I need to avoid situations where i’m the centre of attention, as people will be judging me, they will see that I look awkward, and ultimately I’ll make a right fool of myself!
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety disorder (also know as social phobia and excessive shyness) is characterised by a persistent fear of social or performance situations in which the individual believes they will be in some way be evaluated negatively by others.
These problems usually develop in adolescence and the patients can believe that their anxiety is a part of their personality and nothing can be done about these problems. In early childhood if the social interactions and experiences an individual has are perceived as negative, then these experiences start to formulate negative core beliefs within the mind. These core beliefs are triggered by an event that is due to take place, or actually within the social interaction itself, and the pattern of the thoughts generally consist of:
1) Thoughts focusing on how they will cope within social situations and a fear of embarrassment.
2) Thoughts that are heavily focused on what judgments others are making of the individual.
What are the common symptoms of Social Anxiety?
People with social anxiety tend to have specific negative beliefs about themselves in social situations. These beliefs are usually triggered by an up and coming social event, causing anticipatory anxiety. When we become social anxious we tend to focus on how we are coming across to others. These thoughts cause us to feel physical symptoms of anxiety that can cause embarrassment. Usually, when we become socially anxious we have set ourselves high standard of how to act, that are unrealistic or rules we would not usually place on others. Often when we are socially anxious we think about how we could do better in social situations – causing the fear on entering an event and the churning over past interactions.
Can CBT Therapy be used for Social Anxiety?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the main treatment of choice for social anxiety disorder. The CBT therapy will initially help patients to understand what Social Anxiety consists of, as well as helping the patient to challenge their internal beliefs using specially designed CBT techniques to re-train these unhelpful rules and assumptions. Furthermore, the behavioural elements of the therapy will also help the patient to explore situations in real life, again to ascertain how accurate their internal beliefs are and how often these happen in real-life social interactions.
Guidelines produced by National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as the effective psychological treatment to overcome Social Anxiety, and it is why CBT is now a recommended choice of treatment by GP’s and Health Practitioners . According to ‘best evidence’ cognitive behavioural therapy not only has the best outcomes for the treatment of Social Anxiety but in follow up studies it has the best record for maintaining the gains in cognitive behavioural treatment in the long-term too.
We are a pure cognitive behavioural therapy service based in Nottingham and all our CBT Experts are highly skilled and have helped 100’s of clients overcome Social Anxiety. So don’t suffer in silence, call us and start making the changes today!