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The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Building Social Confidence

The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Building Social Confidence
Using Compassion-Focused Therapy to Overcome Shyness and Social Anxiety




The New Harbinger Compassion-Focused Therapy Series

Publication date:

About the Book

Shyness is a universal human emotion, a blend of fear and interest, and is associated with many positive personality traits: a considerate nature, thoughtfulness, and the ability to be a good listener, to name a few. However, withdrawing from others has its drawbacks, and if you're very shy, it's likely that you've experienced some of them: loneliness, depression, and self-blaming thoughts that are much harsher than other people's criticism would ever be. The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Building Social Confidence offers a supportive program based in compassion-focused therapy for moving past social anxiety and the self-critical thoughts that propel it.

The program in this book helps you both accept your shyness as part of your personality and challenge your social anxiety when it keeps you from living the life you want. This book also provides dozens of exercises that will help you practice mindfulness, imagery, compassionate thinking, and compassionate action-critical skills that will help you develop the ability to overcome shyness and make strides toward complete social confidence.

This social fitness training program will help you:

  • Quiet the thoughts that trigger social anxiety
  • Replace anxious thoughts with compassionate ones
  • Identify and achieve your goals for social confidence
  • Practice assertiveness skills


Lynne Henderson, PhD, is a psychologist; founder of the Social Fitness Center; founder and codirector of the Shyness Institute in Berkeley, CA; director of applied social research at the Heroic Imagination Project; and author of The... Read more

Books by Lynne Henderson


"This brilliant, original analysis of the nature of contemporary shyness is a must-read for everyone interested in the human condition-shy people and the rest of us, as well."
—Philip Zimbardo, founder of the Heroic Imagination Project and author of Shyness and The Lucifer Effect

"It is so refreshing to find a book of this kind that helps and supports without patronizing or pathologizing. Lynne Henderson combines ideas from psychological theory and clinical practice with the wisdom of Buddhist spirituality to cultivate a unique new approach to understanding shyness. Principles of compassion, empathy, and mindfulness are presented as the tools with which people can better manage their shyness and live positively with it in everyday life. By nurturing self-acceptance rather than self-blame and criticism, the book shows we can promote greater tolerance in both personal and cultural attitudes to shyness."
—Susie Scott, senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Sussex, UK, and author of Shyness and Society and Making Sense of Everyday Life

"A remarkable book that turns the problem of social anxiety inside out, emphasizing inner compassion as the antidote for the self-criticism common among those who are extremely shy. The Compassionate Mind Guide to Improving Social Confidence and Reducing Shyness is a sincere, straightforward, and novel approach to shyness written by a compassionate and astute clinician. The book has broken new ground on the topic and is certain to help many achieve greater social confidence and success."
—Michael A. Tompkins, PhD, founding partner of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy and assistant clinical professor at the University of California, Berkeley

"This book addresses the very essence of what is missing in much of the contemporary mental health treatment industry-compassion. Most books focus on theories and procedures, but it is the healing power of compassion that is the engine that makes these things work. Too often, this engine is dismissed as non-essential or not sufficiently novel to warrant discussion. This volume specifically and intentionally attempts to correct this omission. But the task is tremendous-how do you describe compassion, let alone teach one to have it? This is a valuable effort to do these very things, and mental health treatment will benefit by this book's success."
—Larry E. Beutler, PhD, William McInnes Distinguished Professor of Clinical Psychology at Palo Alto University

"Written by a highly experienced therapist, this book is an essential read for anybody who wants to learn more about shyness and strategies to deal with it by using compassion-focused therapy. Lynne Henderson integrates cognitive-behavioral principles with compassion-focused therapy, a more recent intervention developed by Paul Gilbert. The resulting book is a fascinating text that will be of great value to people who want to learn more about compassion and shyness."
—Stefan G. Hofmann, PhD, professor of psychology at Boston University and author of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder

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