Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), also known as Social Phobia, creates a feeling of overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. People that live with Social Anxiety will be all too familiar with a sense of persistent, intense, and chronic fear that they are being judged by others and that everything they do is somehow embarrassing. This feeling of fear can become so intense that they avoid social situations including the workplace.
Some of the symptoms of social anxiety include (but are not limited to):......
There are varying degrees of Social Anxiety Disorder, on one end of the spectrum a person may fear Public Speaking yet be relatively comfortable in one-to-one social interactions. On the other end of the spectrum a person may fear any kind of interaction, their imagination will anticipate all kinds of doom filled scenarios in which they make a fool of themselves at an upcoming social event until the dread builds to the extent that they can’t bear the idea of going. Sometimes they will convince themselves that the people they are to see don’t really want to see them, that they’ve only been invited out of pity or obligation, sometimes they will convince themselves that it’s all too hard “I’ll have to get changed, drive all the way there” etc. These excuses are driven by an underlying and often unconscious sense of foreboding. A common thread among all of the Anxiety clients I’ve seen over the years is that they are generally very intelligent and imaginative. They sometimes don’t recognise the extent of their imaginations fertility, however during the course of our sessions they realise that they have a gift that can be put to more constructive use.
Anxiety can create a self-fulfilling prophecy e.g. a person will be nervous and self-conscious about a social situation, and this anxiety will result in one of the many physical symptoms of anxiety e.g. trembling, perspiring, the constant need to clear the throat. They will then become self-conscious about these symptoms concerned that others notice them, and this will lead to a snowballing into greater anxiety.
More than 7% of the population are affected by Social Anxiety Disorder, men and women are equally affected. Generally it begins in childhood, it can be triggered by a number of things e.g. over anxious parenting, a minor event that made them feel exposed/humiliated (getting a word wrong in a spelling bee, wetting themselves), not having much exposure to socialising (this can sometimes happen with only children, and children with older parents that don’t have peers with family’s at the same stage) , an illness or a traumatic event. It doesn’t always result from these situations, and of course we may know of people that have been through incredibly traumatic childhoods and are now confident well-adjusted adults. It may just be the timing of the event, at a particularly susceptible moment; emotional bad luck so to speak.
Social Anxiety often exists alongside other anxiety disorders as well as Depression, and is often associated with addiction.
So how can Hypnotherapy Help?
Hypnotherapy and Counselling combined provide a powerful solution to Social Anxiety. My experience as a trained counsellor enables me to guide my clients to a deeper understanding of how Anxiety manifests for them. Everybody has their own unique take on this common issue, therefore a one size fits all approach is not effective in the long term. It’s by resolving the individuals own unique experience of anxiety that long term success is achieved; this means equipping clients to deal with setbacks and particularly high stress events.
Understanding the process of how the brain and body are both working together in an effort to execute a survival protocol is the first step. Often a person with anxiety will throw their efforts and energy into suppressing this process, focusing on not thinking certain thoughts or disguising symptoms. This is an immense drain on their physical and emotional energy. Hypnotherapy enables me to work with my clients to fast track the formation of a new more effective alliance between their sub-conscious and the self-defence mechanisms that the brains survival system is initiating. This enables the client to maintain an appropriate alarm system to protect them from real danger, while freeing up the energy used in trying to contain an oversensitive system to be used in more productive ways in their lives.
A step often missed in therapy is the establishment of the skills required to live life without anxiety. Often people walk out of therapy after a couple of sessions feeling relieved that their symptoms have reduced, so they don’t bother going back to therapy to consolidate their progress. The issue that can arise is that people that have lived with anxiety since childhood have frequently missed out on developing resilience skills and confidence. This means that the first challenging event can see their anxiety levels creep up again, and without the appropriate skills they don’t know how to stop them increasing and release the build-up. Hypnotherapy combined with psychotherapy and NLP can fast-track the establishment and embedding of these new skills. This is why I will only see people for a minimum of 3 sessions for anxiety, and for chronic anxiety I highly recommend 6 sessions.
It is remarkable what can be achieved in therapy. Sometimes people come to me fully identifying with their anxiety and believing that their personality is fixed and that they will always be stuck in the limited world created for them by anxiety. It’s always incredibly rewarding to see the breakthrough moments and shifts that occur, which I know will make an enormous liberating difference to their lives.
Georgina Mitchell is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Counsellor in Mentone South East Melbourne. Specialising in Anxiety Disorders and Weight Loss.
Call 0435 923 817 to use this Hypnotherapy Contact Form to make and enquiry.
Georgina Mitchell was born in Ireland, moving to Australia in 1989. Georgina spent many years working in senior management in the Corporate world, before leaving to pursue her passion to become a Therapist.
Melbourne Hypnotherapy Blog
Please note as with all therapies, Results for Therapies delivered by Hypfocus may vary from person to person