International Group



Read all about the program (below).  Candidates need to have come close to finishing the series "Overcoming Social Anxiety: Step by Step" so that we can spend most of the group time on behavioral activities.  Thomas A. Richards. psychologist, Matthew Whitley, behavioral therapist.   

  1. Be Informed and Committed.

    We do not want you to come unless you are ready, willing, and motivated to get better. It is important that you be as informed as possible before you make the decision to come to SAI. Read our literature and the articles on our website.

  2. Have Social Anxiety Disorder as defined by the DSM-5: 300.23.

    This is an intensive, comprehensive CBT treatment program for people with social anxiety disorder ONLY. We cannot admit people with other clinical anxiety disorders and/or other mental health care problems. Most people with social anxiety have “bleed over” problems with other types of anxiety and depression. This is typical and is not what we are referring to.

    We cannot admit people to the group with severe social anxiety (i.e., strong avoidance) where one does not work and rarely leaves the house. Specialized treatment, appropriate medication, and more time are usually necessary for improvement in these cases. The good news is that even avoidant social anxiety can be treated successfully, given time, commitment, and patience. However, people must be willing to take the typical steps toward recovery at home BEFORE coming to SAI. Other people have moved to Phoenix to take part in the local groups. This is preferable step, if possible. 

  3. Apply and submit the application fee.

  4. Take time to provide as much information as you can on your application. There is plenty of room to write your responses to the application questions. We want to make sure that your investment in this program is the best option for you, and your application, with as much detail as you can include, helps Dr. Richards to determine this.

    Your application must be fully completed, digitally signed and submitted. In order for your application to be reviewed, the application fee must also be submitted. Without the application fee, Dr. Richards will not be able to review the application. The application fee is refundable if the group does not form, or if your application is not accepted for the program.

  5. Complete the audio therapy series Overcoming Social Anxiety: Step by Step

    The audio/video  therapy series is the therapy that Dr. Richards uses at SAI, whether you are coming for individual sessions, the Local Program, or the 3-Week Program. People attending the 3-Week intensive program need to make sure they have finished the series, at least once, and begun to put the cognitive methods, strategies, and concepts into place in their own lives before coming. It would be a waste of time and money to attend the 3-Week Group without having the cognitive concepts fairly mastered.

    Group participants average length of time working directly with the cognitive strategies is one year.  It is preferable you go over the cognitive-behavioral sessions at least twice.  This takes time to do in the right away.  We can not accept people into the international group who have just started the therapy series.  This does not mean that you are an expert at all the strategies – it means that you are familiar with them and have started to use most of them in easy situations with other people and/or groups.

  6. What to expect after you have submitted your application and application fee:

    Schedules are tentative until we have at least 7 group members who have applied and been accepted. You will receive notification from SAI about the status of your application, assuming you have also submitted the application fee. Once we have reached the minimum number of accepted applications, Dr. Richards will be in communication with each applicant to determine final acceptance.

    Once a full, committed group has been accepted, a pre-therapy e-mailing program of 1 to 2 months commences. Dr. Richards will inform you more fully and in more detail about what you will be doing in Phoenix, and you will be reviewing the therapy. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions ahead of time, so that your time here o can be that much more productive. We want you to feel as knowledgeable and comfortable as possible about the program before you arrive.

    The pre-therapy program will be for your group only. You will “meet” your other group members, via e-mail, during this time, before you come to SAI.


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