Services: Social Anxiety
Social anxiety is a common form of anxiety where there is a persistent fear or uncomfortableness of social or performance situations in which embarrassment and/or scrutiny by others may occur. Exposure to certain social situations usually provokes immediate anxiety response, which can be intense. Many people report experiencing panic attack symptoms as a result of the exposure and may also cause (i.e., sweating, palpitations, stuttering, blushing, butterflies in stomach, and even IBS).
In addition, the individual is concerned with having others notice that they are experiencing anxiety which further increases the avoidance of the social situation. The individual believes that they are not capable or competent to function "appropriately" and comfortably in the social situation. Often times, there is the belief that one does not have the "skills" necessary to engage in the social situation and does not want to appear silly, foolish or be made fun of.
Common examples of social anxiety situations:
- Socializing in high school, college or social gatherings
- Making new friends
- Public speaking
- Job activities, conferences
- Group activities
- Being in crowds
The thinking of individuals with social anxiety is future oriented. The individual engages in future predictions that are negative and characterized by "What if..." self statements.
For example, "What if I introduce myself and start a conversation with someone I don't already know and they make fun of me?"
The individual creates a future scenario that has an unpleasant ending and, therefore, avoids the situation because of the belief that the negative outcome will occur.
CBT assists the individual in restructuring the distorted believes and negative predictions about social events. Thus, decreasing the anxiety and avoidance of social situations.
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Dr. Edward Giaquinto, Ph.D. - A licensed, clinical psychologist who has been assisting people in improving their life by increasing their emotional and mental health.