People who experience social anxiety and excessive shyness often have to contend with other issues for which they may also require therapy, such as: anxiety, worry, depression, stress, anger, panic, trauma or post-traumatic stress (PTSD), bereavement, grief and loss, relationship problems and social skills development.
"Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it." Mark Twain
Social anxiety is a very unpleasant and debilitating problem. We all occasionally experience low levels of social anxiety to some degree; therefore, it can never be fully prevented. For example, in relation to public speaking, dealing with authority figures, social encounters and sexual performance. However, people with significant social anxiety will experience severe, overwhelming and what seems like unmanageable symptoms.
When someone with social anxiety is faced with one of their feared situations, they may experience some of the following:
Physical symptoms: when in a social situation or imagining being in a social situation, people with social anxiety often experience strong physical symptoms, such as: blushing, sweating, dizziness, heart palpitations, upset tummy, fast breathing, trembling and dry mouth.
Emotions: intense fear, worry, panic and anxiety.
Worrying thoughts about being negatively judged by others or doing something that will lead to embarassment or humiliation, and an increase in self-consciousness. For example: "People will think I'm stupid." "I'm going to make a fool of myself." "People will laugh at me." "I'll be humiliated." "I have nothing interesting to say, I'm boring." "I mustn't look anxious."
Avoidance of social situations, people, places, new situations and opportunities, such as: going to the bank or local shop, eating in public, talking to authority figures, parties or other situations involving meeting people. Or using 'safety behaviours', such as always taking someone with you or drinking alcohol in advance for courage.
Most people occasionally experience some degree of social anxiety. However, when social anxiety interferes with your normal functioning, relationships and daily activities then it means you might need therapeutic help.
The good news is that excessive shyness and social anxiety can benefit from psychological help in the form of therapy. This involves understanding what is happening, learning how to manage your reactions (emotions, thoughts, behaviours) and gradually, at your own pace, going into situations that you fear and applying your learning in order to discover that you can cope, reduce your fear and manage your distress.
To make an appointment for or to make an inquiry, please contact Tracey Johnston, Clinical Director by tel: 07593768129
or email (please click on email link): firstname.lastname@example.org
All communications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality and discretion.
Possibilities Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre
14 - 20 John Street