Social Anxiety & Social Phobia
Do you fear socializing and being yourself around others? Do you tend to avoid situations where you may be judged? Is it affecting the quality of your life, not only causing anxiety but increasing isolation and loneliness?
Social Anxiety is an intense fear or anxiety about social situations, usually unfamiliar ones being the most difficult, because you believe you may be judged negatively, embarrassed, or humiliated. This fear causes avoidance of anxiety-producing social situations or intense fear when you cannot avoid them.
The treatment for Social Anxiety, or Social Phobia
You may be able to relate to this CBT model of Social Anxiety but still be unable to break the cycle. CBT with elements of ACT (Acceptance and commitment therapy) can help you gradually break the pattern of social anxiety. You can decrease your suffering and discomfort while gaining social freedom.
involves understanding your specific fear thoughts (Cognitions), beliefs (Core Beliefs), situational triggers, and behaviors you use to avoid these situations or to avoid feeling social fear and negative self-judgments. It usually also includes ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention), gradually participating in social cases of increasing difficulty to experiment with your expectations, and learning to feel the fear and stay social anyway. Sometimes, too, you may need to build confidence in your social skills and confidence in yourself as well.
Throughout treatment, this will allow more social ease and enjoyment of social interactions, build self-confidence, social support, and friends, and decrease isolation and loneliness.
Example Psychotherapy Goals:
• socializing enjoyably • talking to strangers • Meeting people and making friends • Dating and forming relationships • Being physically intimate • Eating, drinking, writing, walking, working, hanging out or dancing when others may be observing • Speaking up in groups and giving presentations • performing on stage • being assertive • revealing personal information about yourself • interviewing for jobs, networking, and advancing your career • using public bathrooms comfortably • feeling less embarrassed and upset by mistakes and social blunders • feeling less embarrassed and self-conscious about blushing, sweating or other visible anxiety symptoms • improving your mood and self-confidence
A CBT Model of Social Anxiety