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Social Anxiety/Social Phobia Treatment in Manchester
Nigel is a highly experienced Manchester Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner who specialises in working with social anxiety related issues.
With clinics in Manchester and Harley Street, London. Now also available for Online Therapy.
To book an appointment with him, or to make an enquiry, call 0161 881 4333 or Click here to email.
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is an extreme fear or anxiety about being judged negatively, and feeling humiliated and embarrassed in front of other people. The resulting anxiety symptoms reduce the persons ability to function, which has the effect of further increasing the severity of their worry.
There is a strong anticipatory nature to social anxiety which can cause sufferers to begin to avoid any situation in which they think they might feel uncomfortable. This can result in a wide range of problems such as maintaining friendships, finding a partner, educational choices, attending job interviews, public speaking and career paths. It can affect almost any area of life where contact with other people is involved, resulting in a reduce quality of life. Unsurprisingly, for some sufferer this can lead to additional problems such as depression, substance abuse or agoraphobia.
Intense chronic social anxiety is often labelled as a social anxiety disorder or social phobia. Social anxiety can be related to negative thinking, perfectionism, all or nothing thinking, low self esteem, low confidence. It can also be accompanied by other anxiety disorders such as generalised anxiety, phobias or OCD.
‘fight or flight’ response
As someone experiences social anxiety, they are feeling the effects of the ‘fight or flight’ response. The fight or flight response is our mind and bodies natural response to a perceived threat. Its purpose is to tell us to avoid or get out of the situation. With social anxiety the perceived threat itself is most likely to be psychological in nature. e.g. making a scene, looking foolish, not being liked or accepted, appearing weak or inferior, ashamed, guilty etc.
When the fight or flight response is activated, hormones are released into the body to enable us to either deal with or escape from the dangerous situation.
The effects of the fight or flight response include an increase in our heart rate to pump blood faster to the lungs, muscles and brain. We breath more rapidly to increase our oxygen levels, our muscles tense ready for action and many functions not necessary for fighting or escaping, such as digestion or reproduction, slow or stop.
Some of the other unfortunate effects of this can be blushing, sweating profusely, shaking, feeling nauseous, light-headed, mentally ‘going blank’, difficulty thinking clearly, pins and needles, a sense of detachment, hypersensitivity, time distortion etc.
It is important to realise that all anxiety including social anxiety starts with our thoughts. We first perceive and evaluate the situation, judging it to be safe or threatening. Our brain then stimulates the release of the various stress hormones. It is the negative thoughts we have about what is happening in the world around us, or other people, or our own bodily sensations, or even our own thoughts that will start the anxiety response within our body.
In some ways our minds and bodies can’t tell the difference between the thoughts about a situation and the situation itself. Therefore by simply thinking negatively, worrying, or ‘what if’-ing about an upcoming situation, you are activating the fight or flight response in exactly the same way as if you were actually experiencing it in reality.
Due to the way anxiety functions, you simply can’t fight it head on. You’ve probably tried that already and failed. In fact the more you fight and try to control the anxiety, the worse it often gets! I wonder if you could begin to imagine just how beneficial it would be for you to learn new and different ways to think and react in social situations so that your fears just faded away and no longer seemed a problem.
Some symptoms of social anxiety may include:
Tightening of the throat
Frequent need to urinate
Lack of concentration
Feeling detached from body
Nausea and/or vomiting
Fear of being ‘found out’
Pounding heart Trembling
Short term memory loss
Fear of embarrassment
Ice cold feeling
Pins and needles
Fear of losing control
Fear of making a fool of self
Fear of going insane
Fear of having a heart attack
Feelings of inferiority / inadequacy / weakness
Sense of shame
NOTE: If you are suffering from any of the above physical symptoms then do discuss them with a doctor first to rule out any potential physical causes.
