CBT for Social / Performance Anxiety
Social / Performance Anxiety and CBT
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association defines social phobia as ‘a persistent fear of social situations’ in which the person is exposed to possible scrutiny by others and fears that he or she may do something that is humiliating or embarrassing.
Areas of social situations where these are most prevalent are: –
- performing in public
- in meetings
- in the classroom
- being introduced to people for the first time.
When the limelight is on you there is a split between the self which is participating in the activity, and the one that is observing and analysing the situation. This ironic self detachment can make you appear aloof, disinterested or superior, and creates a lack of attunement to what is actually happening around you.
It is often this out of sync feeling that causes the fear of losing control, and/or appearing foolish that is at the heart of this kind of anxiety. The shame that if you do make a fool of yourself others will look down on you. This can cause you to avoid social situations.
CBT and Society Anxiety
In the first session diagnostic tests are administered to make a firm diagnosis, and to locate the specific problem areas for the client. The first part of the treatment is centred on improving the symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. A problem list is drawn up of 5-6 things the client has identified that he would like to change as a result of cognitive therapy.
CBT is a relatively short term, collaborative, scientific statistically proven way to overcome social anxiety in a variety of social situations.
Clients use a voice activated dictaphone to tape sessions. There is a strong emphasis on homework to augment the work done in the sessions. There is an emphasis on psycho-educational training and an individualised treatment programme is designed to suit each person’s specific requirements.
CBT for social anxiety is tripartite:
- Exposure to feared situations i.e. role plays and behavioural experiments.
- Cognitive Restructuring i.e. challenging the negative automatic thoughts associated with the feared situations and substituting more balanced alternatives.
- Modifying deep core-beliefs associated with shame and guilt in early life.
Virtual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Convenient, private and secure
Online Therapy is available to anyone, anywhere in the world at home or in the office using a tablet, mobile phone or laptop / computer and a good internet connection.
This service would appeal to client's for a variety of reasons.
- Clients location would make it difficult / impossible to access Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.
- Clients time-pressure, work deadlines, and work-based travel make it difficult to commit for the normal counselling time-scale.
- Clients family commitments make it easier to have treatment on-line at home.
- Clients prefer an initial face to face assessment, and then combine both treatment modalities.