Weist, PhD, Clinical-Community and School Psychology Programs, University of South Carolina

"This outstanding book provides state-of-the-art intervention strategies for helping adolescents overcome social anxiety. It is incredibly timely, given that anxiety problems in youth are common and interfere significantly with academic, social, and family functioning. The book will be invaluable for professionals working to identify and address social anxiety in the school setting. Written by leaders in the field, this is a premier guide for promoting teens' psychological well-being and school performance."--Donna B. Pincus, PhD, Associate Professor and Director, Child and Adolescent Fear and Anxiety Treatment Program, Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Boston University

"As a mental health professional working in public schools for over 15 years, I have witnessed how debilitating social anxiety can become for students. It adversely impacts students and their families and can have long-term negative implications for school performance. This 'must-read' book provides practitioners and educators with a blueprint for a collaborative treatment approach that can help adolescents achieve their full potential in social situations, school, and life."--Dawn M. McNichol, MA, school psychologist, Madison Public Schools, New Jersey

"Masia Warner, Colognori, and Lynch have done an outstanding job presenting their well-supported approach, and have done so in a remarkably reader-friendly fashion. The school setting is exactly where we need to be treating adolescents with social anxiety. This much-needed book offers a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and experience. Full of proven strategies, techniques, and case illustrations, this first-rate work is essential reading for school-based personnel and mental health professionals working to combat social anxiety in kids."--Jonathan Comer, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Director, Mental Health Interventions and Technology Program, Florida International University

"This book offers an engaging introduction to social anxiety and its prevention and intervention. It is well suited for a range of prospective and practicing school-based mental health providers. The case examples and session resources help the reader translate complex concepts in research and intervention into practical strategies that are highly applicable in school settings. With its clear and explicit descriptions, scripts, and reproducible tools, this is an excellent guide for professionals delivering evidence-based mental health services to adolescents in schools."--Sally L. Grapin, PhD, NCSP, Department of Psychology, Montclair State University

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