Social phobia and disruptive social anxiety are features of the lives of many thousands of people. But exactly what is social phobia? What causes it? What is its nature and what kinds of treatments can improve it? Using key concepts and methods and a substantive body of research, this book aims to answer these questions and clarify social phobia by means of critical discussions and examination of evidence. It takes a sceptical stance towards the received view of social phobia as a species of disease caused by a deficient inner mechanism and considers an alternative construal of social phobia as a purposeful interpersonal pattern of self-overprotection from social threats. The possibility that social phobia might not actually exist in nature is also considered. Fearing Others will appeal to researchers, clinicians and students in clinical and health psychology and psychiatry.
Part I. What Is Social Phobia?: 1. Social phobia - a self-protective interpersonal pattern; 2. The genealogy of the notion of social phobia; Part II. What Is The Nature Of Social Phobia?: 3. Social phobia as a disorder of social anxiety; 4. Social phobia as a disease; 5. Social phobia as a hypothetical entity; Part III. What Causes Social Phobia?: 6. Social phobia as a consequence of brain defects; 7. Social phobia as a consequence of cognitive biases; 8. Social phobia as a consequence of deficient social skills; 9. Social phobia as a consequence of individual history; Part IV. What Helps Social Phobic Individuals?: 10. The treatments of social phobia: their nature and effects; Part V. Concluding Remarks: 11. Discussion and integration.