An estimated 15 million Americans experience anxiety, fears, worries, or just feel uncomfortable in social situations. Symptoms of social anxiety typically include the fear in social situations of being judged, offending someone, being embarrassed or humiliated, or being the center of attention.
Nobody wants to be embarrassed or humiliated, and we all want to avoid offending others. These concerns ideally should not make us avoid interacting with other people. If your social anxiety is under control, a negative social experience should not prevent you from continuing to enjoy the company of others and it should not make you want to avoid interacting with others in the future. If your ability to interact with others is being negatively affected by fear, it is time to get help.
An invisible wall
People with social anxiety have the same need for friendship and interaction as everyone else. Unfortunately, their anxiety is so overwhelming that they often find themselves avoiding situations that make them uncomfortable. This can lead them to experience more and more isolation. If allowed to persist untreated, social anxiety can cause loneliness, depression, and a lack of fulfillment in life. This can then lead to health problems, as depression can cause a range of physical health issues.
We know that social anxiety often begins in early adolescence. This is an important time for developing social skills. During adolescence, we form a wide range of social relationships, many of which are more complex and emotionally intimate. In addition, this is a time when our social circle typically begins to include many more people than when we were younger, when relationships typically consisted of family, classmates, and other close circles.
If an anxious adolescent avoids relationships, they miss out on opportunities to develop social skills and as a result, can have difficulty in many areas of life. Difficulties in finding employment and dating, as well as making and keeping friends, can lead to depression and a lack of fulfillment. As a parent, you can model healthy social behavior for your child or teenager, and help them get professional assistance for social anxiety if necessary.
Therapy for social anxiety
Although social anxiety usually begins in the teenage years, research shows that people with social anxiety usually wait for an average of ten years before they consider getting help. This is unfortunate and unnecessary as social anxiety is treatable and the methods used are highly effective.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) employs a number of techniques that help you identify and target problematic thought patterns and beliefs that lead you to feel and act a certain way in social situations. With CBT, we reconstruct these patterns and develop a more realistic, empowered way of thinking and functioning when interacting with others.
We are all faced with uncertain social situations every day. We are all able to learn how to handle these situations; all we need is to develop and nurture social skills and anxiety management. CBT will teach you the skills you need, not only to interact well with others but also to manage your own thoughts and emotions.
Therapy provides the support you need while navigating changes within yourself, including your behavior. The journey of overcoming social anxiety is well worth the work, and personalized support from your therapist can make all the difference.
As social beings, we all heal with the assistance of a trusted connection with those who are on our side and want to help us succeed in life. The unconditional, nonjudgmental support of the therapeutic relationship is the cornerstone of the healing journey. Our therapists are here for you.
Erik Olesen & Associates
If you would like to learn more about therapy for social anxiety in Auburn, CA, you are welcome to call and book your first appointment or fill out the contact form and click Send.