social anxiety

Social Anxiety Disorder – Social Phobia

While many of us can feel nervous or uncomfortable in a social situation, for those with Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as social phobia) these feelings are quite overwhelming and disabling. The person might end up avoiding all social contact with others simply because these ‘normal’ social situations make them feel extremely uncomfortable or embarrassed. In extreme instances the whole of the person’s life, not just the social, can gradually start to fall apart.

Triggers might be:


  • Talking to strangers
  • Speaking in public
  • Going on a date
  • Making eye contact
  • Entering rooms
  • Using public spaces or facilities
  • Going to parties
  • Eating in front of other people
  • Going to school or work
  • Starting conversations

For some giving a speech is relatively easy while going to a party can be a nightmare. Alternatively, the person can easily manage a one-on-one conversation yet feel unable to step into a crowded classroom. What this highlights is that there are a variety of underlying reasons for dreading certain social situations. For example, the person might suffer from an overwhelming fear of being judged, being embarrassed or humiliated, offending someone accidentally, or suddenly becoming the centre of attention.

While targeted treatments such as CBT are shown to be highly effective other therapies which help build the person’s sense of self-esteem and confidence can also be extremely beneficial. Research has shown that a wide range of factors can be of relevance to explaining the condition, which depends largely on the individual.

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Therapy for phobias


A phobia is a marked or excessive fear reaction with an irrational foundation, often accompanied by a deep sense of dread or panic when the person is confronted with the source of their fear. The fear can be of a certain place, situation, or object. Unlike other anxiety disorders, the key feature of a phobia is that it's deeply connected with something specific. Such fears can have a limited impact if the source is avoidable, but when the object or situation is commonplace they can interfere with work, school, or even personal relationships to a drastic degree.

A variety of factors can cause phobias. For example, research has shown that who have a close relative with an anxiety disorder are at greater risk of developing a phobia. Traumatic events have also been noted as a frequent trigger for the onset of a phobia. People with health concerns often develop phobias, as well as a high incidence of people developing phobias after traumatic brain injuries. Substance abuse and depression are also associated with a higher incidence of phobia.

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is the most commonly recommended treatment for phobias and usually involves carefully graded exposures to the source of the fear in a controlled setting, with the goal of gradually deconditioning the individual to the source. Other forms of therapy can also be helpful, with the view to exploring possible roots of the fear in key traumatic events in the person's life.

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Low Self-Esteem

What is self–esteem?

Its that part of us that, when it is low, leaves us feeling depressed, hopeless and causes us to view the world and our lives in a negative way. When our self-esteem is high, we feel that the world is a good place full of opportunities, we feel optimistic and powerful.

What causes low self–esteem?

All sorts of things can cause low self-esteem anything from losing a job to being bereaved. It may be that the latest blow we experience is one too many or the last straw. We may be vulnerable because of things that have happened to us as a child or our physical health may not be good. A blow to our self-esteem can occur when we feel like we have little power in situations such as, starting a new job, being part of a dysfunctional relationship or leaving home for the first time.

Ways to build self-esteem

  • Begin by taking care of your physical health by eating properly and taking some exercise
  • Set yourself goals that you can realistically reach and that will give you a sense of accomplishment
  • Devise a plan that involves treating yourself, remind yourself that everyone including you deserves to have pleasure, fun and nurturing in their lives
  • Notice the things that you do well. We learn new skills all the time, sometimes its good to reflect on how far you have come and on things you have accomplished
  • Identify situations or places where you feel as though you have little power. Visualise these situations or places with you feeling more comfortable and in control
  • Read up on assertiveness skills and practice these new skills on a regular basis. Having your need met will boost your self-esteem

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eating disorders counselling

Eating Disorders

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating Disorders fall into several categories. Anorexia is when people will starve themselves until they are very thin. Bulimia is when a person will maintain their normal weight but have bouts of binge eating accompanied by purging. Compulsive eating is characterised by episodes of binge eating and feeling out of control. All eating disorders can be characterised by a preoccupation with food and a reliance on behaviour associated with food to deal with difficult emotions.


What causes Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are often described as an outward sign of inner turmoil and emotional pain. Those who suffer with eating disorders have developed obsessive thoughts about food and use this as a maladaptive way of dealing with emotional pain.


Ways to Manage Eating Disorders

  • Acknowledge to yourself that your relationship with food is not a healthy one and that it is causing you distress and harm
  • Talk to someone you trust about your problem with food, it may help you come to terms with the fact that you have a problem
  • Educate yourself on the physical effects of what is happening to your body so that you can monitor your health carefully
  • Try keeping a daily diary of what you eat and drink, and of what you were feeling before and afterwards. Be honest with yourself. Do you notice any patterns?

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help with panic attacks worcester

Anxiety & Panic

Panic attacks often appear to come out of the blue, they strike suddenly and cause people to feel powerless and out of control. Many people experience panic attacks and most are able to learn to manage them with help. When faced with a situation we perceive as dangerous our body gears itself up for ‘flight or fight’. It does this through releasing adrenalin and this has the following effect on our bodies:

  • Muscles tense and breathing becomes faster and shallower
  • The heart pumps harder to get blood to where it is needed, blood is diverted away from areas which don’t need it
  • The senses become more alert i.e. hearing, taste, smell, sight and touch will all become more sensitive

Some Panic Attack Symptoms

In some cases a person may experience very rapid breathing or feeling unable to breathe, accompanied by a very rapid heartbeat. Often there are pains in the chest and feelings of faintness and dizziness. Sweating and ringing in the ears are also common signs.

Ways to Manage Panic Attacks

Breathing into a paper bag or into a cupped hand will help to reduce the symptoms of a panic attack initially

Learning various relaxation and breathing techniques will help, as will ensuring a good diet to maintain blood sugar levels

One of the first steps to managing panic attacks is to recognise your thoughts and feelings in the build up to an attack and also telling yourself that you have the power to control your symptoms

If you would like to talk with an experienced counsellor then please contact us at Worcester Therapy Group

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