Benefits Of Group Therapy For Social Anxiety

Benefits of group therapy for social anxiety

Patricia is sitting in the passenger seat while waiting for her father to return from the pharmacy. She would have liked to go to the store on her own, but she began to feel her hands soaked and her heart racing. Again. She is a little calmer now, but her thoughts continue to wander from one side of her mind to the other: ”The cashier would have made fun of me for the clothes I wear, she would have discussed something with another employee. In the best case scenario, she would have burst out laughing in my face because when I speak she doesn’t understand. “I’m ridiculous”.

The issue of getting anxious before entering a business is just the little finger of the problem. At work, Patricia makes sure to take a break in the park just when she knows her boss will arrive at the office. Although she is very good at her job and she wants with all her might to get a promotion in the company, at that moment she is invaded those physical sensations and those such unpleasant thoughts: “How can he want to promote me if I can’t even look him in the eye?”. At meetings with friends and on dates, the same thing happens to her: her thoughts come to the surface, she avoids events to which she is invited at all costs, and Although it relieves her anxiety momentarily, she later regrets it, feeling terrible about herself..

Dismantling social anxiety: what happens in this disorder?

Patricia’s story could represent a case of social anxiety, which is also known as social phobia. Social anxiety is characterized by the presence of a constant fear of the disapproval of others, of being evaluated and judged by others, which produces high levels of anxiety, all of this over a prolonged period of time.

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The physical symptoms that show anxiety could be sweating, redness, palpitations, intense stomach pain, among others. The feared situations can be real or hypothetical, and the mere fact of thinking about them is distressing for the person. The way by which he manages to escape from that cloud of discomfort is avoidance of feared experiences.

The problem is that behind many social situations from which a person tends to flee could be an achievement that represents something extremely significant for their life, as is the case with the job opportunity that Patricia aspires to. Here’s what’s really problematic: suffering from social anxiety disorder can be not only painful, but also very limiting in creating the life you want to live.

Fortunately, There are many psychological therapies with strong empirical support for the treatment of social phobia.. In recent decades, group treatments have been developed that have also proven to be very beneficial. For this reason, below we will develop what group therapy for social anxiety is based on and what its benefits are.

Group therapy as a treatment for social anxiety

The most efficient group-based treatments for social anxiety are adaptations of individual psychotherapy. Contrary to what might be believed if we refer to subjects with social anxiety, this change in modality does not represent a problem for the improvement of clinical symptoms.

One of the most used treatments is cognitive-behavioral group therapy in social anxiety disorder. —also known by its acronym in English, CBGT—, which was developed by Heimberg and collaborators in 2002. In general, this intervention promotes a context in which exposure exercises to feared situations and sensations are simulated, while carrying out carry out the therapeutic process of cognitive restructuring.

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The latter consists of the subject being able to elucidate that the beliefs with which they interpret reality could be biased or distorted, since cognitive-behavioral therapy assumes that biases are a fundamental part of the maintenance of the disease. That is, people who participate in groups for social phobia They question the veracity of the thoughts that prompt them to act in a certain way. —returning to Patricia’s case, you could work on questioning her belief of “I’m ridiculous” and replace it with a more adaptive one. Groups will also be trained in social and relaxation skills.