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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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

Get in touch to book an Initial Assessment

Or give us a call if you have any questions