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Social Anxiety Treatment in Melbourne

Social anxiety is an intense and sometimes overwhelming fear and avoidance of social situations. Social anxiety can be triggered by a whole range of different social factors, such as being judged, humiliated, embarrassed, or criticised by other people.  It can happen in everyday situations and can cause us to avoid or feel intense distress with interacting with people at work, at home, or with friends.  When left untreated, social anxiety can affect many areas of our lives and sometimes cause us to experience panic attacks, isolation, or depression. Our team of psychologists are trained in effective treatments for social anxiety and can help you learn to overcome social anxiety using researched and evidence-based therapies.

What is Social Anxiety?

It's a really normal and human emotion to feel anxious in ​some social situations, like when you're meeting someone new, or doing a big presentation at work. Social anxiety, however, is about feeling an overwhelming level of anxiety that can stop you completely from interacting with other people. Social anxiety can be triggered in ordinary everyday situations, such as walking around and being seen in public, meeting new people, or even spending time with existing friends. The signs and symptoms of social anxiety range in intensity for different people, and can include:

  • Excessive worry, overthinking, or rumination before, during, or after a social interaction. 

  • Monitoring everything you say or what other people say in a social situation.

  • Losing sleep thinking and replaying social situations that have happened in the past or are about to happen in the future. 

  • Completely avoiding social interactions or feeling an intense level of anxiety in everyday social situations (like going for a walk or to the shops).

  • Finding it really hard to talk, think, or make eye contact when interacting with other people.

  • Intense fear of being embarrassed, judged, rejected, or disliked by other people that causes you to avoid others.

  • Difficulty keeping friends or making new ones. 

  • Physical symptoms in social situations, like feeling shortness of breath, heart beating quickly, sweating, or lightheadedness. 

If you notice that social anxiety is really getting in the way and causing you to feel overwhelmed, self-conscious, or afraid of social situations, please remember that support is out there. Our team of psychologists are trained in a range of evidence-based treatments for social anxiety in Melbourne. Our social anxiety treatment options can equip you with the skills and strategies to help you overcome social anxiety in a safe, collaborative, and evidence-based way.

How can a psychologist help with treatment for social anxiety?

The most effective treatment for social anxiety will be different for everyone, so it's important that we don't apply a one size fits all approach to managing and treating social anxiety. In general, treatment for social anxiety can involve: (1) identifying our social anxiety triggers; (2) building our awareness of unhelpful thought patterns (or cognitive distortions); and (3) learning skills and strategies to reduce the intensity of the anxiety in the moment. Ultimately, our goal is to equip you with the skills and strategies to help reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of the social anxiety to enable your goals. 

As everyone's experience of social anxiety will be different, it's important to keep in mind that the treatment plan will be personalised to you and your situation. Your psychologist will work closely with you to understand your experiences and then draw from a range of evidence-based therapies that have been found by research to effectively treat social anxiety.  

Social Anxiety

We've put together some more info below of common psychological treatments for social anxiety in Melbourne. Our team of experienced psychologists are here to help kickstart your journey to overcoming social anxiety. To learn more, or if you feel ready to reach out, please contact us here

how can a psychologist help with anxiety

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Social Anxiety 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for social anxiety is an extensively researched and evidence-based treatment option for social anxiety. Although the treatment plan will be different for everyone, in general, working with a psychologist trained in CBT and treatment for social anxiety involves:

  1. Learning about social anxiety, your triggers, and potentially unhelpful thought patterns that can keep us stuck in a cycle of social anxiety and avoidance. This would generally involve learning to read the cognitive, emotional, physical, and also behavioural aspects of social anxiety as an important foundation. The more we're aware of the signs, triggers, and thought patterns, the more we're able to make meaningful and long-lasting changes to help overcome social anxiety. 

  2. Challenging unhelpful thought patterns. Once identified, your psychologist will work closely with you to create coping strategies that challenge the cognitive biases that keep us stuck and contribute to social anxiety. This can involve strategies that weigh up the facts and evidence, re-processing past situations, challenging automatic rules or cognitive biases we may have picked up along the way (such as catastrophic thinking or negativity biases), and many more. When working with a psychologist trained in treatment for social anxiety, this will always be done in a safe, collaborative, and evidence-based way to help you achieve your goals. 

  3. Exposure therapy or behavioural experiments. CBT treatment for social anxiety can also involve thought or behavioural experiments to help us overcome social anxiety. This involves gradually exposing ourselves to the anxiety triggering social situations in a structured way with the goal of breaking the cycle of anxiety and to help our brain unlearn the anxiety response.  Overtime, this can help make the triggers less anxiety provoking and easier to overcome. Your psychologist will work closely with you to make sure that the behavioural experiments are done in a safe, productive, and meaningful way. 

  4. Skills training for social anxiety. Treatment for social anxiety can sometimes involves learning new skills that help us navigate triggering situations. This might involve learning assertiveness skills, conflict de-escalation, boundary setting, effective communication, leadership skills, and many more. The goal of this training is to help us build confidence and coping skills to treat social anxiety. 

What to expect when working with a psychologist for social anxiety

 

It's really important to remember that treatment for social anxiety will be different for everyone. There's never a one size fits all approach as everyone's situation and triggers will be different. Your psychologist may also draw on a range of other evidence-based therapies for social anxiety, such as techniques from Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Schema Therapy, or other therapeutic approaches depending on your situation. 

Clients who work with a psychologist on treatment for social anxiety will often learn skills and coping strategies to manage social anxiety symptoms through researched and evidence-based treatment options.

Reimagine Psychology

Your psychologist will work closely with you understand your situation and create a treatment plan specific to you. This will always be done in a collaborative, safe, and evidence-based way to help you overcome social anxiety and to achieve your goals.

Ready to get started?

At Reimagine Psychology, we really appreciate that taking the first step is often the hardest, particularly when it comes to social anxiety. It's not an easy thing to reach out, but we're confident that (based on all the evidence, science, and research on treatment for social anxiety) our team of experienced psychologists can help you effectively overcome social anxiety in a safe, collaborative, and impactful way.

 

For more information or to book an appointment with one of our experienced psychologists, please click on the contact us button below or feel free to call the team on (03) 8330 5588 or email us on hello@reimaginepsychology.melbourne.

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