Behavioral Therapy For Social Anxiety
Behavioral therapy for social anxiety is a type of mental health treatment that involves learning how to retrain your thinking patterns and behaviors. This can help alleviate fears and anxieties around social situations while strengthening relationships with others.
Individual psychotherapy and cognitive therapy are two popular types of behavioral therapies used to treat social anxiety. Individual psychotherapy focuses on discussing your feelings and experiences with a therapist in a safe space, allowing you to express and explore your thoughts without judgement or criticism from the therapist.
In this type of talk therapy, your therapist may ask you questions to identify what has caused your feelings and symptoms to develop in the first place. Doing this helps uncover and address the underlying causes of your anxiety, equipping you with healthy coping mechanisms for future social encounters.
The therapist may offer techniques for dealing with negative thoughts and beliefs that keep your symptoms active. These are known as “cognitive distortions.” Your therapist will work alongside you to identify these thought patterns and teach you methods for changing them.
This technique is essential as it can help you identify unhealthy attitudes causing your symptoms. Furthermore, reframe your thoughts and beliefs so you can see them more realistically, which in turn reduces social anxiety levels.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety is an evidence-based and disorder-specific approach to treating social phobia. It involves teaching skills and strategies to reframe unhealthy thought patterns, such as irrational fears about social situations or avoiding people.
Systematic desensitization is another effective behavioral method for social anxiety that can help you manage your fears. This involves breaking up a potentially stressful situation into smaller bits and gradually working through each one one at a time, to reduce the level of fear you feel.
In this type of behavioral therapy, your therapist will guide and support you as you practice exposures to situations that trigger your anxiety in a safe and supportive setting. They will then provide feedback regarding how well you’re performing and work with you toward improving incrementally.
Role-playing is an effective method your therapist may suggest for practicing different situations with other group members. This can be especially helpful if you feel anxious about making eye contact or practicing for a presentation.
Therapy often begins with your therapist using a nonjudgmental attitude and being patient with you. This encourages people to open up more and get the most out of each session.
Your therapist will also teach you self-advocacy and give you homework between sessions to reinforce the strategies taught during therapy. Doing this can make you a more confident individual, helping to reduce social anxiety more quickly.
Many patients with social anxiety have found success through this therapy, but it does require a significant amount of effort on your part to acquire the skills and strategies required for its successful implementation. Furthermore, you must ensure you maintain your practice to avoid falling into old patterns that lead to relapse.