As you will see, my approach is different from most peoples. Give me a chance with it – because I think it can help you, too.
It is my experience from suffering from this disorder half of my life that common treatments don’t work very well.
1. Counseling For Social Anxiety Disorder
This type of social phobia treatment will typically involve you sitting and talking with a social anxiety therapist. The techniques used by the therapist are commonly based around a practice called cognitive behavioural therapy.
Despite it’s popularity, I don’t consider it to be very effective at actually reducing the symptoms.
How does the Counseling help?
It’s the term used to describe 1-on-1 (therapist & client) therapy sessions. The client and therapist will typically sit together and discuss the client’s anxious thoughts and behaviours.
The discussion usually adopts a CBT approach (cognitive behavioural therapy). CBT is a type of therapy used primarily to bring out into the open, and challenge, anxious (negative) thoughts or behaviours.
The therapist might ask what type of situations make you anxious. She’ll then help you to establish what thoughts are going through your mind, to make this anxiety happen. Once the thought is ‘known’, she’ll then help you to think in a more positive light.
For curing social anxiety, no it’s not helpful. Why not?
CBT-style thought-changing exercises are processed by the conscious mind, whereas social anxiety disorder is a subconscious problem…
You cannot alter your subconscious mind by reasoning and discussion, which is what you do in counseling for social anxiety. So no, it doesn’t work well in my experience.
There can be some non-anxiety related benefits to counseling for social phobia, though. You learn to deal with your thoughts better, when you’re not anxious. This helps to keep feelings of depression away.
For example, thoughts like “I’m an awful person” can be reasoned with better, once you’ve had some therapy. A therapist will teach you to become more compassionate to yourself, and that’s definitely worth something.
A thought like “I’m an awful person” might make you feel really depressed, if you didn’t have the new CBT-style skill of turning that thought on it’s head.
CBT helps you to recognise and challenge any negative beliefs that you might have about yourself. I had this treatment for social anxiety myself as a teenager. Overall I did not find it helpful to completely overcome my disorder.
2. Social Anxiety Group Therapy
This type of group treatment is where, amongst a group of 5-10 other clients, and likely 2 therapists, you role-play common social situations. The hope is that you’ll begin to feel more comfortable through this practice.
Again, it is based around cognitive behavioural therapy, so the point of it is to help you challenge negative thinking patterns and behaviours.
I didn’t try this, so whilst I can’t judge it if I haven’t tried it, I feel that there are better anxiety treatments available.
Comparing 2 Common Social Phobia Treatments
If you’re sure that you want to take a ‘mainstream’ approach to overcoming social anxiety, then it might be an idea to have a look at the pro’s and cons of the 2 treatments.
Group therapy should bring you better results than 1-on-1, although not by much.
With group therapy you at least get to practice social situations so that you can see for yourself that they’re not threatening. In one-on-one counseling, it’s just you and the therapist talking.
Both of these therapies usually adopt a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) approach. I’m convinced that this doesn’t work because social anxiety disorder is a subconscious problem, yet CBT works with the conscious mind.
The conscious mind cannot, in and of itself, affect the subconscious positively – that’s why I believe CBT to be ineffective. It just isn’t the best treatment after having been through countless hours of CBT and still walking away with massive social phobia.
Something that may be worth a quick look is the alternative treatments available for this disorder. This includes practices like EFT, Hypnosis, Aromatherapy & Visualization.
Causes & Treatment
The major SA treatments that are available tend to have a limited effectiveness on their clients. CBT did help me to straighten out my thoughts about myself, but it didn’t help my anxiety get any better.
My article THE Cause of Social Anxiety Disorder shows you that your own behaviour created your SA.
If behaviour created it, then how can ‘thought changing’ reverse that process? It can’t.
CBT can help you think more positively, but it doesn’t reduce anxiety.
Essentially, the widespread approaches to beating social anxiety won’t help you much.
Treating Social Phobia:
The Best Approach
All you need to overcome SA is yourself, and a world that is less threatening than your mind thinks it is. You have both of those things.
The last thing you need is a doctor or therapist who will talk to you about your condition, thus reminding your subconscious that it is anxious – thus perpetuating your SAD. This can have you stuck in a cycle for years, even a lifetime, instead of dealing with it right now in the present moment.
My Best Advice:
Start Self-Treating Your
Social Anxiety Disorder
As the closest above paragraph states, the last thing you need is a mental health professional who will talk to you about your condition – thus making it worse.
By talking about your condition, you really do remind your subconscious that it has an issue with anxiety.
Talking about SA, makes SA worse, even if the person you’re talking to has every mental health qualification imaginable.
I know it feels good to explain your
problems to a therapist, but it’s
only short-term relief!
There’s a sense of relief to be had from going to a smart, kind therapist, and explaining your feelings to them. I know because I’ve done it myself.
The problem is, doing that builds on your anxious behaviours – the ones that keep the anxiety strong.
If you’ve already been seeking professional treatment, that’s ok – it’s a normal response
The natural thing to do is to get others to treat social phobia. Like I said, I’ve done it and got the T-shirt. I was desperate and I went for help – no shame on my part whatsoever.
Understand that looking to others is natural – it’s what anyone would do and it’s completely OK.
For the record, others can give effective help for most problems – but not social anxiety disorder. With SAD, you need to learn all about it and take it on by yourself. This is because as I explained in the 2nd paragraph, other people can accidentally hinder you more than help you.
The Approach That Does Work For
Overcoming Social Anxiety:
SAD is a behavioural problem. Your behaviour created it, which means that the only solution is to reshape your behaviour.
I’ve put together a system that can help you do this. The first 7 steps into a simple plan to stop social phobia and anxiety in your life.