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Social Anxiety Therapist in Chicago

Social Anxiety Help

Social anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by a fear of social situations, a fear of crowds and a profound fear of being judged. As an experienced cognitive therapist, I provide Social Anxiety Treatment in Chicago through counseling and therapy.

While many people feel some anxiety in social situations, social anxiety disorder is an excessive fear that keeps the sufferer from being able to engage in typical social situations. With the profound fear of criticism and judgment that sufferers feel, they often experience a lowered quality of life because they are unable to engage in the typical social interactions that are expected of them.

 

Social Anxiety Treatment Chicago IL

How Social Anxiety Can Affect You

When a person sufferers from social anxiety, they may have trouble making friends and may even find their jobs in jeopardy because of an inability to network and make friends at work. The fear of making mistakes and looking foolish can cause the person to hesitate often and not to engage in the activities that many other people have no problem with. Seeing others interact easily and being unable to do so can lead to lowered self-esteem and depression.

Loneliness is often a problem for those who are afraid of social interactions. Being afraid of being watched can even cause sufferers to not want to be in public often, even when there are no social interactions happening. This can affect the sufferer’s ability to shop for themselves and to carry on with the standard daily tasks required of them. It affects relationships and keeps the sufferer isolated. Make sure to check out the anxiety blog on this site for other information. Feel free to ask how our Chicago hypnotist for social anxiety can help you build self confidence through guided imagery.

The fear of being around people then leads to a deficit of social skills because the sufferer has had few opportunities to practice them. This lack of social skills leads to even more fear of being in social situations for which the sufferer is ill equipped. This vicious circle only gets worse if it continues without treatment. It can lead to panic attacks as the anxiety builds to excessive levels.

Get Treatment for Social Anxiety

 

When you believe you have social anxiety disorder, or you have been referred by a physician who believes that you have it, you need to seek out professional treatment for the disorder. This requires seeing a clinical counselor who is well versed in treatment for social anxiety. The counselor will begin by assessing your condition and interview you to determine exactly what the problem is.

The assessment will give your counselor an understanding of your symptoms and how severe your social anxiety is. Once the symptoms and the severity are understood, the counselor can begin cognitive therapy. This type of therapy is also called talk therapy. It is the most effective way to treat social anxiety, and it requires no medication. It is a way to help the sufferer understand the disorder and to understand the ways in which their fears and beliefs about social interactions are irrational.

Social Anxiety treatment and help in Chicago

The Cognitive Therapy Solution

In cognitive therapy, the counselor teaches those who suffer from social anxiety ways to cope with their anxiety. This can include guided imagery and breathing exercises to help the person avoid panicking and unnecessarily excessive fear. Cognitive behavior therapy helps the patient to find a way to cope with anxiety as well as to learn about more rational thoughts. By guiding the patient’s thoughts from the irrational thoughts to more rational ones, the patient can learn to guide their own thoughts toward a rational direction over time.

Social anxiety cause anticipatory fear before social situations as well as excessive anxiety during them. During cognitive therapy, the sufferer can learn to curb both of these problems. The counselor teaches the sufferer how to think rationally before a social situation and to handle the anxiety that make come up in anticipation of social interactions. The patient is also taught different ways to react to the social situations that cause anxiety. By reacting in a different way, sufferers can lessen the fear that they feel when interacting with others. Eventually, they can stop avoiding the social situations that once caused such anxiety.

Desensitization of Social Anxiety

The lack of social skills that this type of anxiety often causes can make social interactions difficult, and that often leads to the avoidance of them. However, over time, the help of the counselor leads to more and more social interactions as the fear of them becomes lessened. This leads to a desensitization of the fear that once so deeply affected the person. That desensitization means that there is no longer an excessive fear about an impending social situation because the person has become so accustomed to interacting with others.  This in turn boosts the self-esteem and causes less fear of making mistakes and being laughed at. At Anxiety Therapist Chicago, we identify these distortions to make life situations more realistic.

In cognitive therapy, this can begin through guided imagery in which the sufferer imagines being in social situations and begins to see himself in the very situations that seem so frightening. After imagining those situations many times, the patient often feels better equipped to deal with them and becomes less fearful about what those interactions will be like. By working through what these situations will be like while remaining in a comfortable, safe environment, the patient can work through their social interactions while being guided by the counselor.

The patient may work through ways to handle the anxiety that builds as he imagines the social situation. With the help of the counselor, these guided imagery sessions can show the sufferer positive ways to react in public and to learn how irrational the fear of interacting with others is.

Many patients need these guided sessions before they attempt certain social interactions. And with the help of the counselor, those real-life interactions become much less stressful. Through my counseling and treatment for social anxiety at Anxiety Therapist Chicago, we can set realistic goals to reduce the fears.