Social phobia is one of the most frequent psychiatric disorders. Some authors say that 3 to 13% of the population suffers from this disorder in the course of their lives ". (Vincelli & Riva, 2007). Social anxiety disorder is characterized by a strong tendency to avoid and this can delay the exposure in vivo by a lot, moreover, it can be demanding and time-consuming for the therapists, who must structure the exposure best suited to the single patient. Here are some examples of situations affected by social phobia:
• Speak in public
• Being the center of attention
• Participate in group events
• Shop in stores or consumer places
• Look people in the eye
• Start a conversation or join an already started one
• Being introduced to other people; make new friends
• Give or defend your views
• Being alone near groups of people in a conversational attitude,…
The decision to focus on social phobias was made on the basis of maximum applicability considering the percentage of cases. In addition, this choice allows you to take new paths in the field of scientific research.
In collaboration with the Dimitri theater we have created scenes that are part of the main protocol for the treatment of social phobia. The various situations have been designed and created on the basis of the exhibition technique and in order to gradually expose the patient to the feared social situations (from the least anxiety-provoking to the most anxiety-provoking).
1. In the first situation the anxiety-provoking stimuli are very limited (empty room)
2. In the following steps, the person is confronted with the gradual increase in anxiety-provoking stimuli (increase in the level of interaction with other people)
3. In the last situation, the person finds himself interacting with other people, having to support the gaze and inter-personal exchanges, a further source of stressogenic stimuli
This first intervention protocol integrates the possibility of dealing with more problems present in social phobias and tracing the conditions for developing other similar protocols with university collaborations.