Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

This paper introduces a novel approach to internet treatment for social anxiety. The goal of this treatment was to address key limitations of current standalone treatments (Helgadottir, Menzies, Onslow, Packman, & O'Brian, 2009). The 'computer psychologist' designed for this study used fully automated, prewritten individualised sample answers in order to simulate a human-human interaction through a human-computer interface. Two males who sought treatment for stuttering and met the diagnosis for social phobia according to the DSM-IV and ICD-10 criteria were selected for this study. After receiving the treatment, both users no longer met criteria for social phobia. Also, significant improvements were observed on other psychometric tests, including measures of unhelpful cognitions, behavioural avoidance, quality of life, and low mood. The quality of the interaction appeared to be similar to face-to-face therapy, indicating that the 'computer psychologist' established an effective therapeutic relationship, and the automated techniques used were sufficiently engaging to prompt users to log on regularly and complete the treatment program.

Original publication




Journal article


Behaviour Change

Publication Date





254 - 270