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Counselling 4 Anxiety

Online and in-person Counsellor in Knightsbridge, Marylebone, Marble Arch & Central London

First for Care, Counselling & Community

How Hypnotherapy Can Help Manage Social Anxiety? – Counselling 4 Anxiety

Social anxiety affects many people and is very treatable through counselling and hypnotherapy.

Allied with social anxiety are behaviours that include avoidance, stress that is sometimes felt in the shoulders, arms and back muscles and sensations such as blushing. Cognitive thoughts could include, “am I able to cope”, “this will be embarrassing” or “I cannot look at people that I am presenting to”. Underlying these thoughts are core beliefs that I work with the client to uncover as a starting process to look at what is 'underneath the bonnet', driving such thoughts.

For some clients, core beliefs may include “I am not able to cope”, or “I am weak” and it is important for the client to be aware of these and to go through the psycho-educational process of understanding that they exist and that they can change their responses and the internal dialogue that they are having with themselves. It is at moments of stress, such as when they are giving a speech or a presentation, when the core beliefs can affect and develop thoughts that are anxiety inducing and affect the confidence of individuals.

Role plays and working through the internal dialogue that clients have, so that they can take a more compassionate approach to internal narratives, can help them to train, manage and weaken the core beliefs. It also gives them the space for them to reflect on language that can build and support their resilience and which can be embraced by them as the scaffolding to overcome their social anxiety.

Repeating this process of reappraising their core beliefs, deconstructing them and reflecting with clients as to whether they have any actual substance or not, are an essential part of the re-appraisal process. Furthermore, gently placing the client into those moments, (such as getting them to visualise that they are going to give a speech), and using breathing and muscle tension and relaxation exercises, provide additional tools that clients can use, whilst chipping away at any cumulative anxiety that may be building up if they are going to give a speech in the future.

Social anxiety is therefore one of the spectra of anxiety conditions where we as therapists can make a real difference  to the client's resilience. In today’s world, where there are more work pressures and where greater duties at work are expected from staff, reducing social anxiety makes significant gains for clients emotionally, mentally and economically. It also raises their sense of self-achievement and more importantly, their sense ‘that they can cope’.

Social anxiety is therefore based on an internal defensive reaction and it is not the anxiety that is at the root of the issue. Whilst client's will feel discomfort and focus on the anxiety symptoms around societal engagement, at the root of this is what the client believes about themselves and what a specific social engagement will do to them. These are the driving forces which are at the root of social anxiety. Focussing on these, whilst providing anxiety reducing tools, are a roadmap for a future where client's can widen the scope of life experiences and with it, a greater joy in life.

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