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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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How to overcome social phobia

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how to overcome social phobia

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

A phobia develops when someone feels fear in a situation that does not normally cause fear. However, the person begins to experience anxiety and other symptoms that are difficult to cope with. The symptoms become associated with the situation and a phobia develops.

Facing your fear is one of the best ways to help yourself to overcome the symptoms associated with it. Once you learn to face what you feel, you learn to no longer feel afraid. This is best done with the help of a therapist who can provide support and help explain why you feel as you do.

Here are some other tips to help you:

When it comes to talking with other people and being social, many people experience fears. One of the most significant is not knowing what to say. This also creates the fear that others will feel you are uninterested or even socially awkward.

The best way to approach this is to have in mind at least three topics that fit any social situation, such as current events, social events involving the group and something about the group you are in such as something someone is wearing. Practice talking about these topics with "safe" people like family or a close friend.

Another fear is that people will notice how nervous you are. To deal with this fear, it helps to confront it by asking yourself "so what?". What can happen if they notice? Everyone has been afraid at one time or another so realizing that can help you feel less nervous.

Take along a comforting object, one that gives you tactile sensation, like a smooth stone. It can help to play with this object as you talk to not only distract you from feeling nervous, but also to calm you.

Social phobias often develop unexpressed emotions from either childhood or a trauma. Therapy can help a lot to learn what triggers these feelings of fear and what you can do about them. Also, self help can supplement therapy and help you learn how to relax when you feel fearful and learn to enjoy being out with others. Here are some resources to help you:

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne

Anxiety, Phobias, & Panic: A Step-by-Step Program for Regaining Control of Your Life by Reneau Z. Peurifoy

I hope this has helped you,


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