Social phobia is a disorder involving an intense fear of being judged by others and it affects the lives of many people. This book takes a critical stance towards the received view of social phobia as a disease of sorts, characterized by abnormal anxiety and caused by an inner mental or physical defective mechanism. Ariel Stravynski adopts an alternative approach to social phobia – as a purposeful interpersonal pattern protective against public humiliation or private rebuff. In this conception, fearfulness is the emotional facet of the socially phobic interpersonal pattern, rather than its driving force. This theoretical framework emphasizing dynamic transactions is articulated in terms of an anthropological psychology and Stravynski argues that social phobia can only be formulated and understood in interpersonal terms. He integrates all available knowledge on social phobia into his proposed framework and exemplifies its application by extending it to the assessment and treatment of the disorder.
Part I. The Interpersonal Approach: 1. Social phobia in interpersonal perspective: a conceptual framework and theoretical statement; Part II. What Is Social Phobia and What Is its Nature?: 2. The received view: social phobia construed as a disorder (disease) of anxiety; 3. The interpersonal outlook: social phobia construed as an extended fearful interpersonal pattern; Part III. What Causes Social Phobia?: 4. Reductive dualism I: social phobia as a consequence of bodily (brain) defects; 5. Reductive dualism II: social phobia as a consequence of mental (cognitive) defects; 6. Causality at the interpersonal level: a multi-causal analysis; Part IV. Applications of the Interpersonal Approach: 7. Assessment and functional analysis; 8. Treatment: undoing and overhauling social phobia; Part V. Conclusions: 9. Concluding remarks.