Social Anxiety Therapy
Is social anxiety ruining your life?
Social anxiety can be totally debilitating. You struggle with simple interactions like making a phone call or asking a grocery clerk where to find the one item you came to the store to find. You find yourself saying no to invitations to do anything, or go anywhere where there might be an unfamiliar person. You wish it wasn’t this way, but avoiding these things is the only way you know how to deal. The only time you really feel like you can be yourself is when you’re home. You wish you were like everyone else. It seems as though the rest of the world is confident, and able to talk to people with no trouble. But the thought of talking to anyone other than close friends and family elicits such strong anxiety. “What will I say? What if people notice how nervous I am? I cant stand everyone looking at me!” Even if you don’t experience thoughts like that, you just FEEL like your every move is being watched. When you are out in public, you find yourself avoiding eye contact at all costs, maybe listening to music to make yourself seem unavailable, and just praying no one stops to talk to you.
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety (or social phobia) looks different for different people, but at its core, it is an extreme fear of judgment or feeling humiliated in front of others. This fear is so intense that in order to cope, many sufferers begin to severely restrict different aspects of their lives. People, situations, and opportunities are avoided as a means of dealing with the anxiety.
Does this sound like you?
you fear attending parties, or being introduced to new people
Being put on the spot makes you feel panicky. You avoid being called on or speaking up in classes or participating in meetings at work
You’re embarrassed to be seen eating in public
You’re embarrassed to be seen using public restrooms
You worry about social interactions far before they happen, and you ruminate about them afterwards, replaying all the things you did wrong in your head
You feel weird or awkward around most people
You can’t shake the feeling that everyone is watching you
If you are exposed to a feared social situation, its hard to think straight, your heart races, you cant focus.
the idea of going on dates or going to a job interview feels terrifying
social interactions such as ordering food at a restaurant or checking out at the grocery store are very difficult for you
If you found yourself saying yes to more than a couple of the points above, you may have social anxiety.
Physical Symptoms of Social anxiety
trouble swallowing/feeling as though your throat is closing up
trembling or shaking
mind goes blank/cant think straight
You’re not alone
social anxiety is the third leading diagnosed mental health issue in the world. Millions of people world wide are struggling just like you. The unfortunate truth is that most people wait years, even decades before they decide to seek help. It’s important for you to know that there are so many options available to you, and the sooner you seek treatment, the quicker the recovery.
Can social anxiety be cured?
Like any other mental health concern, there are so many factors that go into why someone might experience a disorder. Mental health is impacted by our environment, our experiences, our biology, our physical health, our internal and external resources, and so much more.
without getting too science-y, the emerging field of epigenetics points to an interplay between our genes and our environment. What scientists are finding is that even if you have genetic predisposition to something, we can turn certain genes “on” or “off” based on lifestyle factors. What that means for you, is that making certain changes can impact your experience of anxiety. Heck, recent research shows that eating more fermented foods helps to ease anxiety for some (check it out here). Therapy is really effective for helping people work through their social anxiety.
what does counseling for Social Anxiety look like?
Psychotherapy is helpful for social phobia for many reasons. We will explore the connection between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and how they impact each other. You will learn skills to help you better manage your anxious thoughts and feelings in the moment. If your social anxiety has severely restricted your engagement in certain aspects of your life, we will create a plan and action steps to help you get back to what is important to you. With many clients we find that their social anxiety was impacted by past experiences in which they felt ashamed or embarrassed. If that is the case, we can use EMDR therapy to help your brain more successfully process those past experiences so they no longer negatively impact your daily functioning.
Shameless plug- I myself used to struggled greatly with social anxiety, and now I talk with people for a living :) If that’s not a testament to the fact that change can happen, I don’t know what is.
there are so many effective therapy treatments that can help you take back control of your life and minimize the impact social anxiety has on your daily life. While the feeling of anxiety is something we all experience and cant get rid of completely, it doesn’t have to control your life.
Take the first step.
For those who struggle with social anxiety, the thought of seeking help or talking to a professional may seem very overwhelming. In fact, you may have been thinking about it for a long time, but time and again the anxiety holds you back from reaching out. It takes courage to begin working towards change. Know that the first step is the hardest part. I strive to make my clients feel as comfortable and confident as possible as we begin the counseling process. If you would like to learn more about how therapy can be helpful for your social anxiety, connect with me below.