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Ask a Therapist: How can I tell if I need help with my social anxiety and what can I do about it?

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It’s natural to feel nervous or self-conscious in some social or performance situations (for example, going on a first date, speaking before a large group, or being the centre of attention). People with social anxiety feel this nervousness or self-consciousness disproportionately; they tend to fear or avoid situations that trigger a fear of humiliating themselves or being judged negatively by others.

You may benefit from help for social anxiety if you feel that your fear of social situations is more intense than it should be, or if you avoid situations that trigger intense fears of judgement or humiliation. You may also benefit from help if you find that you spend a lot of time after social situations analyzing your performance or seeking reassurance about it.

In our Therapist Guided Program, we use a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approach to help you break down and overcome social anxiety. Some of the main components of the program are: 

Monitoring it 
It starts with understanding your thoughts and behaviours. You’ll take some time to examine them – the types of thoughts you have about social interactions and all the behaviours that you engage in when you’re faced with the anxiety that comes along with them.

Breaking it down
Everyone experiences social anxiety differently. So, it’s important to understand your symptoms by breaking down your own experience. Do you notice that your thinking and behaviour fall into predictable patterns when you’re feeling social anxiety? Understanding your patterns helps you figure out what to challenge.

Challenging it
You can learn a variety of techniques to help you relate to your anxiety differently. Mostly you’ll focus on the thoughts and behaviours that are connected to social anxiety since these are probably keeping those fears alive. You’ll learn strategies for identifying and challenging your anxious thinking and testing out negative predictions. You’ll also learn strategies for starting to approach the things you have been avoiding, even when anxiety is present. 

Care to learn more about social anxiety? We hosted a webinar with Kevin Frankish and our expert therapists here to answer all your questions:

HubSpot Video

MindBeacon just launched a brand-new social anxiety program as part of our Therapist Guided Program. If you're ready to get started with therapy, visit us today

Every month, our Ask a Therapist series answers your most pressing questions about mental health. Have a question you'd like answered by our therapists? Send us an e-mail at community@mindbeacon.com. We'd love to hear from you! 

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Stronger Minds content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to establish a standard of care with a reader, you should always seek the advice of your mental health professional, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. If you think you may have a medical or mental health emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, or call emergency services immediately. You should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained herein. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information herein should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.