I have been diagnosed with social anxiety twice*, but I was never able to identify with the characters in the social anxiety case stories and their irrational thought patterns. I do however have or have had some social anxiety symptoms, such as Telephobia (gone), performance anxiety (now mild or rare, and doesn’t apply to all situations, e.g. I’m usually fine with singing for an audience), and aeroplane-claustrophobia (strikes at random intervals on flights).
I find Cognitive Behaviour Therapy strategies very effective as a way to map and deconstruct classic social anxiety problems (irrational like in the case stories), but I don’t think CBT works on atypical social anxiety problems not mentioned in case stories, such as rational and experience-driven, sensory-based, non-verbal** forms of anxiety.
The below series explains my version of social anxiety (mainly atypical), and evaluates some of the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy techniques I tried – both taught ones and some I made up.
Social anxiety and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
Series about my experiences and reflections about typical and atypical social anxiety, and self-treatment with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
- Zone of normality and the fear of standing out
- What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
- Worry Record Keeping. A CBT technique.
- The ‘Asking for feedback’ strategy’. Another CBT technique
- Blogging as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Inspired by The Shyness Project by Brittany Woods.
*Although I didn’t take the first time seriously and only came to think of it recently. I doubt the diagnosis was correct on any of the two occasions.
**What I mean with non-verbal here is that there are no thoughts or thought patterns that can be expressed as words or sentences seem related to the anxiety, and therefore there is no systematic logic (rational or irrational) to address with CBT.