What is Social Phobia?
- Jennifer Baxt, LMFT, LMHC
Who would have thought that a member of a species that tends to be more social in nature would have such an intense shyness or fear of socializing with other members of its own species? It may seem strange, but there are a lot of people out there who are shy of other people and some of these people are so shy of other people that they cant even make friends. If not corrected, a person can develop an anxiety or an intense fear of socializing with other people. They will have little difficulty with socializing with their own family members, but when it comes to being around people they are unfamiliar with socializing can be one of the most difficult things for them to do.
How is social phobia treated? Therapy or counseling is often recommended for anyone who may be suffering from social phobia. This phobia can often make life complicated and can get in the way of a persons ability to succeed in life. This is why consulting a professional is highly recommended if someone wishes to overcome their phobia. Of course, this can be difficult for someone who has an intense fear of meeting and socializing with new people. Some, with the help of caring family members, can eventually make it in to see a therapist or counselor in person; however, there is another option for people who are too uncomfortable meeting someone new. There is phone counseling, but online therapy is fast becoming a way for people suffering from this kind of phobia to get the help they require. In most cases, when people with this phobia are unaware of the online therapy now available, they try to stay home as much as they can, will avoid any social events when possible and will tend to avoid seeking the help they need, because they believe it will require them to meet with a therapist in person.
Someone with social phobia can avoid this discomfort if they have a computer and internet connection at home. All they have to do is make the commitment to remain in constant communication with their online therapist. A quick search on the internet will bring up a few different sites of therapists who will be able to help the patient overcome their fear of socializing. Online therapy is probably the easiest way for a person with this phobia to get the help they need. They can converse with the therapist in a way that eliminates the uncomfortable atmosphere. Now, while it is easier for the patient because they are not speaking with the therapist in person but from the comfort of their own home, it might still be a little uncomfortable for the patient to be open with someone they have never met and are unfamiliar with. In most cases, this discomfort is minimal and is worth trying to push it aside to make their lives easier out in the social world. This could almost be considered the first step toward pushing the phobia away and coming closer to being able to feel more confident in ones self in the social world.