Common situations which often provoke social anxiety include:
- Meeting new people
- Social gatherings (weddings, parties, theatres, cinema, bars, clubs etc)
- Work meetings and presentation
- Public places (supermarkets, shopping malls, cafes etc)
- Eating in front of others
- Writing in front of others
- Acting or Musical Performances
- Speaking on the telephone
- Being put on the spot
- Centre of attention
The Social Anxiety Treatment
The social anxiety treatment is available at both the Manchester Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy practice, and the Harley Street practice. It is custom made for your unique needs, so the exact form of treatment and number of sessions will vary from person to person depending on your needs, the severity of the problem and any other complicating factors. Most people can usually see significant improvements in as little as 6 to 8 one hour sessions, for more deep rooted or complex problems, more may be required.
The overall aim of this process is to help you to experience a deep permanent change in how you think and feel in social situations. Which then allows you to feel more comfortable and at ease, and even enjoy situations which used to cause you anxiety and fear. During the process we will address whatever issues need to be dealt with to enable you to overcome your anxiety. The treatment process itself is relaxed, sensitive, respectful and non-judgmental. I have had personal experience of social anxiety, and the recovery process. Therefore I can fully understand and empathise with you every step of the way.
Examples of some commonly dealt with issues:
- Changing limiting beliefs and building powerful empowering beliefs.
- Disassembling of the negative feedback loops, and self reinforcing and self sustaining aspects of the anxiety.
- Changing your perceptions of others, and what you think they think of you.
- Change what you feel about yourself and your abilities.
- Building your self-esteem, self-worth and self confidence.
- Emotional state management.
- Learning to relax/ground/centre yourself so you can stay more in the moment.
- Positively changing your perceptions of past events and future worries.
The treatment integrates my own research with a variety of therapeutic processes, including but not limited to Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), CBT, Psychotherapy, Mindfulness, Self-Relations, Life Coaching and Stress Management which are individually recognised as highly successful ways of changing peoples behaviours and perceptions and I’m sure you can imagine the amazing benefits of combining these powerful techniques, allowing you to quickly and easily change the thoughts, emotions and behaviours you currently have about public speaking and performances. So you just find yourself changing in beneficial ways.
What this treatment is not: The treatment is not a list of techniques, tips or tricks about social anxiety. Nor is the treatment a ‘miracle secret’ cure-all technique that somehow can remove a lifetimes worth of anxiety without any effort. You can find that sort of ridiculous over hyped product and information on a hundred other websites, and may even have wasted good money and time on them without any real or lasting success. In those cases the old adage holds true ‘If something seems to good to be true then it probably is.’
In reality: Social anxiety is complex, particularly if you’ve had it all your life. The road to recovery is a journey, not a single a step. There are rarely any instant fixes or magical cures, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t change, or that change is hard or takes a long time. All that is really required to change, is a little bit of commitment to your own personal growth, taking ownership of your issues, putting in some effort for a while, and getting some helpful and realistic guidance from someone who has considerable professional and personal experience with overcoming anxieties. Before you realise it you’ll be surprising yourself with what you are capable of doing.
When considering the rest of your life, what value do you place on your well-being?
When you are committed to make the inner changes you need to control your social anxiety, simply phone me on 0161 881 4333 or email to make an appointment now. I practice both from a consulting room in my home in Chorlton in South Manchester, and from a clinic on Harley Street, London. If you can’t travel to me then I am also available for online therapy, counselling and coaching via Skype. Within easy travelling distance of Withington, Didsbury, Stretford, Whalley Range, Fallowfield, Salford, Sale, Altrincham, Eccles, Urmston, Worsley and Stockport.
Booking is easy
I recommend booking an Initial Consultation first. This gives us the chance to begin to explore your issues and your requirements further, give you honest answers to any questions you might have and give you a realistic estimate of the number of sessions you may require.
When you are ready to make the inner changes you need, simply phone me on 0161 881 4333, or click the Schedule an Appointment button above now, or email me.
Session fees are paid at the time of booking.
You may pay by cash, Debit Card, credit card or online. I no longer accept cheques.