We all experience social anxiety at some point in our lives. Many people feel uncomfortable or fearful when giving a speech, being the center of attention or meeting someone new. When the discomfort becomes so overwhelming that people avoid situations or cannot complete an activity, treatment may be useful.
What is Social Anxiety?
People with social anxiety will frequently:
avoid doing things or speaking with people for fear of embarrassing themselves
avoid activities in which they are the center of attention
feel that being embarrassed or looking stupid are some of their worst fears
In any given year about 19 million adults (7.4% of the adult population) in the United States experiences social anxiety to such an extent that it can be called social anxiety disorder or social phobia. Social anxiety is a very frequent problem. It is also a very treatable problem.
Treatment of Social Anxiety
Treatment of social anxiety typically involves:
Psychoeducation: learning what social anxiety is, how it starts and creating a fear and avoidance hierarchy specific to the individual. The hierarchy is a list of the important social situations the individual fears and avoids, from minor to major.
Cognitive re-structuring: learning to observe the negative things we say to ourselves in socially anxious settings and how to challenge them.
Exposure: practicing going into difficult situations, first in the therapy office and then in the real situation. These exercises allow the individual to slowly but surely teach themselves how to handle the feared situations.
If you would like help with social anxiety, I’d be happy to work with you. Please give me a call: 888-933-3539. I’d be happy to speak with you.