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Overcoming Shyness and Social Phobia: A Step-by-Step Guide (Clinical Application of Evidence-Based Psychotherapy) Paperback – 1 Feb 1998

4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 138 pages
  • Publisher: Jason Aronson (1 Feb. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765701200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765701206
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 0.8 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,016,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


Dr. Rapee educates, coaches, and guides those who struggle with shyness or social anxiety toward the achievement of a more comfortable ifestyle. His writing is clear and accessible, and his integrative lessons are based on the latest outcome research. Mental health professionals will find the program an indispensable resource for facilitating behavior change in their clients. -- Andrew R. Eisen Offering useful tools for confronting the fears that inhibit millions of people experiencing problems related to shyness or social anxiety, this is a practical, concise self-help guide. The reader will learn ways to think and act differently and will be able to challenge and defeat the negative and unrealistic assumptions that limit personal growth. -- Robert L. Leahy Given that social phobia is the third most common mental disorder (after depression and alcoholism), Dr. Rapee's book is a must for every clinician's library. Mental health professionals can recommend it with confidence, since all of the strategies are firmly grounded in two decades of empirical research. The case examples make the strategies come alive. Readers can work systematically through the nine lessons to conquer social fears on their own or they can use the book in conjunction with ongoing therapy for social phobia. Congratulations to Dr. Rapee on an excellent, timely contribution! -- Debra A. Hope

About the Author

Ronald M. Rapee is associate professor in the Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Dr. Rapee has published extensively in international journals in the areas of child and adult anxiety and has wrotten and edited several books.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
Hi I am a 27 year old female and I just thought I should share my view on this wonderful book.
It is very practical, common sense and deals with shyness, social phobia and anxiety in a manner that is most helpful. You learn to gain trust from within yourself rather than from the outside (like drugs). You learn to deal with this problem and gain trust in yourself as well as others and get stronger at the same time. As someone who has been dealing with this problem for a long time, I feel so much better, I am not as afraid of people any more (they are not out there to specifically hurt me or terrify me :) ) and the feeling is wonderful. Also as a graduated psychology student, I can with confidence recommend it. The process is slow, and tedious, but definetly worth it. Yes you will probably make mistakes and feel gutted but this is normal and not the end of the world and the book deals with that as well. Be sure you have this book next to you at all times.

Thank you so much.
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By JDW on 15 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book, I think it gets right to the point and although I've not read it all yet its exactly what I was hoping for. I found out about it after watching the doc on youtube that is based on this book, great doc by the way it follows 4 australians with social anxiety and how they're dealing and overcoming their own social anxiety using techniques from this book.

