Presenting problem: Help for Social Anxiety
Treatment modality: BWRT®
Number of sessions: 1
G initially emailed looking for help for social anxiety. She had suffered with anxiety for a number of years and, with another Christmas party season looming, she had decided enough was enough – she wanted to enjoy the celebrations just the same as everyone else.
G explained her feelings of fear and panic would begin the moment she received any invitation to a social event, and would steadily worsen as the date drew nearer. If she hadn’t already cancelled, the day of the social event would be almost intolerable, with her anticipatory fear so severe that she would suffer painful stomach cramps and bouts of diarrhoea.
When anxiety reached its peak, G had got into the habit of drinking heavily to numb her feelings as she got ready to go out.
But she didn’t stop drinking at home. Once at the venue, G would continue to drink alcohol in such quantities that, by the end of the evening, she would be extremely intoxicated. Waking up the next day, usually with no recollection of the evening, she would be consumed by a different kind of anxiety, her overactive imagination inventing all kinds of drunken behaviour to be ashamed of. Contributing to the cycle of social anxiety, G’s shame could last for days after as she tried to recall elusive memories of embarrassing moments, vowing never to drink again.
Exploring the behaviour pattern, G remembered a particularly bad experience on her 18th birthday, when she was highly anxious and fretting about whether anyone would turn up. Her stomach had begun to cramp as she applied her make-up and got dressed, and she had poured herself a glass of wine to steady her nerves. While waiting for her friends to arrive G said she had unwittingly finished the bottle.
The following day, G’s memories of the party were vague. She asked her friends what happened and they teased her with stories of drunken antics, telling G that she had eventually passed out on the dance floor. As she recounted the scenario in my consulting room, G’s stomach cramped as she re-imagined the scenes.
G decided that, instead of feeling fraught with fear and anxiety about going to any kind of social event, she wanted to feel as calm, relaxed and centred as she did in her weekly yoga class. Incorporating this preferred response into the therapeutic process, at the end of the session she remarked that the cramps in her stomach had dissipated, along with the uncomfortable feelings attached to the memory of her birthday.
I heard from G a few weeks later when she rang to arrange another appointment. Delighted with how much better she was feeling, she had cut back on the booze and wanted to overcome her public-speaking anxiety. With a managerial position about to open up at work, G’s reluctance to showcase her talents during meetings had become an obstacle to promotion – something which she now very much had her sights on.
If you’re looking for help for social anxiety, or any other kind of anxiety, take the first step and book your free consultation, today.