Social Anxiety (Social Phobia)

Social Phobia

Social Anxiety (Social Phobia) is one todays most common anxiety disorders.


Social anxiety is much more than shyness, it is a fear of being around people or in

Ironically, being with other people is something we need as human beings to help us survive and thrive.  Human are tribal, we’re pack animals, we don’t have many natural defences – we’re not poisonous, we don’t have dangerous spiky things all over our bodies and, quite frankly, we can’t run very fast – our strength is in our numbers and throughout evolution we have survived living in tight knit family groups and communities, we’re not great on our own.  In fact, its only in the last 40 years or so that we have started to live more isolated lives, even in my parents generation, it was virtually unheard of for someone to leave home and live on their own, but now it is common place and easy.

One of the not so beneficial side effects of technology is that it’s isolating, we communicate by text, email, social media, through computer screen and mobile phones, we are talking less and meeting up even less – we don’t even have to go out and get our food these days, we can order our groceries over the internet and have it delivered to our door – so is it really any wonder that social situations are becoming more difficult for people.  Not so long ago, we didn’t have a choice, it wasn’t an option to have a social phobia or anxiety, but it’s a condition that is on the increase and aided by our technology.

Even more ironically, those people who develop social anxiety or social phobia are usually lovely, likeable people who wouldn’t offend anyone either accidentally or intentionally, however, their social anxiety comes from worrying about what other people think about them.  Humans find it difficult to deal with ambiguity, we hate not knowing so we tend to fill in the blanks with our imagination and people with social anxiety or social phobia are filling in the blanks of what other people are thinking about them, they are imagining others will judge them or think they are stupid or inadequate in some way.  Now the problem here is that our brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality, so when we imagine someone else is going to laugh at us or we’re going to be humiliated by something we do or say, we will believe it and create the anxiety which then stops us doing the very things we need to do – be with people.

Have you ever experienced a situation when you’ve arranged to go out with friends or relatives for an evening or event, it comes to the day and you don’t feel like it, you don’t feel up to it and you really don’t want to go – but you can’t think of an excuse or letting them down is an even worse option and you go anyway and end up having the best time?  I know I’ve done that.  When we are socialising we create beneficial hormones and neurotransmitters which make us feel good, but when we create anxiety by negatively forecasting and worrying about a situation, we create adrenalin instead which takes over and we avoid putting ourselves in that situation because adrenalin = crisis, emergency or danger – to be avoided.

At Old Town Hypnotherapy solution focused techniques combined with hypnosis help sufferers of social anxiety or social phobia to change the way they are viewing social situation and social interactions, gain confidence and increase self esteem.

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