We recently checked some online surveys to find out what people feared the most, and very high on the list was public speaking. This is not surprising as standing in front of a group of people and talking is one of those situations where people feel very exposed. The main worry they have is that they look and sound foolish, when on most occasions, they are doing just fine.
People who need to speak in public regularly, usually become accustomed to it, and develop a range of skills and behaviours that help them overcome their “nerves.” However, for around 12% of the population, social anxiety or social phobia is a debilitating condition. It restricts their access to employment and education opportunities, all kinds of social contact and in extreme cases, even normal outings like shopping.
Social Anxiety Puts the Brakes on a Normal Life
Just imagine what your life would be like if an invitation to a birthday party caused you to feel anxious and on edge. How restricted would your life be if you feared talking to authority figures like your boss, or initiating a conversation with a new work colleague or even voicing your opinion in a meeting? People with social anxiety actively avoid these situations and others where they feel they are being observed or judged, making a normal life very difficult.
These extreme and persistent behaviours are much more intense and long-lasting than the normal “butterflies” most of us experience in a new social situation. Often, people who develop social phobia have been shy throughout their childhood, and find that their anxieties become more pronounced during adolescence. What is also known is that there is help available.
Effective Treatment is Readily Available
We regularly treat patients with social anxiety here at Brisbane City Psychologists, using evidence based techniques such as understanding their own social anxiety disorder pattern and letting go of habitual negative behaviours in social situations. Our caring psychology techniques in Brisbane enable patients to challenge and change the thinking habits that create the anxiety.
Role playing and video feedback in sessions assist to decrease self-consciousness and patients who practice these techniques build confidence gradually. We then introduce them to the types of social situations they have been avoiding in a measured and supportive way.
We know from experience that social phobia can be overcome. There is no need for anyone with this disorder to suffer any longer, when help is readily available at Brisbane City Psychologists. A professionally qualified psychologist will work with you to understand the basis of your social anxiety and provide you with tools and strategies to assist you back into the mainstream of society.