Overcoming Social Anxiety
GROUP THERAPY PROGRAMME
"I’m so anxious around people that my heart beats out of control. I sweat and my face gets red. I just know everyone is staring at
me when my voice cracks, and I can’t say one word."
Most of us feel anxious before making a presentation, asking someone on a date, or going on a job interview. Butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, and pounding heart are normal responses to a new or intimidating social situation. However, some of us may experience an intense fear of being scrutinized and negatively evaluated by others in social or performance situations.
Such persons may recognize that the fear is excessive and unreasonable but may feel powerless against their anxiety.
They are terrified of being embarrassed or humiliated.
How can social anxiety disorder affect your life?
Social anxiety can disrupt family life, reduce self-esteem, and limit work efficiency. For some, it can be socially and economically devastating. It may make it difficult to complete college, interview and obtain a job, and develop friendships and romantic relationships.
The problem is often selective. Some people may have an intense fear of talking to a salesperson or giving a speech, but they may be comfortable in other similar settings. Other people may become anxious during routine activities such as starting a conversation with a stranger or a person in authority, participating in meetings or classes, or dating and attending parties.
What is the Group Therapy Programme for Overcoming Social Anxiety?
This program is a comprehensive approach to the treatment of social anxiety. It employs Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in a group setting so that people can meet others who face similar issues as them and work together to practice interacting with other people. It involves understanding one's anxiety and all its aspects so as to plan, implement and practice strategies to control symptoms, thoughts and behaviours that lead one to avoid social situations and prevent from leading a fuller life. You will not be "forced" or singled out to "perform" or share anything that you are comfortable with. You choose whether you want to participate in each activity.
What are the kind of issues that will be discussed in these meetings?
Why do I have to schedule an Individual Assessment Session before beginning the programme?
Each person is an individual, with a unique background, personality and emotional issues. Sometimes, individuals may be dealing with very severe social anxiety to the extent that it makes their participation in these meetings extremely difficult. In such cases, a different approach may be more suitable and will be recommended. In other instances, other significant psychological issues such as depression often accompany social anxiety and have to be addressed before the person a ready for participation in a Group Programme. The assessment session will be aimed at understanding your individual emotional and psychological situation so that you may gain the maximum benefit from the programme.
How do I know if this approach will be effective for me? Is success guaranteed?
Because each person is unique, it is impossible to guarantee that this program will help you overcome your social anxiety completely. It is a fact that some people benefit more from Group Therapy while others experience only mild reduction in symptoms. However, there are many reasons to believe that you will see a significant decrease in social anxiety if you follow the procedures carefully. That optimism is based on a large body of scientific research that can be accessed at the following links:
How Do I know If This Programme is Appropriate For Me?Embarking on any change program requires a commitment of substantial time and energy. Before making that investment, It is important to carefully consider whether you are ready to change and whether a particular program will meet your needs. Assess whether this program is right for you by considering the following questions.
1. Does being nervous or uncomfortable around other people keep you from doing things you want to do?
2. If you are honest with yourself, are you in your present job (or school) because you only have to deal with people you know well?
3. If you are unemployed, have you avoided looking for a job for fear of interacting with others? Have you avoided getting a job or changing jobs because you are anxious about job interviews?
4. Are you not dating because the thought of going out with someone makes you very nervous or because you are afraid of what will happen if you ask someone out?
5. Do you limit how involved you become with people because you are afraid of letting them get to know you? Do you worry that if people really knew you, they wouldn't like you?
6. Do people often comment that you are quiet, unapproachable, or withdrawn in social situations or meetings?
7. Do you find yourself turning down invitations to social events because you know you would feel uncomfortable if you went?
8. If you do make plans to go to a social event or a work activity that involves other people, do you feel relief if it is cancelled?
9. Does being the center of attention make you feel very uncomfortable and self-conscious?
10. Do you worry about blushing or looking nervous in front of other people?
11. Are you the sort of person who rarely strikes up casual conversations with store clerks, neighbours, passengers sitting next to you on the bus or plane, classmates, or co-workers from other departments?
12. Do people tell you that you worry too much about what others think of you?
13. Are you uncomfortable eating or drinking with others because you worry about spilling your drink or embarrassing yourself in some other way? Do you worry that you don't have good manners?
14. Do you get so nervous talking to people that your voice sounds odd or quivers or you can't get your breath?
15. Do you like other people and daydream about a better social life but doubt your ability to achieve your dream because you are too shy to really get to know people?
16. Do you have trouble stating your opinion or asking for something you deserve because you worry about what others will think of you?
If you said 'yes" to any of these questions and would like to make a change in your life, then this programme applies to you.
(Managing Social Anxiety, Heimberg et al. 2000)
Please download the brochure for meeting & registration details.