How Do I Navigate Group Therapy When I Experience Social Anxiety?

How Do I Navigate Group Therapy When I Experience Social Anxiety?

Anxiety disorders are one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health issues in the United States. An estimated 31.1% of adults in the United States will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. Anxiety can affect many aspects of a person’s life, making it difficult to function from day to day. Social anxiety disorder is one specific anxiety-related condition that not only interferes with one’s ability to function normally but can also interfere with one’s ability to interact with treatment. 

What Is Social Anxiety?

While a certain amount of nervousness in social situations can be expected from time to time, most people can manage these feelings and still function easily in various settings. Social anxiety is a much more extreme experience. It will severely impact a person’s mental health and ability to fulfill social obligations.

Social anxiety can cause significant stress before, during, and after a social event. This stress might include significant feelings of self-consciousness or an intense fear of interacting with other people. You may also find yourself experiencing physiological symptoms such as sweating or blushing. These feelings will lead to avoidance of social interactions that will impact your relationships and daily routines. 

Sometimes social anxiety can lead to co-occurring disorders. Individuals may become depressed because of their inability to maintain a social circle. Substance use disorders (SUDs) can also develop if a person relies on recreational drug and alcohol use to cope with symptoms of social anxiety. It is crucial to gain a better understanding of the cause of your anxieties and develop healthy ways to cope.

How to Treat Social Anxiety

Often the first step toward treating social anxiety disorder includes psychotherapy or talk therapy. Individual therapy can help you learn to explore the causes of your anxieties. A therapist can help you develop the skills you will need to change negative thought patterns and gain confidence in social situations.

Another effective tool in treating social anxiety is group therapy. Group therapy may seem like a daunting challenge for people who struggle in social situations. It is important to work with your therapist to develop a plan for going into group therapy. Make small, achievable goals for yourself that help you push out of your comfort zone without overwhelming you, which may cause regression in your treatment process. 

When beginning group therapy, you must rely on the healthy coping skills you have developed. Testing these skills out in a controlled setting with extra support from professionals and peers can be very useful in preparing you for real-world situations. Group therapy can be extraordinarily useful to help you feel empowered and gain the confidence to excel in social situations.  

How Does Group Therapy Help With Social Anxiety?

Often, social anxiety leads to isolation. Outpatient services, such as group therapy, can help you end isolation by providing the opportunity to develop relationships with people who are all working towards the same goals. These relationships can be very reassuring and supportive for a person struggling with social anxiety. In group therapy, you will get the chance to realize you are not alone. Being in a compassionate and understanding group setting will help you overcome your fears.

A group setting where you are able to feel more comfortable will help you build on your social abilities. You can practice social skills such as interpersonal communication and self-expression. You will also be able to implement tools for setting boundaries and managing conflict. Group therapy can help you develop a higher tolerance for social anxiety by boosting your confidence.

Another benefit of group therapy is being able to work on issues in the moment. In regular talk therapy, you can talk with your therapist about things that have happened or things that might happen. You can discuss things from your perspective and work through your experiences. With your therapist, you discuss ways to navigate different scenarios and then have to follow through on your own.  

During group therapy, a group leader and other group members will be able to help you practice your social interactions. In this setting, you can identify faulty thinking or negative self-talk with the help of others. You can participate in role-playing to help relieve your anxieties. While participating in the group might also be able to help others, which can help create a positive sense of self.

Although group therapy may seem intimidating for you, it may be the right place for you to overcome your anxieties. A group therapy setting will help you feel more comfortable in social situations. The benefits of group therapy for social anxiety are well worth the initial effort it will take to overcome your fears.  

Finding Support

Reaching out for support takes strength and courage when you are dealing with social anxiety. At Alter Wellness Care, we strive to make every client feel welcome and comfortable from the first moment they contact us. Our compassionate team of experts offers a variety of evidence-based treatment programs that can help you achieve your goals. Whether you are seeking services for yourself or a loved one, Alter Wellness Care is the place for you. 

Social anxiety can leave you feeling isolated and overwhelmed. It can make reaching out for help a daunting task. At Alter Wellness Care, we understand and want to help you feel as comfortable as possible. Our excellent team provides empathetic care for all our clients. We offer a variety of outpatient services that will help you recognize the causes of your anxieties and help you overcome your unique challenges. The Alter Wellness Care team wants you to be happy, healthy, and confident. If your life has become impacted by your social anxiety, we can help. Reach out to our compassionate team today at (866) 311-3510 for more information on how our services can help you reach your goals. 

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