First Advisor

Steven Thorne

Date of Award

Spring 3-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology and University Honors






social anxiety disorder, acceptance and commitment therapy, psilocybin, psychotherapy


Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is a debilitating mental health condition characterized by an overwhelming fear and anxiety of social rejection that can lead to chronic patterns of social behavioral avoidance. Despite the existence of traditional efficacious treatments, a significant number of individuals either do not respond to treatment or experience a recurrence of symptoms over extended periods, spanning 10-12 years. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a form of acceptance-based behavioral therapy considered part of the "third wave" of cognitive behavioral therapies, has shown promising results in early studies, comparable to those of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that is considered the first-line treatment for SAD. When combined with Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy (PAP), ACT may offer a viable efficacious alternative. This combination has the potential to improve therapeutic outcomes by addressing the underlying emotional and behavioral patterns that perpetuate SAD through a biopsychosocial approach. This paper examines the theoretical basis, practical considerations, and potential challenges associated with this innovative treatment approach.

Persistent Identifier