Lauren Stevenson, PsyD., Director
CBT for anxiety disorders, such as Social Anxiety, aims to help a person develop a more adaptive response to a fear. The focus is on helping the client identify the thought patterns that sustain the feeling of anxiety, while helping them change the way they react to anxiety provoking situations. The goals is not to eliminate anxiety, as anxiety is an important emotion that alerts us to danger - but rather, to help people learn how to accurately interpret situations and to no longer avoid social situations that make them uncomfortable, especially when such situations are vital to daily life, such as activities related to participating in school or work, meeting new people, or being around others.
National Institute of Mental Health Link
Social Anxiety Disorders
Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is diagnosed when people become overwhelmingly anxious and excessively self-conscious in everyday social situations. People with social phobia have an intense, persistent, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of doing things that will embarrass them. They can worry for days or weeks before a dreaded situation. This fear may become so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other ordinary activities, and can make it hard to make and keep friends.
While many people with social phobia realize that their fears about being with people are excessive or unreasonable, they are unable to overcome them. Even if they manage to confront their fears and be around others, they are usually very anxious beforehand, are intensely uncomfortable throughout the encounter, and worry about how they were judged for hours afterward.
Physical symptoms that often accompany social phobia include blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, nausea, and difficulty talking.
(National Institute of Mental Health)