Is CBT Better than Other Therapy?

A controlled experiment demonstrates that Cognitive Behavioral Methods were far more helpful to people suffering from social anxiety than supportive therapy.

Cognitive behavior therapy versus supportive therapy in social phobia: a randomized controlled trial.

Cottraux J, Note I, Albuisson E, Yao SN, Note B, Mollard E, Bonasse F, Jalenques I, Guérin J, Coudert AJ.
Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 2000 May-Jun;69(3):137-46.

Although Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) had been found effective for the treatment of social anxiety in multiple studies, a direct comparison study with some of the other models was needed. The investigators in this study sought to compare effectiveness of CBT and what is probably the most common type of psychotherapy offered in most communities, Supportive Therapy (ST).

The researchers randomly assigned 67 participants suffering from social anxiety disorder into 2 treatment groups—CBT and ST. The participants agreed to abstain from medications and any other treatments beyond CBT or ST during this study.

Results were obtained for the primary social anxiety measure, the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), for both the CBT and ST groups after 6 weeks of treatment and again after 12 weeks. Then, after 12 weeks, the ST group was provided with CBT treatment and results were later obtained on the same measures.

The investigators found that the CBT group had much greater improvements than the ST group in the LSAS scores by week 6. By week 12, the CBT group had performed better than the ST group on almost all of the measures. When the ST participants had completed the ST treatment at 12 weeks, and were switched to CBT, they were later found to have experienced statistically significant improvements in the LSAS, similar to the original CBT group.

The researchers concluded that “CBT was more effective than ST and demonstrated longlasting effects” for social anxiety.

For more information: