Does the thought of having to speak in front of several people cause you anxiety? Are you afraid of being exposed to other people’s criticism? Do you feel consequently incapable to participate in group work?
When suffering from social anxiety, it is much more than simply a notion of shyness and introvertedness. Situations that are normal for others can cause panic. While specific phobias (such as spider phobia) are well known and equally understood in our community, social phobias are less known. People with social phobias are bound to experience panic-like anxiety in common situations, such as eating in front of other people, commuting in a bus, visiting a crowded lecture hall. As a result, such situations can increasingly be avoided, which subsequently will lead to great difficulties in social, professional and everyday life.
What can I do?
A therapist can help you understand how social anxiety works and how to identify situations that trigger and sustain your fears. These terrifying situations will in future be imagined while, gradually guided and aided by your therapist, you will learn how to confront these situations in real life. In visualizing theses trigger moments your brain learns how these situations are in fact not dangerous. Gradually you will dissolve your own negative thought patterns until situations that triggered your anxiety earlier will be well managed.
The psychological counseling for students offers workshops dealing with this topic on a regular basis.