It uses some really good thought sheets to help overcome social anxiety as well as great advice. The best thing is that its simple it doesn't waste time talking about nonsense that gets you know where, it talks only about the essentials in my opinion and is powerful stuff.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By daria on 6 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
Ive been chronically shy all my life and I decided to buy this to help me overcome my problem. This was the first book that I read and I didn't find useful at all. There were too many forms to fill and there wasn't much in the way of expalining how to change behaviour and thinking patterns. I would not recommend it. As this was my first book that I had read on the subject, it had almost put me off reading other books.
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9 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
A brillant work with implications for changing patterns of shyness.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
82 of 90 people found the following review helpful
Sharp, lucid guidebook for overcoming social phobia 23 Oct. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Rapee's book is short, clear,and simple, but it's a profound contribution to understanding and psychological treatment of social anxiety that focuses on every key aspect of treatment of this widespread, undertreated disorder. In a seamless, organized fashion, the author introduces perspectives and techniques that a social phobic can easily learn and practice.
This work represents a foundation which will power up and significantly strengthen the potential of self-help for shyness and social anxiety. It is firmly grounded in cutting edge clinical research and was published concurrent with a scholarly volume on which it is based.
Rapee's book may be used in or out of therapy. If the reader has a therapist who doesn't know how to relieve his social phobia, both client and therapist should get this book.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Best book to overcome social anxiety 8 Nov. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've never left a review for a book, but after reading this really helpful book I am in debt with Mr. Rapee. This is an easy to read book, short (116 p), that goes straight to the point. I've read 5 books on social anxiety and I can say that this is the most practical one, with tips that you can start applying immediately. There are cognitive suggestions to overcome your fears, issues about exposure (what he calls reality testing), and tips about improving your social skills. But remember that this book alone won't cure you: In my case, medication, group therapy, and aerobic exercise (yoga too) are other weapons I'm using to fight sad and anxiety. Good luck.
80 of 93 people found the following review helpful
Enlightening, but unbearably lowbrow. 5 Dec. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am undergoing therapy for social anxiety. My doctor assigned this book.
While it does contain several useful insights and practical techniques, I found its writing style patronizing. Not that the author writes in a condescending way; rather, the vocabulary and examples appear to be aimed at someone with a junior high school education.
The fictional case studies are populated with simplistic patients, whose problems are resolved using very straightforward approaches. Too straightforward for my taste.
In discussing a traumatic social event, a fictional patient tells his doctor that he is afraid to go to bars with his coworkers because his hands will shake when he attempts to drink from his glass. The doctor asks him to recall previous similar situations, and whether his hands shook on those occasions. The patient concedes that sometimes they shook, sometimes they didn't.
Then the doctor points out that his fear of drinking in public places is based on a faulty premise (that his hands always shake in those situations). When the patient suddenly realizes that his hands don't ALWAYS shake, he's suddenly halfway cured.
So the examples were oversimplified. I can understand that. More bothersome was the occasional illogical leap employed to bolster fairly obvious observations.
At one point, the author tells us that if someone inexplicably breaks into laughter in our presence, we should not assume that they are laughing at us. Which is fine and good.
But he goes on to reassure us using statistics: Assume that there are a thousand of possible reasons that someone could start laughing. Therefore, the odds that we're the source of amusement is only one in a thousand.
Um, no. Just because there are n possible explanations, that doesn't mean that the odds of any particular one being true is 1/n. Sloppy explanations like this just erode the credibility.
Add to this the author's complete avoidance of clinical terminology (he spent a page talking about desensitization without ever once using the term), and what you have is a book intended to be read by troubled pre-teens.
Now having declared this book unfit for human consumption, it does deserve some praise. It contains some practical techniques to help you sort out your specific anxiety triggers and ameliorate them. And there are some genuine insights as well.
I simply could not abide the writing style and the occasional deficiency of logic. If there were a Psychology/Self-Help shelf in the Juveniles section of your library, that's where this book would belong.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A Lifesaver!! 26 July 2002
By T-Mogul - Published on
Format: Paperback
My therapist assigned this book when I sought treatment for SA/SP. It was exactly what I needed to get me off the couch and back out into society. Rapee's book offers a plan that's simple and easy to follow, regardless of your educational background. Other reviewers chide the writing as 'low brow' and 'junior high grade level', but they have to remember that SA/SP isn't limited to College Graduates. This book is MUST whether your in therapy or simply looking for a self-help option for SA/SP.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
The book is OK 25 Feb. 2005
By Hans - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want basic cognitive techniques, this is a good little book. But these ways of thinking are difficult to have a big effect unless you complement it with cognitive group therapy for this disorder. My major problem with the book is it's total lack of information conserning the subconscious, since the automatic fear responses arise from that part of us. In my view, results will be better when the person combines cognitive self-help/group therapy with fitting visualization techniques. Willpower is always important, but mental imagery training helps the irrational aspects to be more easily tackled by the rational mind. A lot of intelligent people having this disorder is proof that it can be difficult to just "think it away". The negative programming behind sosial anxiety lies deep in the psyche. But it's not what's going on outside the person that's a problem, it's the filter called perception, the way the person thinks about what's going on outside him, that's causing the fear. Reality and real life is mostly what happens inside of all of us. Social anxiety is a type of filter giving the person overlearned/irrational responses, like it's a push of a button. The person is not the disorder. The person is not this filter. It needs to be reprogrammed. This can be done. Rapee's book gives you part of the recipe. Personally I would recommend "Psycho-Cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz, "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind: One of the Most Powerful Self-Help Guides Ever Written" by Joseph Murphy, and "Change Your Life in Seven Days" by Paul McKenna (currently available at These books give a broader understanding of how the mind works and how it can be changed.
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