A common psychological condition, social anxiety disorder (considered a phobia), can be treated by either psychotherapy or medications or a combination of both. Typically, those suffering from generalized anxiety about everyday social encounters, will benefit the most from a combined treatment of therapy and medicines such as anti-depressants, whereas those who suffer from anxiety just in a few specific social situations (eating in public or stage fright) can overcome their phobia by just seeing a therapist.
The Biggest Impediment in Psychotherapy
The biggest hindrance in the treatment of patients of social anxiety disorder is their unwillingness to admit that they need a therapeutic solution. These individuals have several pet excuses for avoiding treatment, but most often suffer from their choice.
By the time these patients realize that they need to see a therapist, their condition has manifested itself in the form of extreme habitual anomalies that work to conceal their fear of society. This is when it becomes hardest to treat the condition, even with therapy, as the person’s psyche has made these habits an integral part of itself.
Why Visit Your Therapist?
While those suffering from minor social disorders may recover through self-help procedures, the majority of those who suffer from social conditions require therapeutic intervention. Your therapist will be able to aid you in completely coming to terms with your conditions, its symptoms and consequences. Sometimes, thanks to the in-depth questioning of your therapist prior to beginning your treatment, you may even realize the nature of your anxiety much more clearly than what you imagined it to be, because it is human nature to try to trivialize a socially awkward condition it suffers from.
How Does a Therapist Help?
Psychotherapy is recognized by doctors all over the world as an effective method to curb or drastically reduce social anxiety disorder.
Initially, the therapist will assess the extent of your social disorder. For instance, your disorder may have caused the development of depression which can lead to substance abuse issues such as alcoholism. The therapist will inquire about your daily habits to make sure that you are not addicted to any drugs or have developed other abusive habits to ease your anxiety and depression.
The most effective ongoing psychotherapy is referred to as cognitive-behavioral treatment that works by making the patient identify the encounters which trigger their anxieties, after helping them realize their anxiety. The start of this treatment is characterized by discomfort of the situations being discussed with the therapist, but is one of the most critical parts of the treatment. There are a number of sub categories of CBT:
- Exposure Therapy: In this procedure, your therapist will guide you into simulating your social phobia in the office, to the point that you become comfortable with it and don’t fear it anymore. Examples of situations that benefit from this treatment include fear of public speaking or eating with other people. Your therapist may also accompany you to a real life scenario to ensure that you have recovered from your condition.
- Training of Social Skills: Your therapist will assist you in inculcating the social skills you are deficient in by giving you a sandbox to practice in. This will help you become mentally prepared for real world social encounters that employ these skills, and you will be confident in their use.
- Cognitive Restructuring: In this psychotherapy, your therapist will help you come face to face with your fears so that you can begin to come to terms with them and become adept at handling them in public.
- Skills for Managing Your Symptoms: Your therapist will train you on handling the apparent symptoms of your stress conditions such as breathlessness or sweating.
In addition to CBT, your therapist will also aid you by providing supplementary therapeutic procedures:
- They will give you basic information about your conditions – this goes a long way in reducing your fear, because it is often seen that once a person understands how their problem works, they find it easier to counter its causes and nip it in the bud before it takes over their mind.
- Your therapist may also provide additional support for those among your friends and relatives who have suffered as a consequence of your condition: while most social conditions effect the person inwards, there are also a number of psychological disorders that project themselves outwards, on those around the patient, who may be ill effected and require family therapy to persevere through your outbursts.
- Therapists may also work to help those suffering from a common social disorder by holding group meetings that aim to make the patient realize that they are not alone and help them come forward with their condition. It is generally easier to discuss your problems when you know that you won’t be the odd one out and that there others just like you who are also seeking professional help.
As mentioned before, most people who suffer from a social disorder make the mistake of pretending that everything will be alright with the passage of time and that they will overcome their ‘little problem’ as they mature. The cause for this self-prognosis may be fear of being diagnosed, a lack of medical funding or even the disorder itself – which prevents the individual from coming out with their issue in front of a therapist. Once the person becomes aware of this, they will have no trouble seeking an appointment with their therapist at Winnipeg, and will start to tackle their psychological issue practically.