It is normal to feel slightly anxious or nervous when we know we are going to be judged on our abilities or character as a person. For example, you might feel nervous meeting your future in-laws for the first time, or if you have to speak in front of a crowd, or go on a first date. This type of anxiety is healthy, as it prepares you to focus on doing your best. However, some people experience increased anxiety in a number of social situations, even in everyday ordinary social interactions. This is called Social Anxiety or Social Phobia.
There are several well-researched treatments that are effective in treating Social Anxiety, including: Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Self-Help, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) and medication.
We are experienced and trained in treating psychological difficulties like Social Anxiety. If you are experiencing Social Anxiety and would like some professional assistance contact us at Peaceful Mind Psychology.
More than regular nervousness and shyness, social anxiety describes the experience of intense fear of social situations, to the point where it impacts your daily activities or relationships. Social anxiety symptoms vary significantly across individuals, but some of the most common include fear of interacting with others, being judged or embarrassing oneself in front of others, and worrying about others noticing your anxiety.
There are several well-researched treatments that are effective in treating Social Anxiety, including but not limited to Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Exposure-based Therapies. Medication can also be helpful in treating social anxiety, especially when combined with talk therapy. While working on your social anxiety, although it can be hard, it is also important to keep showing up to as many of your social commitments as you can tolerate.
Someone may be more likely to develop social anxiety if they have a family history of anxiety (genetics), or have family members who behaved anxiously when they were growing up (modelling that there’s something to be afraid of). Social anxiety may also be triggered by environmental and social factors such as a history of bullying, temperament, or a combination of several of these factors.
Though it does not necessarily cause it, research suggests that long periods of isolation can lead to increased social anxiety symptoms. It is normal to find social situations more difficult after emerging from particularly solitary environments, such as COVID-19 lockdown. This is because like anything, without practice, it can be hard to maintain our skills – socialising is no different! Be gentle with yourself and ease back into social environments slow and steady. If you are finding this process overwhelming, it can be helpful to get support from a therapist with strategies and skills to help you cope.