Counseling to Overcome Social Anxiety

Overcome Crippling ShynessMan Hiding Social Anxiety

Shyness shouldn’t be personally or socially crippling. But for millions that’s exactly their experience. They feel it at parties, business or school events, in public places, and even in their own home.

The fear of being scrutinized and judged, or that you’ll act in a way that will make you feel humiliated or embarrassed, can shrink your world, keep you from enjoying life and finding success in business or at school, rob you of love and intimacy, and lead to intense feelings of shame and anxiety.

When Being Shy Becomes A Bigger Problem

When shyness goes to this more severe level, it’s called Social Anxiety Disorder, and if you recognize the above symptoms as being true for you, know that you are not alone. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America:

  • About 15 million American adults have social anxiety disorder
  • Typical age of onset: 13 years old
  • 36 percent of people with social anxiety disorder report symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help
  • This kind of fear is the third most prevalent psychiatric disorder in Americans, after depression and alcohol dependence, according to the National Comorbidity Survey, a U.S. poll on mental health.

Why You Might Need to Act

When we try to avoid our fears, we shut down and retreat. Loneliness grows, as do our insecurities. But that’s just one way this habitual fear hurts us. If left untreated, some sufferers use alcohol, food, or drugs to reduce the fear at social events, which often leads to other disorders such as alcoholism, eating disorders, and depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 6.8 percent of U.S. adults and 5.5 percent of 13- to 15-year-olds, the age of onset for this chronic disorder, are annually afflicted.

What’s Going On?

Studies from the NIMH show that people suffering with social anxiety have heightened brain responses to perceived negative comments about themselves. What I’ve seen in my patients is that they typically have above average intelligence, skills, and talents.

So what’s going on? Some social anxiety sufferers learned a false lesson about themselves as being “less than” others, perhaps because they were abused or bullied, perhaps because of messages they got from parents or older siblings. But in every case, even if they had “good” or “normal” childhoods, these patients somehow have a story about who they are, and what they are supposed to be that gets in their way.

The normal desire to be accepted and approved of is dialed up so high that it gets in the way of feeling okay with yourself. And it’s hard to relax and enjoy the moment when you’ve convinced yourself “there’s something wrong with me.”

The Treatment We Offer

When we work together, I’ll help you decide the level of social closeness you want and need in your life. We’ll work at your pace to help you learn to believe in yourself, to face the fear of social situations, and to feel good about yourself and those you wish to be close to.

The cognitive and behavioral approaches that I use at the Anxiety Relief Center have proven to be some of the best ways to address this problem. We use a combination of therapy tools and techniques that:

  1. Help motivate you to change and keep you on track
  2. Challenge and replace the negative beliefs that keep you doubtful and about yourself and others
  3. Help you overcome intense shyness and fear, and
  4. Feel calmer and less reactive to the fear that you are being rejected or judged

Move Forward: Call Today for a Free Consult

Most importantly, you’ll feel free to enjoy your world, other people, and move forward into the best life you can create. Call or text me at (805) 728-7288, or email by completing the form here.