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Anxiety Doesn’t Work

Treatment Options for SAD


Jane P. Sheldon
Department of Behavioral Sciences
University of Michigan—Dearborn
Danielle Balaghi
Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education
Michigan State University


This case study tells the story of Mo, an individual with social anxiety disorder who seeks mental health treatment. The purpose of this case is not to have students diagnose the central figure, but rather to help students gain insight into one way in which social anxiety disorder may manifest in an individual, as well as to learn about and critically evaluate various treatment options. Students will explore five therapeutic approaches: cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy (PDT), mindfulness-based therapy (MBT), benzodiazepines (BPs), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The case takes about 75 minutes to run as a jigsaw activity, a cooperative method of learning in which students teach their peers. Depending on the level of the course and how in-depth the instructor wants students to explore the topics, this activity can be scaled for a variety of courses, ranging from introductory psychology courses to upper-level, undergraduate courses pertaining to the treatment of psychological disorders.


  • Gain insight into social anxiety disorder (SAD), a relatively common psychopathology.
  • Differentiate between treatment efficacy and treatment effectiveness.
  • Distinguish between various treatment options for individuals with SAD.
  • Critically assess the pros and cons of various treatment methods.
  • Determine which licensed professionals are qualified to provide the various treatments.
  • Weigh evidence regarding the benefits and limitations of different treatments in order to make a treatment recommendation.
  • Investigate the potential role of clients' demographic characteristics (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status) in the treatment of SAD.


psychopathology; psychological treatment; psychological disorders; anxiety; social anxiety disorder; social phobia; SAD; psychopharmacology; cognitive-behavioral therapy; CBT; psychodynamic; PDT; mindfulness; MBT; benzodiazepines; SSRI

Topical Areas


Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division



Type / Methods




Subject Headings

Psychology  |   Pharmacy / Pharmacology  |   Medicine (General)  |  

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

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Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

Supplemental Materials

The following set of handouts is designed to structure student responses as described in the teaching notes for this case study.



Answer Key

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