4 Questions to Ask Your Therapist About Social Anxiety
To address your social anxiety, you must be able to speak candidly with your therapist about your feelings, the triggers, and your mental health goals, which will be much more difficult if you do not feel as though your therapist will provide judgment-free support. Dr. Courtney Gaines at Jade Health and Wellness provides a safe haven for her patients. Contact us for more information about our services or practitioners or book an online appointment. We are located in Tolleson, AZ. Jade Health and Wellness is currently remote.
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Social anxiety is a fairly common mental health disorder, affecting anywhere from 5% to 10% of the population. It can range quite a bit in severity and affects people of all ages but can be very effectively treated through therapy to allow patients to gain confidence in their day-to-day interactions.
There is no single root cause for social anxiety, but known contributing factors include experiences of trauma during childhood or stressful life events that can occur at any age. More specific factors that are commonly connected to the development of social anxiety after childhood include having suffered from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, having a history of being bullied or teased by peers, and experiencing family conflicts, divorce, or domestic violence. Social anxiety can also often develop in those who experienced either abandonment or the death of a parent. Suffering from social anxiety may mean that the feelings of anxiety are triggered by specific events, such as having to meet new people, attend bigger social events (even big family events are likely to induce anxiety), speaking in front of groups of people, answering the phone, dating, being watched while performing an unfamiliar task, or having strangers try to initiate conversations with them in unexpected settings such as the grocery store.
Therapists have a few options to choose from when determining which type of therapy will be best suited to treat each individual patient. Psychotherapy is one of the more common options, specifically cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a type of psychotherapy that is heavily supported by research as an effective way to treat social anxiety and is also commonly referred to as talk therapy. CBT provides patients with new perspectives and ways of thinking, acting, and approaching situations to allow them to manage their feelings of anxiety or fear. It can be done one-on-one or in a group setting but allows patients to slowly work up to facing their fears which in turn will make dealing with anxiety-inducing situations easier to approach. This type of therapy may also implement techniques of exposure therapy as well, providing controlled and gradually increasing exposure to particular objects or situations in which anxiety is severe. This type of therapy can be continued until the therapist, patient, or both determine that no further treatment is needed or would be considered beneficial to the welfare of the patient.
In some cases, therapists can also recommend anti-anxiety medication for patients, particularly in the beginning stages of treatment, to provide them with a bit more support when encountering particular situations.
When approaching a therapist to address your social anxiety, one of the most beneficial things you can do is to find a therapist with whom you can envision building trust and comfort. Going to therapy may be anxiety-inducing in and of itself, so it is incredibly important that you find a therapist that you get along with and feel like you will be able to open up to when you are ready. Some tips to help you feel more comfortable opening up to your therapist include writing down anything that you wish to address during your session or that you feel you should share, and taking the time that you need in order to feel your therapist out to see if they are a good fit for you.
Most mental health professionals will agree that one of the most effective treatment options for social anxiety is through CBT or talk therapy. By talking and working through causes triggers and responses to the anxiety, patients will be able to learn new and healthier coping skills with the goal that they will feel more confident going into these anxiety-inducing situations down the road. This will also provide them with a safe space to practice how they wish to respond in these situations and will expose them to these triggers in a controlled manner that allows them to further practice these skills. Contact us for more information about our services or practitioners or book an online appointment. We are located in Tolleson, AZ. Jade Health and Wellness is currently remote. We serve patients from Tolleson AZ, Avondale AZ, Phoenix AZ, Buckeye AZ, Yuma AZ, Tonopah AZ, and Las Vegas NV.