Treating Social Anxiety With Teletherapy

Social anxiety is a common anxiety disorder, affecting about 7% of Americans. Social anxiety causes symptoms that can be debilitating, painful, and restrictive. If you experience social anxiety, you might find yourself avoiding school, work, and important events due to fear, nervousness, or shyness. This can cause problems in your professional and social life, causing even more pain and stress. While therapy can help treat social anxiety, its symptoms can make taking steps to seek out help feel impossible. 

What Is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is a form of anxiety that makes interacting with others in any social situation extremely challenging and uncomfortable. Even talking to other people can make you feel like everything you say or do is somehow strange or wrong. Everyday interactions with others might make you feel like you are being judged. If you struggle with social anxiety, when you leave social situations, you may be left with negative feelings, thinking that everyone dislikes you. 

While everyone knows what it is like to feel shy in new situations, social anxiety goes far beyond that, making most levels of social interaction challenging. Your social anxiety may range from being afraid to speak in front of crowds to having difficulty carrying on a normal conversation with an acquaintance or even a friend. 

Symptoms of Social Anxiety

While many of the symptoms of social anxiety appear in your thinking patterns, social anxiety can also cause physical symptoms. Common physical symptoms of social anxiety include: 

  • Excessive sweating

  • Difficulty speaking

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Feeling physically sick

  • Shaking

  • Avoiding eye contact and conversations

  • Feeling self-conscious

  • Avoiding situations where you might run into someone

  • Speaking softly or not at all

Social anxiety can cause you to obsessively plan for future potential social interactions, experience distress during the situation, and repeatedly analyze what you feel “went wrong” afterward. These thoughts can be consuming, making it difficult to focus on school or work. 

The stress that social anxiety causes can make you want to avoid social interaction altogether. You might find yourself missing school or work, avoiding making new friends or communicating with old ones, or even missing important life events. It can be common to seclude yourself, choosing to stay home rather than experience distressing social interactions outside. 

Treating Social Anxiety With Therapy

Thankfully, therapy can help treat social anxiety and lessen its symptoms so that you can live a full, happy, healthy life. Treating social anxiety through therapy can help you engage in your favorite hobbies again, excel in school or work, and make meaningful connections. 

One of the most common ways to treat social anxiety is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). According to a study published by the Institute for Equality and Efficiency in Health Care on CBT, this therapy is meant to help you recognize harmful, false ways of thinking and replace them with accurate, realistic thoughts. 

CBT is beneficial for social anxiety because it targets the thoughts that make social interactions painful. It challenges the thoughts and feelings that tell you that you are being judged, that others dislike you, or that you are acting strange. CBT can help you avoid stressing about social interactions beforehand, teaching you to stop expecting and planning for the worst potential outcomes. This type of therapy aims to change your thoughts, affecting your behavior and lessening symptoms. 

What if Social Anxiety Makes Going to Therapy Hard?

While therapy can be extremely helpful in lessening social anxiety symptoms, those same symptoms can make going to therapy feel impossible. To attend in-person therapy, there are several steps you have to complete. You might need to:

  • Research therapists

  • Call and make an appointment

  • Travel to their office

  • Speak with a receptionist

  • Sit in a potentially crowded waiting room

  • Meet your new therapist in an unfamiliar environment

Social anxiety might make completing these steps harder than normal. Calling a therapist’s office can cause your social anxiety to increase, and the fear of calling someone and not knowing the “right” things to say might make you avoid doing it altogether. Similarly, traveling to a new, unfamiliar office and speaking to a receptionist in a waiting room in front of other clients can feel uncomfortable and terrifying. Thankfully, through technology and telehealth, you can attend therapy virtually, avoiding the social interactions required to set up an in-person appointment. 

What Is Teletherapy?

Teletherapy is a therapy performed virtually. You can experience all of the same benefits that in-person therapy offers without physically going to an office. Some benefits of teletherapy include: 

  • Convenience:

    Teletherapy can be done virtually in an area where you feel safest. You can do it in a closed room, on your bed, or in a private space where you won’t be disturbed. You don’t have to leave your house if you don’t want to. 

  • Setting up appointments is easy:

    Instead of calling multiple offices and speaking to receptionists or therapists to make an appointment, you can use a contact form sign-up to schedule an appointment.

  • Meet your therapist virtually:

    Meeting a new therapist can be scary and filled with the unknown. For in-person therapy, if you don’t feel like your therapist is the right fit, you have to undergo the entire stressful process again. Teletherapy takes away a lot of the stress by making it easy to keep seeing your therapist or request a new one if you don’t click. 

What Do I Need for Teletherapy? 

For virtual therapy, you will need: 

  • A device capable of accessing the internet

  • Headphones if wanted

  • A video camera if wanted

  • A microphone

Many types of teletherapy can be done on a computer, laptop, or phone. 

The symptoms caused by social anxiety can be debilitating, making any social interaction painful. While going to therapy can alleviate these symptoms, the steps needed to attend in-person therapy can feel impossible with social anxiety. Telehealth makes making and attending therapy sessions easy and stress-free. While both teletherapy and in-person therapy can help treat your social anxiety, teletherapy can meet you where you are at. Instead of having to experience social anxiety symptoms, you can do everything from the comfort of your own home and work gradually to face your anxiety head-on. At SokyaHealth, we offer convenient telehealth therapy so that you can attend therapy without stress. Our online platform provides self-care tools, medication management, and more to help you treat your social anxiety. After filling out our online form, you will be matched with a licensed therapist within 48 hours. Call SokyaHealth at (877) 840-6956 today for more information. 

More than 50% of Americans struggle with mental health.

Headlight is now collaborating with health plans and companies to make therapy more accessible and affordable. Speak to a Care Coordinator today.