Social Fitness Training History

Social Fitness Training arose out of the pioneering work of Dr. Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University. The Stanford Shyness Clinic began in the late 1970’s and offered the earliest comprehensive treatment program for shyness.

In order to broaden the availability of these services, the Clinic was moved off-campus into the neighboring community of Palo Alto, and was renamed The Shyness Clinic. From 1982 through 2006, Dr. Lynne Henderson, headed the Clinic. Dr. Henderson is a psychologist with over forty years of clinical experience who has worked with Dr. Zimbardo from the beginning.

During this period, Dr. Henderson developed The Social Fitness Model as a health-based treatment for shyness and social anxiety. She carried out treatment-based research as an integral part of the practice of the clinic. She codified the work in the Social Fitness Training Manuals.

In 1993, Dr. Lynne Henderson formed The Shyness Institute, a non-profit organization focused on the research and educational development of the Social Fitness Training.

In 2006, The Shyness Clinic was moved to the The Kurt and Barbara Gronowski Clinic at Pacific Graduate School of Psychology located in Los Altos, California.

Following this move, Dr. Henderson continued her development of The Social Fitness Model in her private practice, in Palo Alto,California and after 2010 in Berkeley, California. Under the auspices of The Shyness Institute, Dr. Henderson captured, documented, and in 2011 trade-marked this development under the service mark Social Fitness Training (TM).

Starting in 2010, Dr. Henderson began to apply Social Fitness Training more broadly. She was a contractor to Dr. Phil Zimbardo’s non-profit The Heroic Imagination Project. Since 2013, this engagement has been taken up by Courageous Leadership, a for-profit consultancy to institutions seeking to improve the openness and transparency in their workplaces. Social Fitness Training, using role-playing to simulate feared situations, is central to developing people’s capacity to understand and overcome the reluctance to act in the face of threat.

Dr. Henderson offers services for individuals, groups and institutions to clients throughout the entire San Francisco Bay Area, and, more broadly, by telephone. She has offices in Berkeley, California.

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