Dallas CBT specializes in exposure therapy, which is the gold-standard cognitive behavioral treatment for social anxiety in children and adults. Treatment is offered both in individual and group formats and is short-term, with significant progress often seen around 16 sessions. Typical goals for treatment include feeling less anxious around others, increasing social activities, establishing friendships or romantic relationships, improving mood and, overall, living a more fulfilling life. You can read more detailed information about the therapy below.
Contact Us. To begin therapy for social anxiety with Dallas CBT, contact us at 214-305-2110 to schedule an initial appointment or to further discuss this treatment with a therapist. You can also fill out the web contact form below to receive more information about treatment. In addition to traditional in-person therapy, online therapy may be an appropriate treatment option for clients struggling with social anxiety (for more information, see our Online Therapy page).
What is Social Anxiety?
Experiencing anxiety in social or performance situations is actually quite common; in fact, public speaking is often at the top of most people’s’ lists of feared situations. However, social anxiety disorder is more than discomfort around others or shyness. Social anxiety is a strong fear of being judged or embarrassed in front of others, despite a desire to be social. This fear can manifest in everyday social situations, situations where one is being observed (e.g., eating, writing), or performance situations (e.g., giving a speech), to name a few. Social anxiety makes it extremely difficult to go to school or work, meet new people, or even talk to the cashier at the store, which can lead individuals with social anxiety to avoid social situations as much as possible.
Potential signs of social anxiety:
- Frequent worry of being embarrassed, humiliated, or seen negatively
- Strong physical sensations like a racing heart, heavy breathing, blushing, sweating, trembling or upset stomach when in social situations
- Replaying social interactions over and over in your head
- Avoidance or serious distress around activities that involve other people such as parties, meetings at work, talking to authorities, or speaking in front of others
- Worrying for days or weeks leading up to a social event
- In children, these symptoms may manifest in crying, tantrums, freezing, clinging, or failing to speak in social situations
- These symptoms have persisted for several months or more
Dallas CBT offers both individual exposure therapy for children and adults, as well as a state-of-the-art group exposure therapy program for adults with social anxiety. Exposure therapy is a type of cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) that is the most effective for anxiety disorders. In fact, it is often referred to as the “gold-standard” of psychological treatments for these issues. Exposure involves gradually and systematically confronting fears and anxiety-provoking situations that you have been avoiding, with the aid and support of your therapist. Exposure provides the opportunity to learn that feared consequences are unlikely to come true and that your anxiety will go down naturally over time– and after repeated exposure, it will stay down. Exposures can be conducted as imaginal, where you are asked to imagine a feared situation, in vivo, or real life exposure, and interoceptive, which involves confronting feared bodily sensations. The overarching goal of exposure therapy is to reduce or eliminate avoidance of objectively safe situations, which leads to reduction in anxiety about these situations. Although this treatment causes short-term anxiety, as it involves facing the fears that you have been avoiding, it is the most effective way to gain long-term freedom from anxiety.
Our social anxiety group treatment is a 12-16 week program that meets for 2-hr sessions weekly. Group therapy for social anxiety offers an effective way to confront feared social situations and improve social skills in a supportive environment, in real time. Group therapy is often our recommended course of treatment for individuals with social anxiety; however, we also offer individual therapy for these issues. Individual CBT for Social Anxiety typically involves weekly 50-minute or 90-minute sessions, across 12-16 weeks. However, the length of the program can vary according to the individual’s needs.
In exposure therapy, you can expect to: learn about causes of anxiety and factors maintaining it, identify the role that thoughts play in the anxiety process while learning to frame thoughts differently and, most importantly, engage in gradual and systematic exposure to social situations which provoke anxiety. Treatment is tailored to each client, with their specific type of anxiety and their own experiences influencing the content of each component of treatment.