Emotion Regulation Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder Comorbid with Major Depressive Disorder: A Case Study

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran


Introduction: Emotion Regulation Therapy (ERT) was firstly developed for treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and comorbid Major Depression Disorder (MDD). Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) was also addressed regarding its high comorbidity with GAD and MDD. Despite the preliminary evidence for the utility of this treatment, its efficacy for SAD, particularly when it is accompanied by co-occurring depression, it has not yet been examined.
Method: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of ERT in an individual suffering from SAD and comorbid MDD. Due to the complexity of clinical presentation in patients suffering comorbid disorders, and also the novelty of ERT, the case study method was applied. The subject was a 29 year old woman who had been diagnosed with MDD and SAD by using Social Interaction Anxiety Scale and Beck Depression Inventory and also clinical interview based on DSM-V. The ERT was implemented in 16 sessions during 4 months. The process of changes was examined by re-completing the questionnaires and clinical interview during and at the end of the treatment.
Results: Results showed reductions in social anxiety and depression symptoms and increased use of emotion regulation strategies (attending, allowance, decentering, reframing). The score of psychological wellbeing had also increased.
Conclusion: Emotion Regulation Therapy (ERT) can be effective on reducing symptoms of SAD and comorbid MDD through increasing the motivational awareness, developing regulatory capacities and new contextual learning repertoires. Meanwhile, further research is needed to confirm the findings of the present study.


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