Social Anxiety Therapy

Social anxiety can make you feel scared to be yourself and naturally enjoy the company of others. There is a fear of being criticized, embarrassed or judged which makes socializing stressful.

For this reason, many people with social anxiety often avoid social situations or tolerate them with discomfort. This can be extremely painful when there is a deep desire to have meaningful relationships and friendships in your life.

Anxiety makes this feel difficult and overwhelming at times. You are tired of being quiet, feeling shy, and missing out on fun. You want to share your opinions without fear and stop worrying about what other people think about you.

As an anxiety therapist, I understand and I’m ready to help. If you are motivated to learn new ways of dealing with social anxiety and gaining more confidence in the way you interact with people, schedule a complimentary consultation with me.

What are Social Anxiety Signs and Symptoms?

Social anxiety feels differently for each individual person. Moreover, symptoms vary across situations and is dependent on the circumstances and interpretation of each individual social interaction. Each person’s level of comfort when socializing can vary whether it is in person, by phone, or social media. 

Because of the variability here, you may find yourself quite capable of maintaining relationships and being active in some social arenas. And at the same time, you may experience intense fear and less confidence in others.

However, there are specific symptoms that define and characterize social anxiety disorder or social phobia.

These include the following symptoms:

  • persistent fear or anxiety about one or more social situations in which you are exposed to possible scrutiny by others (i.e, being observed, talking, or performing in front of others)
  • social situations almost always provoke fear or anxiety
  • the fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the actual threat of the social situation and causes significant distress in social, occupational, or other areas of life functioning
  • social situations are avoided or endured with intense fear or anxiety

Physical Signs

Some signs of social anxiety are felt in the body. For example, trembling and shaking, sweaty palms, muscle tension, and increased heart rate are physical signs. Many people also experience a heat sensation or blushing in the face.

Thoughts and Emotions

Other signs of social anxiety are related to thoughts and emotions. Fear of being negatively judged or observed by others, being easily embarrassed, or fear of behaving in a way that can lead to being rejected or criticized. This can make socializing feel far from exciting.

Negative thoughts: imagining worse case scenarios, self-criticism and negative self-talk, thoughts negatively comparing yourself to others and imagining what they think about you.

Emotions: embarrassed fearful, ashamed, self-doubt, nervousness, sadness, lonely before, during or after social situations.

Avoidance Behaviors

The impulse to withdraw is common. Avoidance often becomes the primary way to alleviate your anxiety. It temporarily reduces feelings of nervousness and fear.

young adult woman with social anxiety feeling shy and looking down

Unfortunately, the more we avoid, the more anxious we get over time. Avoiding socializing or speaking up will not lead to long-term solutions that resolve anxiety.

Instead, avoidance will prolong the symptoms and can also intensify them. As a result, you can feel ashamed and tired of missing out on life’s adventures.

It affects important areas of your life such as school, work and friendships.

Counseling Can Help

Counseling can help you to discover a healthy way to reduce social phobia. Connecting with others and allowing your personality and awesomeness to shine through during social interactions is possible.

young adult women with social anxiety talking outside and smiling

The process begins with some willingness to explore thoughts, emotions and behaviors that may keep you feeling stuck.

Therapy helps you strengthen your inner resources and learn how to tone down your inner critic. Imagine socializing with less fear and anxiety.

Social Anxiety FAQs

Can Social Anxiety Be Cured Naturally?

Psychotherapy or counseling is an effective treatment to address social anxiety naturally and without the use of medication. Many people are able to achieve successful results in therapy for social anxiety.

Talking with a licensed mental health counselor specializing in anxiety disorders will give you a better understanding of anxiety. You will learn techniques to reduce anxiety symptoms and feel less fearful when facing social situations.

All of this can be done naturally because it involves changing unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors. Taking intentional action steps to work on reducing anxiety symptoms leads to results. It is not common for social anxiety to be cured naturally without any intervention at all.

In fact, symptoms can worsen over time if they are not treated. In certain circumstances, symptoms are severe enough to warrant medication. And consulting with a medical provider in this case will determine best course of treatment for you to feel well.

Therapy for social anxiety is an intervention. It is useful in many ways because you have support from a professional while on the path to controlling anxiety.

Please don’t hesitate to seek support when you need it or even before you think help is necessary. Counseling can prevent a lot of pain and suffering.

Are Women More Likely to Have Social Anxiety Disorder?

Women are more likely than men to develop social anxiety disorders. Approximately 12.1% of adults in the United States are diagnosed with social anxiety disorder at some time in their lifetime. A higher percentage of women are diagnosed than men. 

This tells us that addressing and treating anxiety is an important part of women’s mental health. Women are often involved in many activities and wear many hats and different roles that can increase stress and affect anxiety.

Anxiety in women can be exacerbated with hormone changes as well. This is true during the menstrual cycle as well as during or after pregnancy. Postpartum anxiety can affect many women even if they’ve never had anxiety in the past. Anxiety therapy for new moms is helpful in this case.

While social phobia commonly starts in childhood, everyone is different and it can affect any woman during the lifespan.

How Does Social Anxiety Treatment Help?

Overthinking, questioning yourself, and rehearsing before, during, and after a social event is time consuming and stressful. Social anxiety treatment can help you to discover the underlying causes of your fears.

You learn to build confidence, social skills, and relaxation techniques that work in various social scenarios. Practicing and implementing new strategies when you socialize will lead to reduced anxiety and more enjoyment.

How Long Does Therapy for Social Anxiety Last?

The short answer is…it depends. It depends on your individual history, severity of symptoms, and how long you’ve been dealing with anxiety. Due to several factors, length of time will be different for each person. But, usually people start to feel better and less anxious after several sessions.

Motivation is also a component of therapy. Willingness to try new strategies and attend scheduled sessions consistently will increase success for you.

Connect with a Therapist in Rockland County, NY for Anxiety Support

Social phobia can get better with support and treatment. If you are looking for support in managing anxiety, schedule a complimentary consultation to see how I can help. I provide counseling for New York State residents via online telehealth platform. I’d love to hear from you.