Adult Shyness and Social Anxiety Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Group FAQs

What service do you offer?

Pacific CBT offers a variety of services for adults seeking assistance for social anxiety.  Our group services include a 10-week (90 minute) Level 1 (introductory) CBT group.  For those who would like additional services, we offer a 10-week Level 2 (intermediate) group.


What happens in the 10-week Level 1 group?

The Level 1 group provides psycho-education and a strong emphasis on exposure therapy.  The psycho-educational component gives an understanding of social anxiety and some of the CBT skills that help people confront anxiety. The exposure therapy is a systematic and scientific approach to facing the situations that trigger anxiety in social interactions.


I can’t imagine attending a group with other people.  That’s exactly what I’m afraid of.  How could I possibly do this?

Most people are extremely anxious when attending the group for the first few meetings.  You will be in good company.  However, the group quickly becomes a safe place where people learn to confront and deal with their anxiety.  Attending group, essentially, is exposure therapy.  Like most experiences, the more we engage with the fear trigger, the less scary it becomes.

Also, the therapists are fully aware that attending group is highly anxiety provoking.  We work hard to create a non-judgmental and comfortable environment for people to take risks in a non-threatening way.  Group members work at their own pace.  The expectation to participate in the first few meetings is minimal.  As the meetings progress, we gently encourage people to take more risks in interacting with the group.


Can I expect to improve?

The therapists at Pacific CBT have been offering CBT groups for social anxiety for many years.  We have a lot of data to support that the group is helpful in reducing group members’ avoidance of social interactions and experience of social anxiety.  The vast majority of people make improvement when comparing pre and post treatment scores on standardized measures of social anxiety.  The degree of improvement varies.  However, it is typical that people improve one standard deviation, i.e. severe to moderate, moderate to marked, marked to mild.   It is extremely rare that people show no improvement.


How much time should I expect to put into the group?

Outside of group time (which is 90-minutes), members are expected to put effort into out of session homework and practice.  Homework includes completing worksheets and logs.  Practice will include engaging in social interactions that will be out of your usual routine.  We encourage group members to spend as much time as possible on homework.  There is a direct correlation between effort put into practice and level of improvement.


How many people attend the group?

The group size ranges from 6 – 9 adults.


What are the demographics of the group?

The composition of the group reflects the diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area.  The age range is between 22 – early 60’s.  The average age is usually mid 30’s.  Typically, people are employed or students.


Who leads the group?

The group is facilitated by two psychotherapists from Pacific CBT.  One of the therapists is a licensed psychotherapist with more than 10 years of experience with CBT and social anxiety.  The other therapist is a highly trained and experienced pre-licensed psychotherapist.


How do I sign up?

Interested potential group members are invited to attend a one-on-one pre-group assessment and orientation meeting.  This is a 60-minute session where you will meet with one of the therapists.  This meeting is used to determine if this form of group therapy is a good match for you.  You will also have an opportunity to ask questions and to decide for yourself if the group will be a good place for you.

If we mutually decide that it’s a good fit, you will be offered a place in group. To save a place in group, we ask you to complete the registration documentation which asks for credit card information to secure your place.  Spaces in group are offered on a first come, first served basis.  If a group reaches its capacity.  You will be put on a waiting list and offered a space in the next group.


How much does it cost?

The fee for the one-on-one pre-group assessment and orientation meeting is $160.  The fee for each of the 90-minute weekly group sessions is $85.  We collect payment using the credit card on file at the beginning of each month for that month’s fee. There are no refunds for missed sessions regardless of the amount of notice given.


Are there any other expenses?

No, all other expenses are covered with the above-stated fee.  You are responsible for the cost of transportation to and from the meetings.  Some people meet outside of group time to complete homework with other group members.  The expenses associated with those meetings are your responsibility.


Do you accept insurance?

We are in-network with only one insurance plan – Aetna.  If your insurance offers out-of-network coverage, you may seek reimbursement by submitting a claim.  We provide a monthly statement which you can submit to the insurance company.  They will reimburse you directly.


When and where do the group meetings occur?

The group is a 10-week commitment.  Typically, the group meets on Tuesday evenings from 6:45pm – 8:15pm.  We use an office in a convenient location near Union Square in downtown San Francisco.  The office is within a few block walk from the Powell Street MUNI and BART stations.


What happens if I can’t make a few meetings?

The expectation is that group members attend EVERY group meeting.  Given that the therapy is only 10 weeks, it’s very important that each person be present at each weekly session.

We strongly encourage people to make the necessary commitment to be available for each of the 10 meetings.  If a potential group member knows in advance that they’ll be unable to attend one or more meeting, they would be advised to consider a later group.  Some people opt to do individual therapy until they are available to commit to the 10-week group.


What happens if there is a sudden work obligation?

This is not ideal and should be avoided if possible.  However, if there is a last minute need to miss a session, you would need to notify one of the therapists of your absence.  You will be charged for each session regardless of your attendance.


I’m not sure if I’m ready to sign up for a group. Can I try it out before committing?

No, unfortunately we can’t offer that option. Once a group has started, we are unable to fill spots for people that discontinue.  Also, it’s highly disruptive to the other group members if someone drops out.  Therefore, it’s really important that a group member be relatively sure in their desire and commitment to the group.  If you’re not sure of your level of commitment, we would advise you to start with individual therapy.


How often do you offer the Level 1 and Level 2 groups?

The Level 1 group is offered 2 – 3 times per year.  The group is usually offered with start dates in September, January, and May of each year.

Level 2 groups are offered to those who have completed Level 1.  This group is offered once per year.


What should I do next?

If you have any remaining questions, contact one of the therapists for answers.  That communication can happen by phone conversation or by email.

The pre-group assessment and orientation meetings are scheduled about one month prior to the start of the next Level 1 group.  We are happy to add you to a list if you’d like to be notified of the scheduling of these meetings.