What is Social anxiety disorder?
Social Anxiety Disorder is the intense fear of judgement from others. The belief that others will see fault in us spirals into a catastrophised version of the future that leads to avoidance of many social situations. If a situation cannot be avoided it is endured but with an intense monitoring of bodily sensations, movements, speech and interactions to ensure that we do not draw judgement. This monitoring draws attention to any potential flaws, increasing pressure in social situations and ultimately creating anxiety symptoms, including sweating, blushing, trembling and hand shaking - these symptoms then become another source of worry. With an increased sense of self awareness these symptoms are magnified and the belief grows that others will notice and comment - this threat causing further anxiety. Commonly the situations that the social anxiety sufferer does come through will be "post-mortemed" to consider all of the ways they "felt" strange rather than recognising that they did cope and come through the situation.
Social Anxiety Disorder is the third largest mental health problem in the world today.
CBT for Social Anxiety
CBT can help by studying the negative thoughts that occur in social situations that you find difficult. We can work to challenge these thoughts, consider their validity and move to think in more accurate, helpful ways.
With these skills in place and only when you feel ready; we can then begin to face situations that you would normally be afraid of or avoid. Through this, you will hopefully learn that your predictions of what will happen in these situations do not always come true and your confidence with social situations will grow.
Therapy takes place in a safe and confidential environment and moves at your pace guided by your goals.
Furthermore we can work on social skills in the therapy room and we can also do work on ways to relax to bring down general levels of anxiety.
1 in 8 people will suffer from Social Anxiety at some point in their lifetime.