Do you experience intense anxiety or nervousness when faced with social situations?
Do you fear being judged or criticized by others?
Are you always worried about making mistakes, looking bad or being embarrassed in front of others?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you may have social anxiety disorder. While it is normal to feel nervous in some social situations, people who experience this daily tend to avoid everyday interactions that cause them significant fear, anxiety, self-consciousness, and embarrassment because they fear being scrutinized or judged by others. For most, this is a very lonely and frustrating existence.
Some of the situations below might not cause a problem for you. For example, public speaking may be easy, but going to a dinner party might be a nightmare. Or you could
be great at one-on-one conversations but not at stepping into a large college class, or a work meeting.
All socially anxious people have their own reasons for dreading certain situations, these ten situations are commonly very difficult for people with social anxiety.
Social Anxiety … Which of these bother you?
- Social events
- Being the center of attention
- Being watched or observed while completing a task
- Having to say something in a formal, public setting
- Meeting people in authority, such as important people or authority figures
- Making eye contact
Many of my clients with social anxiety spend weeks worrying about attending an event or meeting with people.
They spend weeks worrying about it. Then, Following the event they spend a lot of time analyzing and stressing about how they acted. For some anxious clients anxiety just starts immediately before an event. There are many individual ways that social anxiety shows up and it is important to identify the patterns in therapy.
Social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition. Learning coping skills in therapy sessions can help you gain the confidence you need to improve your ability to interact with others.
The first thing I do in therapy is define how your anxiety manifests in your life. What are your particular fears and worst-case scenarios? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy comes next and we work on questioning and “reality testing” and learning to tolerate your negative and catastrophic thoughts about social situations that trigger you. Then we work together to devise small real-life challenges that get you slightly out of your comfort zone but don’t overwhelm you. Finally, I teach you neurologically based relaxation and mindfulness exercises that help quiet your fears and de-escalate your social anxiety.
If you feel you may have social anxiety disorder, I hope you will contact me. Research suggests that clinically meaningful improvements in symptoms occur for many patients after only 12 weeks of therapy. Let’s get started!