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Social Anxiety

There are days when anyone would dread the thought of going out in public, but when worry, fear, or anxiety related to interacting with others overwhelms you or limits your ability to engage, you may be struggling with social anxiety disorder. This condition can make it difficult to interact with coworkers, peers, or even friends and family members. When you do engage with others, you may experience excessive levels of fear, worry, dread, or anxiety. Left untreated, these worries and fears may prevent people with social anxiety disorder from leaving home at all.

Therapy for social anxiety disorder at The Center for CBT in New York City can help you dive deep to understand your response in social situations and start developing the tools and strategies to change these responses for the better.

Image of a young caucasian woman outside in the sunshine smiling. She has long red hair that is blowing in the wind.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Feeling nervous before or during certain events or interactions is completely natural. We’ve all experienced those butterflies in the stomach before a first date, accelerated heart rate during a job interview, and other little signs that we’re anxious about an uncertain situation. When these heightened physiological responses seem to happen any time we’re talking to or engaging with others, it may be social anxiety disorder. In most cases, people with social anxiety disorder begin taking steps to avoid interacting with others, and this avoidance causes significant concerns or difficulties in their daily lives.

What are the signs of Social Anxiety Disorder?

It can be hard to determine whether or not you’re dealing with social anxiety disorder because feeling a little anxious or self-conscious about interacting with others is a natural response. However, if these feelings are changing how you behave, how often you go out, or otherwise impacting your life, you may be experiencing social anxiety disorder. If you’re still not sure, consider the following statements often given by those who are diagnosed with social anxiety disorder:

How Does CBT Help with Social Anxiety?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic method that involves analyzing the way our thoughts, feelings, and actions are interconnected. For individuals struggling with social anxiety disorder, this will involve discussing the thoughts and emotions attached to social interactions and how these ideas and feelings change behaviors. As clients better understand the interplay between thoughts, emotions, and actions, they partner with us to develop skills to adjust their thinking, stabilize their emotions, and change behaviors.

How Does Exposure Therapy Help with Social Anxiety?

In addition to CBT, we may use a technique called exposure therapy. This approach uses controlled exposure to situations to build resilience and help clients gain increased control over their emotions, thoughts, and physical reactions during social situations. We’ll begin by talking through hypothetical or imagined social situations during therapy sessions and developing a plan for how to change or minimize your anxiety response. Then, we will progress to actual social situations where you can safely practice the plan you developed in the therapy session. When possible and appropriate, your therapist may be with you to observe and offer support. While we want you to make progress toward feeling more comfortable in social situations, we also recognize this is going to be a process, and it’s important to move at your pace. If you’re not ready to try out your exposure plan in a specific situation, let your therapist know. It’s always okay to hit pause or try something you feel more comfortable with first.

What Can I Expect During Therapy?

It’s essential that clients receive therapy solutions that address their unique situation and adjust as necessary to ensure they continue making progress toward achieving their goals. During the initial session, your therapist will spend time talking about your history with therapy, specific experiences of social anxiety, and the results you would like to see after your time in therapy. Then, we’ll work together to create a plan to support your goals. During sessions, we’ll discuss your experiences with social anxiety since the last visit and explore strategies and tools to help you address these situations as they arise. We’ll continually assess your situation and progress to ensure our therapy plan is meeting your needs and helping you to achieve your goals.

Who offers therapy for social anxiety?

Each of our clinicians has years of unique training and experience that allow them to provide therapy using specific approaches that work best for certain clients. Our clinicians who provide therapy for social anxiety are featured below, and you can learn more about them by visiting our team page.

What Should I Do Next?

When you’re ready to begin therapy, we hope you’ll consider contacting The Center for CBT in New York City. We offer a safe space where you are free to be who you really are and express yourself and your values authentically. We embrace, value, and welcome people of all sexual orientations, genders, and racial identities. The Center for CBT in New York City makes beginning your therapy journey simple. You can get started any time by completing our online consultation request form. One of our team members will be in touch within 24 business hours to answer your questions.

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