Social Anxiety Mailing List July 2013
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The Social Anxiety Mailing List
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Upcoming Group Dates, Why is Social Anxiety So Hard to Explain to Others?, Avoidance: Our Worst Enemy
The International Group scheduled for July 22nd - August 10th, 2013 is full.
Other People to Understand Social Anxiety...
Recently, I was having a first appointment with a young woman from another state who had social anxiety. She and her mother had driven to Phoenix to see me. The diagnostic appointment was moving along fine, when the mother looked at me and said,
"I try so hard to understand what my daughter is saying. But I've only been afraid two times in my life, and one of those times was when my husband held a knife to my throat and threatened to kill me."
I was floored. The daughter looked at me with raised eyebrows, we exchanged glances, and I thought to myself: "Can this be real? This woman has only felt fear twice in her life?"
I asked the mother again if that is what she meant. She thought about it and said "yes".
I looked at the daughter and said, "Well, people with social anxiety feel that level of fear and anxiety almost every day of their lives." The daughter began shaking her head in agreement. "Yeah, mom," she said, "didn't you know how afraid I felt to do those things that we're talking about?"
This incident motivated me to start asking people who did not have social anxiety: "How many times in your life have you felt really fearful? Really afraid? We're not talking about butterflies in the stomach or a slight case of nerves. We're talking about fearing something."
The answers I received to this question from people who did not have social anxiety surprised me greatly.
The average answer people gave me was about seven times.
I said to people, "Do you mean you have only felt deeply afraid or fearful seven times in your whole life?" and people would look at me funny and say "yes".
Perhaps that is the reason other professionals, including psychologists and medical doctors, do not really understand social anxiety disorder. Not only have they never had it, they have never experienced the depth of the emotional, gut-wrenching fear and dread that occurs on a daily basis.
This is the hallmark of social anxiety: the heart-pounding fear and dreadful anticipation of social situations and events (things that other people are simply not bothered by). People without social anxiety can typically tell you a half dozen instances in their lives when they were really fearful. Those of us with social anxiety could tell them a half dozen instances in our lives on almost a daily basis that bring on fear.
This is one thing that people without social anxiety do not understand.
A second reason is that they cannot "see" the social anxiety or deeply-felt anxiety and fear in us -- we are very good at not wanting other people to see the fear in us. We could say we are very good "hiders".
As we continue along with actual therapy, we will see that all methods and strategies that help us overcome social anxiety are paradoxes.
Paradoxes are doing the opposite of what our body, brain, and old habits tell us to do. Therefore, all paradoxes are counter-intuitive. Again, they are the opposite of what we feel we should be doing.
For example, if we've told ourselves for fifteen years that we can NEVER speak in front of a small group, we will always avoid talking in front of a small group. In terms of getting over social anxiety, this is obviously not a helpful cognitive belief to have, and notice the result of this belief makes us avoid.
The biggest obstacle to our progress is something we’ve been doing most of our life: avoiding...
***The "Overcoming Social Anxiety" Audio Series is now completely digital, so this will save you time and money. It will be especially helpful to our international friends.
**We have also added an Installment Payment option on the audio series page for those who want to pay that way. Our goal is to reach as many people as possible with this therapy.
To use the payment plan, click the "Contact" button on the menu bar at the far right, select "Ordering" and mention "Installment Plan" in your message to us.
Social Anxiety CBT Groups Around The World
Go to the CBT Groups Operating page. These groups are proactive and structured. All of them use the "Overcoming Social Anxiety" audio series as a foundation for overcoming social anxiety.
You may be interested in reading:
You CAN get better and overcome social anxiety. It happens all the time. You deserve a better life, free from the anxiety and the restrictions that social anxiety places on you, and we are here to help aid you in this process.
Thomas A. Richards, Ph.D., Psychologist/Director, SAI
Matthew Whitley, Practice Manager
Justin Bashore, Aaron O'Banion, SAI Staff