If you have social anxiety disorder, psychotherapy is an important part of treatment. It can help you learn how to cope with your symptoms and improve your relationships.
Therapy usually takes a few sessions. It focuses on changing how you think and behave in situations that cause you anxiety.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Psychotherapy for social anxiety disorder aims to reduce symptoms by changing your thoughts and behaviours. This is based on the idea that your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations are all linked and can form a negative cycle.
You will be shown ways to break these cycles down and change them to make you feel more in control of your life. This therapy can be offered face-to-face in one-to-one sessions or online.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular forms of psychotherapy for mental health problems, mainly anxiety and depression. It can also help people with conditions such as phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders.
CBT involves learning to recognise and challenge your automatic negative thinking so that you can start to think logically and rationally again. It requires a lot of practice and perseverance to develop this new way of thinking, but it can be effective if it is practised daily.
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy for social anxiety disorder. It is an alternative to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
The goal of ACT is to help you reduce your symptoms while at the same time developing skills that you can use in future situations. This includes learning to be more fully present in social settings and taking action despite your fears.
During therapy, your therapist will teach you the basics of ACT and discuss how it works. The first step is cognitive defusion, which involves separating yourself from unpleasant “private experiences,” including thoughts, feelings, images, memories, and urges.
Your therapist will also teach you mindfulness skills, which means becoming aware of your thoughts and emotions in the moment. They will also encourage you to set goals that are in alignment with your values.
Psychotherapy, sometimes called “talk therapy,” can help you learn how to overcome your anxiety and live a more normal life. Research-supported therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy, which teaches you ways to think, behave, and interact with people in ways that reduce your fear of social situations.
CBT can be effective when used alone or in combination with other treatment options, such as support groups. It can also be helpful in conjunction with medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
SSRIs, like paroxetine (Paxil) or sertraline (Zoloft), increase the amount of serotonin in your brain — a chemical signal that helps regulate mood and anxiety. SNRIs, such as extended-release venlafaxine (Effexor XR), increase the amount of both serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain.
Benzodiazepines are another class of medications that can be used to treat some social anxiety symptoms. They bind to GABA receptors in your brain and produce a calming effect. They are available as oral tablets that you can take regularly to relieve your anxiety symptoms.
Psychotherapy is an effective treatment for many mental health issues, including social anxiety disorder. It focuses on changing negative thoughts about yourself and creating coping skills to deal with triggers.
Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves meeting regularly with a therapist and other people who have similar mental health concerns. It can help you develop new skills to cope with social situations, build healthy relationships, and improve your overall wellbeing.
In addition, groups can be a valuable way to get support from others who have social anxiety disorder. They can help you learn new ways to communicate with other people and understand your anxiety better.
A person should choose a support group that offers the right techniques and spirituality for their needs. Some groups, such as EA and DRA, place an emphasis on a spirituality that may not be suitable for some individuals.