I am a registered psychologist and EMDR therapist providing psychotherapy services in Melbourne CBD and Endeavour Hills, including social anxiety treatment.
Social Anxiety describes the marked and persistent dread or apprehension experienced by people performing various tasks in social situations while being watched or evaluated by others.
At the core of Social Anxiety is the marked and persistent fear of negative evaluation in social or performance situations.
Typically, clients describe an intense dread of what others may think about them, such as:
In some instances Social Anxiety may start with an extreme fear of being negatively evaluated by others, in which case it is referred to as Social Phobia. As the afflicted person becomes more worried about the others' criticism or worried that they will act in humiliating or embarrassing ways, and preoccupied with avoiding the feared situations, a full scale Social Anxiety may develop, greatly affecting the life of the person.
Exposure to social or performance situations often will lead to marked anxiety or even panic attacks. If such situations could not be avoided they will be endured with extreme distress.
In some cases the dread and apprehension are so great that the person feels anxious just thinking about the feared situations. In many instances the person will go to great lengths to avoid performing tasks in the feared situations. For example, they may avoid meeting new people, they may avoid being in groups, or avoid speaking in front of other people.
In many cases the marked and persistent feelings of anxiety and the strategies employed to avoid the feared situations may greatly disrupt the life of the sufferer. In their attempt to find a cure for their Fear of blushing (Erythrophobia) or the increased sweating and the associated anxiety (Hyperhidrosis) some persons may even consider presenting to surgeons for cures for complains of excessive blushing or sweating.
Social Anxiety may start as Fear of public speaking (Glossophobia) as commonly people are afraid of speaking in public (e.g. work meetings or presentations) or performing in front of an audience (including a friendly game at a party, or being with a large group of people) for the fear of being scrutinised.
Panic attacks can also occur under intense fear.
As the marked and persistent fear of negative evaluation in social or performance situations is at the core of Social Anxiety, the symptoms described above usually manifest when the affected persons fear that they will act in humiliating or embarrassing ways.
Untreated, Social Anxiety or Fear of public speaking can result in a reduced quality of life for the afflicted persons.
Recovery from Social Anxiety or the Fear of public speaking is possible in many cases, and psychotherapy can help.
Please note that the symptoms above should not be used for self-diagnosis or to diagnose others. If you experience any of the symptoms described above in social circumstances, contact us now to make an appointment for a confidential discussion.