In part one of this two-part series, we discussed the experience of the Social Anxiety sufferer. In part two, we examine how to treat this condition with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and how Social Anxiety relates to other Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders.
Treatment of Social Anxiety
The most effective form of treatment for Social Anxiety is the same as in other Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is because, like the other disorders in the spectrum, Social Anxiety involves an obsession and a series of compulsions which form a cycle.
The fundamental obsession in Social Anxiety is the fear of being evaluated negatively. This generally includes fears of being rejected, as well as the fear of being singled out for humiliation and traumatized by emotional abuse from others. The primary compulsion in Social Anxiety is the phobic avoidance of social situations in which one fears rejection and/or humiliation (thus its synonym, Social Phobia).
It is tempting to look at avoidance as the absence of engaging in social behavior. However, avoidance is an overt physical and mental behavior, the primary goal of which is to reduce or eliminate anxiety. For the individual with Social Anxiety, the act of choosing not to go to the party thus serves the same function as the act of choosing to wash one’s hands serves for the individual with OCD. Further, those with Social Anxiety who are able to commit to a social interaction may find themselves escaping mentally in the process by spending their energy focusing on things other than the present situation. Read More »