Bryan is a 35-year-old Accountant who works in the city. He lives with his partner of 15 years, and their 6-year-old child. Bryan takes a 75 minute car ride to work rather than take a 30 minute train ride in order to avoid other commuters. He spends hours rehearsing what he will say prior to presenting his work at the weekly staff meeting, and feels as though he blushes and sweats when in the presence of his boss. His partner is worried, as Bryan has begun to drink excessively at home before going to social outings.
- Avoid social or performance situations such as parties, giving presentations or meeting new people, particularly when unfamiliar people will be present?
- Spend time worrying after social interactions, replaying what you did or didn’t say and wondering if you sounded boring or stupid?
- Worry that you will shake, stumble over words or go red in the face when speaking to new people?
- Avoid any situation where you may be the centre of attention?
- Spend hours grooming or rehearsing conversations before attending social events?
- Avoid eye contact, speaking on the phone or eating and drinking in public?
- Have difficulty sharing your opinion or being assertive?
- Make excuses about your appearance?
- Remain quiet in social situations?
- Drink alcohol or take drugs in order to cope with social situations?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions therapy can assist you with overcoming these barriers, and help you improve your confidence to succeed in social situations.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social Anxiety Disorder is a type of phobia where anxiety is experienced in social and performance situations. The main feature of this disorder is the fear of being negatively evaluated.
In any 12 month period 5% of the Australian population is suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder.
It can be helpful to think of Social Anxiety Disorder like a severe form of shyness. Unlike those who are shy, however, Social Anxiety Disorder negatively impacts on patients’ lives and interferes with their ability to function on a daily basis just like Bryan’s story suggests.
Will my anxiety go away on its own?
Like most anxiety disorders, Social Anxiety Disorder is unlikely to resolve itself without intervention, and can instead persist over time. Often, it can be an incredibly frustrating and disconcerting experience, as it prevents you from being your best self in front of others.
Instead, you are more likely to avoid social events, avoid speaking up at work meetings, or even avoid going to your local shopping centre, just to hide away and alleviate the discomfort. Sadly, this creates more undesirable consequences in the long term such as loneliness, reduced self-confidence and sometimes even depression.
Working together with a psychologist can help you to learn skills that will allow you to participate confidently in social situations such that anxiety no longer impacts on your life.
But I’ve felt like this for so long, can therapy really help now?
Many of our patients have said that they felt hopeless about the possibility of reducing their anxiety as an adult after suffering the isolation and missed opportunities that can come from experiencing Social Anxiety Disorder over a long period of time.
Imagine what it would be like to confidently participate in a social event without rehearsing, trying to look inconspicuous, or worrying about what may occur.
Our psychologists regularly work with people who have suffered with Social Anxiety Disorder for many, many years and are now enjoying their social lives for the first time. It’s never too late. We can work together towards an enjoyable and fulfilling social life for you too. Call us today for a FREE 10 minute consultation to discuss how therapy can assist you to move towards having the confidence you desire and deserve.
Benefits of working with a psychologist
Therapy can assist you to:
- Understand anxiety and how it is maintained.
- Learn skills to manage anxiety symptoms.
- Learn strategies to cope in social situations.
- Improve confidence in social settings.
- Share your opinion without worrying about the consequences.
- Give presentations or speeches confidently.
- Reduce your angst about being the centre of attention.
- Be more assertive.
- Have a more carefree attitude about how your performance in social situations.
- Reduce your reliance on rehearsing conversations prior to a social event.
- Reduce the reliance on drugs or alcohol in order to cope with social situations.
What does therapy involve?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the most effective treatment for social anxiety disorder. You can read more about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy here.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder involves:
- Assisting you to focus on your interactions with others rather than your anxiety symptoms (e.g. blushing, shaking).
- Assisting you to recognise and adjust behaviours that make social anxiety worse in the long run such as the avoidance of social events.
- Challenging and testing out the accuracy of thoughts that make social situations a lot harder to deal with such as “I am boring, no one would enjoy speaking with me.”
- Gradually engaging you with a range of social situations until you are able to manage them comfortably.
- Obtaining realistic feedback about how you present yourself in social situations.
How do I make an appointment or access more information?
Call today for a FREE no-obligation 10 minute phone consultation to discuss how we can help you to develop the confidence you need to thrive in social and performance situations.
Ready to get started? Please contact us on 02 8814 5703 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment.
“Engagement with social situations should be a pleasurable experience, not a feared one. Let’s work together towards reducing the impact of fear and allowing you to thrive in social interactions”
Jo Gravina, former therapist on the internationally renowned social anxiety treatment program, Macquarie University.