What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety refers to nervousness, fear and emotional discomfort about social situations. This is usually because of a fear about doing something embarrassing, or making a bad impression, or being judged critically by others.
Almost everyone has felt nervous speaking in front of a group or anxious when communicating with another person at some point or another. The difference between social anxiety and normal apprehension of social situations is that social anxiety involves an intense feeling of fear in social situations.
Thus, shyness and social anxiety can range in intensity from being fairly mild to completely incapacitating. In some cases, social anxiety may prevent someone from developing friendships, working, going to college or even standing in a public place.
CBT for Social Anxiety
"When I started therapy I was lonely and depressed. I thought nobody wanted to spend time with me. I gave myself an extremely hard time. I rejected myself before anybody else could do so and I avoided all social situations. I was convinced my work colleagues didn’t like me and I didn’t fit in. I closed in on myself and became isolated, which exacerbated how bad I was feeling. There were times when I wondered if there was any point in going on.
I have undertaken a course of CBT with Sarah, which has had a dramatic impact on my life. I now socialise regularly and look forward to social events. I no longer dwell on thoughts such as I don’t fit in and I now enjoy interacting with others. I now participate in conversations rather than just being an observer. I look forward to the opportunity of meeting new people and joining groups. I have been able to accept my fears and I no longer give them the power to control me. CBT and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) have allowed me to have a completely different perspective. I look forward to living the rest of my life by engaging fully in it and allowing people to now be part of my life."
Female aged 47
“I would recommend CBT for working on social anxiety. I went into it with an open mind and feel I benefitted very much from that. When I started I felt really nervous in social situations and as a result of which I was conscious of my hands shaking. I thought other people noticed my nervousness and judged me for it. I had started to avoid social situations.
At first I did not notice big changes from the therapy, but now, I feel like a different person. I am really pleased with CBT and just feel normal.”
Female age 43
“Doing CBT for social anxiety allowed and encouraged me to do a college course. I had been thinking about doing a course for years, but felt overwhelmed with fears of social judgement and of not fitting in.
CBT put these fears into perspective and put me in control of those fears. This allowed me to participate in class and to rationalise certain situations, which would have really affected me in the past to the extent I would have left the course contributing to further issues.”
Female (aged 43)
“Doing CBT sessions I was able to overcome my shyness around meeting new people and going into unfamiliar social situations. Working with Sarah enabled me to identify exactly what was bothering me. I realised it was the fear of being judged and thinking people wouldn’t find me interesting enough.
Using the CBT techniques, I joined new social groups and learnt that in fact people like me. In the process I enjoyed myself. Indeed I am still enjoying myself.
I am so much more full of self-confidence I am moving to another country where I do not know anybody.”
Female (aged 38)
EMDR For Social Anxiety
“EMDR has helped me with my confidence to go out socially. I used to feel really nervous and anxious about going out socially e.g. going to restaurants, bars or anywhere new. I would highly recommend it.“
Male (aged 26)