Social Anxiety Mailing List March 2013

Volume 15 Number 3
March 2013

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The Social Anxiety Mailing List

The Social Anxiety Mailing List, which first began in 1999, comes to you from The Social Anxiety Institute in Phoenix.  You can reach our home page here.
Group Info, The Power of Laughter, Questions and Answers from Dr. Richards
Summer CBT Group for Social Anxiety:
May 11th - August 10th, 2013 (14 weeks).  Details: local group.  Fill out application here.  Please enroll now for this group.  Our groups are friendly, active, structured groups which focus completely on helping people overcome social anxiety disorder.  The all-day Saturday group is enhanced by social and behavioral activities on weeknights.  We have a community of people overcoming social anxiety here.  Please sign up for this group before it fills.
Next International Therapy Group:
Monday, July 22nd - Saturday, August 10th, 2013.  Details: International Group.  Fill out application here.  Please enroll now for this group.  This is a three week, intensive, all day therapy group for people with social anxiety, where you actively work on the behavioral components of reducing social anxiety in different practical situations.  The group consists of people who are motivated and ready to overcome social anxiety.  This group may already be full.  Please check with the office.
To get a thorough idea of what these international CBT groups for social anxiety are like, and what you can expect to gain from them, read Trevor Mason's International Therapy Group Article, where he explains in great detail the aspects of these intensive groups.
Laughter and its Health Benefits
Laughter is a great antidote to social anxiety.  It provides us with physical, psychological, and social benefits, and distracts us from negative thinking habits.  By adding laughter to our daily lives, our therapy becomes more efficient and effective.

If we’re feeling stressed, worn out, or depressed, one of the most effective strategies we can use is laughter.  There are hundreds of research studies backing up the positive health effects a good belly laugh can provide.

Read More


Questions and Answers from Dr. Richards:
Q:  Dear Dr. Richards,
I have read your list for awhile now. I have come to the conclusion that I have SA, pretty much on my own.  After reading last month's list, I am wondering about the group you had and the behaviors that everyone worked on while they were there.
I could do most of those things you mentioned.  I might not feel 100% comfortable but I could do them.  Now, I am wondering if I misdiagnosed myself.  For example, I avoid social situations like the plague.   But if I am cornered into attendance, I can force myself and then I do fine.  But, I dread them horribly. I hate to answer the phone, dread conflict, find myself tongue tied in conversations. I isolate myself, true loner unless I have no choice. I prefer to be alone... but then long for a "life".
If I push myself into going to something, I dread it and try to come up with every possible excuse not to do it. I definitely have negative thoughts as I never think anyone likes me, and never think that I fit in, I always think that others are thinking negatively about me.  So, Dr Richards, do you think I have SA? What are your suggestions for me
A:  Debbie,
You are explaining many of the basic symptoms of social anxiety disorder.  You are not explaining symptoms that would apply to another problem.  Everything you mention is a part of the "definition" of social anxiety.  Most people, like you, can FORCE themselves to do many of the things we do in CBT groups. (i.e., the activities that the local and international groups do).  The big distinction is that we learn to do these things with less and less anxiety.  Whether it's giving a talk, making a presentation, being assertive when necessary, making small talk, or talking to authority figures, we must learn to do these things without stressing ourselves out or forcing ourselves to do them.
We gently need to work on these things so that we can do them WITHOUT having  anxiety.  Then, when our anxiety and fear lessens, we are less likely to fear and avoid situations.  The point I was trying to make is that the purpose of the local and international groups is to allow people to do all the activities mentioned -- WITHOUT having the awful fear and anxiety that, in the past, would have accompanied these situations.  That is the purpose of cognitive-behavioral therapy.  You can learn to do all the things I mentioned -- without having anxiety about doing them.  In fact, with patience and time, you will just automatically act and behave differently because anxiety is no longer holding you back.
One of the many reasons some people, including therapists, do not understand social anxiety is because they can't "see" our anxiety as we go through our daily activities. Most of us can DO many things, but spend our energy trying to hide our fears and anxieties.  Unfortunately, that does not take away the symptoms.  It only keeps us stuck in the vicious cycle of social anxiety.  The people who arrive here for the groups are able to do many things and their anxiety is not evident by simply looking at them.  It is their thoughts and feelings that have to be changed.  The vicious cycle of negative, irrational thoughts that control a person with social anxiety has to be broken up.
Remember, you are not alone and there is help for you.
-- Dr. Richards

More stories from participants in international group therapy:

Please join us on our public  page, and follow our  feed.

***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:

Social Anxiety and Dysmorphias

My Garden: An Anxiety Parable

Why Isn't Social Anxiety Better Known?

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.

Copyright © 2013, The Social Anxiety Institute, Inc.
Thomas A. Richards, Ph.D., Psychologist/Director, SAI
Matthew Whitley, Practice Manager
Justin Bashore, Aaron O'Banion, Tim Henry, Zach Brown, SAI Staff

Follow Dr. Richards

The Social Anxiety Association

The Social Anxiety Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1997 to meet the growing needs of people with social anxiety.  The SAA became inactive for several years due to lack of resources.  We are in the process of re-doing our website, listing all active, structured CBT groups for social anxiety, and renewing all our licenses.  Major changes will be happening by the end of 2013.  We publish new web content -- concerning social anxiety -- almost daily on the site now.

The Social Anxiety Institute is the largest website on the internet about social anxiety disorder (social phobia). Therapy programs have run at the Institute full-time since 1994.  Major new help for overcoming social anxiety is under development and will be introduced in 2013. 

For treatment: Overcoming social anxiety: Step by Step   A structured guide to overcoming social anxiety (a "How to" guide to get over social anxiety).

The Anxiety Network explains and describes five major anxiety disorders.

Guidelines for listing social anxiety groups on this site.  We cannot officially endorse groups, so check them out thoroughly.  We ask that they be groups that are operating, have a definite leader, and are thoroughly structured.  Social anxiety therapy groups are very different than the groups that operate for other mental health conditions.