Psychology for Social Anxiety
Social anxiety is an anxiety disorder that affects over 10% of Australians. Those affected by social anxiety often experience immense fear and anxiety associated with situations that take place in a social or public setting.
More Than ‘Nerves’
Many people will experience a nervous feeling or shyness when they are ‘put on the spot’, have to perform, give a speech, or attend an interview. Unlike this, social anxiety can significantly affect a person’s day-to-day life and the signs and symptoms can be challenging to cope with. Situations that commonly trigger social anxiety include meeting new people, being observed/watched while you work/perform/participate in an activity, attending events such as parties or meetings, talking on the phone to people you don’t know or in front of others, eating in public, and/or being criticised.
Just like any anxiety disorder, the signs and symptoms vary for each individual. The most common are listed below:
- Thinking that others are observing or judging you
- Fear of being negatively judged and/or offending people and/or feeling socially rejected
- Fear of appearing anxious or embarrassed in front of others
- Feeling a level of fear or anxiety that is out of proportion to the situation
- Commonly avoiding situations that cause social anxiety
- Worrying or obsessing over an upcoming event or situation (often many weeks prior to the event)
- Physically, you may experience a racing heart, increased perspiration, stomach pain, ‘butterflies’, diarrhoea, dry mouth, difficulty speaking/stuttering, and shaking
Seeing a Psychologist or Counsellor
A psychologist or counsellor can provide professional support to help you understand the condition and implement and practise specific evidence-based techniques that will enable you to manage your social anxiety and bring about lasting change. This may include developing skills and techniques for managing anxiety, simple lifestyle changes, and using psychological therapies such as mindfulness techniques and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
CBT is a psychological therapy that is highly effective in the treatment of anxiety. CBT helps you learn to identify and understand how your thoughts may contribute to your anxiety. Through CBT, your psychologist can help you change these thought patterns, therefore reducing the likelihood and intensity of anxiety.
If you feel affected by social anxiety disorder, our Psychology and Counselling team would be humbled to help. Our psychologists are trained professionals with expert knowledge and clinical skills. They aim to build a supportive and empathetic relationship with each client, through actively listening to and understanding each individual’s unique situation, emotions, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, behaviours and actions, and providing support and guidance throughout the process.
You do not need a referral from your doctor to see our Practitioners, however, doing so may attract a medicare rebate. Please contact Integrated Wellness Clinic if you require more information.