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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2568
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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My 19 year old daughter has slowly been sharing some of her

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My 19 year old daughter has slowly been sharing some of her life struggles with me. I have felt for years a mothers instinct that she just was deeply hurt. She always tells me she is happy but as I discuss life with her more, which could include dating, college, bad relationships and our own family disfunctions she is opening more doors to me. We are both pretty open with each other and I encourage my daughter to not be afraid to search for answers that will give her a better quality of life. We both feel she has some form of social anxiety, which she is trying to overcome these issues. She also told me she kind of feels dead inside and cant seem to feel love when dating. She isnt comfortable with affections so said she doesnt like making out (I didnt pry about sex). she thinks she has felt this way since the break up from her 2 year high school sweetheart that lied and cheated on her. She wants to know what topic to read about that might help her understand what is going on.

Hello, and welcome to JA.

It is really great to hear how the two of you can be so open with each other - keep it up, it's such a rarity these days!

Reading can often help, but equally, it can cause a lot of confusion and lead us down a few blind alleys.

Therefore, I’m going to suggest that she would benefit greatly from a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.

CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also cause the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.

These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.

If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted,

the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.

Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.

Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.

Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.

Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:

If she cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:

Indeed she may want to try this option, just to see how she feels about it.

Meantime back to reading material. There is a book which I think could be useful. It is “A Comprehensive Guide to is Living Fully with Shyness and Social Anxiety:” by Erika Bukkfalvi Hilliard, and is available from most online booksellers.

Best wishes,


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