How Can Psychotherapy and Exposure Therapy Help Improve My Social Anxiety?

How Can Psychotherapy and Exposure Therapy Help Improve My Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety can often leave individuals feeling left out. Some individuals who have an intense fear of social interaction may begin to isolate themselves from social events. Yet this isolation can exacerbate one’s mental health issues. It can be helpful to remember that connections bring positive opportunities. When one avoids social interaction, this can lead to a lack of motivation and boredom. Exposure therapy can help people become more comfortable in social settings. Psychotherapy with 12 South Recovery is also an effective treatment option for overcoming the symptoms related to social anxiety. 

What Is Social Anxiety?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), social anxiety is a mental health condition in which an individual feels an overwhelming fear of being scrutinized and evaluated by their surroundings. This intense level of fear can affect one’s ability to function in certain settings. When an individual is feeling symptoms of anxiety, these feelings can be extremely distracting and cause difficulty concentrating.

An individual’s workplace, education, and other areas of life can be negatively impacted by social anxiety. Social anxiety can also make it difficult to maintain strong relationships with peers, as it can be a challenge to open up or confide in others. An individual facing challenges with this mental health condition may have difficulty with public speaking, making professional connections, dating, or even asking or answering important questions.

If an individual’s case is severe, they may even be extremely uncomfortable doing everyday things such as using public restrooms, eating or drinking in front of others, or simply engaging in conversation. This can be due to fears of humiliation and rejection.

How Can Exposure Help Individuals Cope With Social Anxiety?

Staying at home or choosing to be alone may be comforting for some individuals. However, too much time alone can backfire and potentially make one’s problems worse. Going for long periods without interacting with anyone can increase awkwardness from the lack of daily social practice. Not getting out much can even result in driving anxiety, which is a fear of handling or riding in a car, which makes it extremely difficult to go out and do things. 

Exposure therapy is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that can help with confronting feared situations. It can be especially effective for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorders, phobias, and social anxiety. 

This professional therapy approach helps individuals decrease their fear by approaching the situation incrementally. A person may begin by imagining frightening social scenarios. Then they can work up to approaching situations on the periphery until they can be fully immersed in the feared situation. Exposure therapy works because it helps a person to habituate to feared situations, gradually generating less of a reaction as the situation is confronted.

How Connecting Can Decrease Anxiety

When an individual receives an invite to a family event, wedding reception, or career fair, they may think twice or dread the outing. Family and friends are important, however, as they can provide emotional support or guidance in times of need. Wedding receptions are a fun way to decompress with music, tasty food, and good company. Career fairs can change one’s entire life by networking with like-minded professionals.

Participating in exposure therapy can allow a person to begin receiving the benefits of social connection again. while not everybody is going to be friendly, there will always be someone else who is feeling anxiety in those settings too. 

The Value of Psychotherapy for Social Anxiety

According to MedlinePlus, psychotherapy can help relieve social anxiety. Psychotherapy can also be known as talk therapy. Discussing feared situations with a safe person can help put one’s anxiety into perspective.

Additionally, a psychotherapist can help a person to explore underlying traumatic experiences or stressful events that may have led to the development of anxiety. A number of techniques can help pinpoint the root of the anxiety and resolve any associated past traumas, leading to the elimination of anxiety symptoms.

Other types of talk therapy, such as CBT, can help someone learn new strategies to manage emotions and successfully interact with others in social settings. As mentioned, exposure-based CBT therapy can help individuals successfully approach new surroundings without feelings of avoidance. 

Moving Forward With Psychotherapy at 12 South Recovery

Participating in CBT can provide many benefits. CBT with 12 South Recovery can offer help to those who are facing challenges with social anxiety. The benefits of CBT therapy can be recognized in just a few sessions. With guidance, continued exposure to feared situations can help individuals live a more comfortable and confident lifestyle in social settings. 

It’s important to take the skills learned in therapy and use them outside of treatment. This can increase an individual’s ability to cope with their symptoms or overcome social anxiety altogether. Equally important is balancing self-care with social engagement. 

Choosing to stick to treatment can bring positive results. Throughout the process, it’s important to communicate concerns to one’s healthcare providers to ensure a personalized, well-suited treatment path. Researching social anxiety, trying new therapies, and possibly participating in group therapy can increase one’s self-esteem. When an individual accepts they have a mental health condition, seeks professional treatment, and stays dedicated to their goals, they can find tranquility. 

Social anxiety can dominate a person’s life. Psychotherapy and exposure therapy can be beneficial for people who are facing challenges in social situations. Choosing to seek professional treatment can decrease or eliminate many instances of social anxiety. At 12 South Recovery in Orange County, our staff works hard to combine therapy, counseling, and medical support to create individualized mental health programs. We have compassionate staff members who provide trauma-focused and evidence-based therapies that get to the root of the problem. If you or a loved one are in need of professional support for social anxiety, call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374. Our team would happily teach you the skills needed to live a better quality of life. 

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