Helping Social Anxiety/Phobia with Psychotherapy at 1066 Therapy
covering East Sussex, Battle, Hastings, Bexhill, Rye, Heathfield, Hailsham, Eastbourne, Crowborough, Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Ashford and Kent.
Therapy can effectively help all symptoms of social anxiety/social phobia. In most cases, appropriate tailored therapy can completely resolve symptoms. I have successfully helped a wide variety of clients with all sorts of social anxiety problems at my practice just outside of Battle, East Sussex.
What is social anxiety/phobia?
Social phobia (sociophobia) or social anxiety is the second most common phobia that we can develop. Adults with this problem often, but not always, say to me that they were a shy child. Social anxiety is basically a fear of others judging us. Or perhaps rejecting, criticising, laughing at, or humiliating us. When we have social anxiety we often worry about what others are thinking about us. For instance, ‘have I said the wrong thing?’, ‘do they really like me?’ etc. On the face of it, this may not seem like something to get anxious or fearful about. After all who really cares what others think, right? Wrong! People with social anxiety care a lot. It is a very common symptom and can have a really negative effect on our life.
Who has social anxiety?
A wide range of people of varying ages, gender, race and background have this anxiety or phobia. The official statistics show that about 13% of the population have this particular type of anxiety or phobia to some degree. This 13% figure comprises those who have a medical diagnosis of social anxiety or sociophobia. However, judging by the clients I see every day, I believe that this % figure is much higher in reality. This is because many people with the problem are never medically diagnosed. In fact, just about everyone who consults me for help, whatever their main problem is, has some degree of social anxiety too.
Many of us make the mistake of thinking that ‘social anxiety’ means that we only feel anxious in ‘social’ situations (e.g. in a pub, at a party etc). However, social anxiety actually means that we can feel anxious in any (although not necessarily all) situation which involves interacting with other people.
Social anxiety is characterised by one or more of the following:
- fearing others judging, criticising or rejecting us
- a fear of others laughing at or otherwise ‘undermining’ us
- worrying about what other people might think about us
- a feeling or sense of ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’m less than’
- ‘shyness’ – often experienced during childhood
- performance anxiety (driving test, exams, sex etc)
- shy bladder or paruresis: usually men – can’t pee in public loos or when ‘on the spot’
- fear of making mistakes / failure
- paying excessive attention to our personal appearance – face, hair, clothes, shoes
- a general worry of social situations
- perfectionism – being a perfectionist
- being a ‘people-pleaser’ (to avoid conflict and/or rejection)
- a dislike of using the telephone
- a preoccupation with our looks – teeth, hair, make-up, maybe having repeated cosmetic surgery
- a dislike of being ‘put on the spot’,
- disliking/fearing and/or not trusting authority
- feeling anxious being watched when writing or eating
- a dislike/fear of public speaking
Social anxiety is commonly linked with the following problems:
- excessive blushing
- excessive sweating (due to anxiety)
- lack of confidence
- low self esteem
- feelings of inferiority and/or insecurity
There is an old Spanish proverb which says “a life lived in fear is a life only half lived” and I think this rings true here. When we have social anxiety we can feel that, at best we are prevented from achieving our full potential in life. At worst we are almost unable to lead a ‘normal’ life. It is quite common for us to try to limit our life and lifestyle to try to manage, control, or even avoid, situations where we might experience our symptoms.
What Causes Social Anxiety
Firstly, babies aren’t born ‘shy’, or feeling uncomfortable in themselves. They don’t fear others judging them, or have any of the other symptoms of social anxiety. We often think, “it’s just the way I am ” or “there must be something wrong with me”. We may think “I’m an anxious person”. None of that is true. We generally develop these problems during our developmental years. Something went wrong somewhere, perhaps some distressing events or occasionally a trauma. Sometimes we have parents who are overly critical or who tease us, for example. They don’t necessarily mean any harm but these things, when repeated often enough, ‘hit home’.
The events are often long forgotten by the time we are aware of having any sort of anxiety. Nevertheless, these events caused strong feelings which we have not processed properly. They are therefore causing some inner emotional conflict. In addition, sometimes the meanings we took from some of our early experiences resulted in negative ‘core’ beliefs about ourselves. Either or both of these factors are the most common causes of social anxiety. So, in order to resolve social anxiety, any emotional conflict needs to be resolved and any negative core beliefs need to be changed.
I offer different approaches for this (and every problem). The choice of which one (or more) to take depends on the individual and their circumstances. We usually make the decision together during the initial consultation.
Please browse my site for information on the various therapies / approaches that I practise.
CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Call me now on 07722783490 or 01424 772392 to book your free 30 minute initial consultation.