top of page

All of our therapists are offering online counselling at this time!

Counselling for Social Anxiety

Counselling for Social Anxiety.jpg

Do you feel extremely nervous in social situations? We can help.

Everyone feels anxiety in social situations from time to time. Events like job interviews, presentations, and meeting new people can all be very stressful. However, if your fear of interacting with others is negatively affecting your daily life, it may be more serious. 

What Does Social Anxiety Feel Like?
Common Signs and Symptoms:

Social anxiety makes it very difficult to have interactions with other people. It is common to experience excessive fear of being judged by others or humiliated in front of people. If you avoid interacting with others because of thoughts like “they’ll think I’m stupid,” you may be experiencing social anxiety. 

Symptoms of social anxiety can occur in response to social interactions (i.e., conversations with others), being observed (i.e., eating in public), and performing in front of others. Everyday activities such as speaking on the phone or meeting strangers can feel overwhelming. 

Physical symptoms of social anxiety may include: 

  • Feel flush or blushing

  • Nausea

  • Sweating

  • Shaking or trembling

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 

  • Dry throat or mouth

  • Rapid heart rate

  • and more

In children, their fear or anxiety of social situations may be expressed through crying, tantrums, freezing, or refusing to speak. 

The physical symptoms of social anxiety are also accompanied by negative thoughts about yourself or your own abilities, such as “nobody wants to talk to me”, “people will think I’m weird”, or “I’m going to fail”.

Social anxiety leads people to miss out on many important events in their lives. In order to avoid the distress caused by interactions, it is common to skip things like job interviews, shopping trips, eating out, or even dating.

Social anxiety often begins during the teenage years, leading many people to assume they will grow out of it. For some people, it may reduce as they get older. For the majority of people with social anxiety, they need treatment to manage the symptoms. If you have been experiencing extreme distress surrounding social situations for 6 months or more, you should seek consultation with a mental health professional.

Will My Social Anxiety Go Away if I Don’t Seek help?

What Causes Social Anxiety?

There isn’t one exact cause of social anxiety. People may be likely to develop social anxiety due to a combination of factors such as:

  • Family history: You are at a higher risk of developing social anxiety if you have a family member with an anxiety or mood disorder. 

  • Exposure to Trauma: Trauma experienced in childhood, such as abuse, bullying, or family conflict, can increase your likelihood of developing social anxiety. Children who experience teasing, rejection, or ridicule from their peers may be particularly prone to social anxiety disorder. 

  • Biochemical Factors: Social anxiety has been linked to overactivity in an area of the brain called the amygdala. This brain structure is involved in controlling our fear response, and overactivity can heighten anxiety. 

  • Temperament: People who are shy, timid, or withdrawn in new situations may be at a greater risk for developing social anxiety disorder. 

  • Environmental Factors: Characteristics of your environment may increase your risk of social anxiety or make symptoms worse. Some environmental risks include having overprotective parents, a poor support system, or being different than peers (i.e., stuttering, facial disfigurement, or disability). ​

Social anxiety is a complex condition that can make you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and alone. Seeking counselling is one of the best ways to learn how to manage your symptoms and get your life back.

Social anxiety is different from shyness because it is persistent in many situations, and it significantly disrupts your life. It is common to assume that children with social anxiety are “just being shy.” However, children with social anxiety are not just fearful of interacting with adults, they also have distress when socializing with peers. 

For children and adults alike, social anxiety is also unique in that the reaction to the situation is out of proportion or excessive. Even seemingly minor interactions can cause a great deal of distress. If someone with social anxiety does endure an event that causes them stress, it can generate intense fear and anxiety.

Is it Shyness or Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety can be treated with counselling or a combination of counselling and medication. There are also lifestyle changes that can be made to support your recovery.​

Therapy is one of the most effective treatments for building long-lasting strategies to help you cope with the symptoms of Social Anxiety. Therapy is not a temporary fix for the problems social anxiety causes. You will work with your therapist to learn effective coping mechanisms and techniques to help you learn how to control your anxiety and replace negative thoughts. 

Therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are commonly used with social anxiety. Your therapist will help you identify the negative thinking patterns holding you back and teach you how to deal with anxiety when facing stressful events. Through your sessions, you will gradually learn to face social situations rather than avoiding them.

How is Social Anxiety Treated?

Counselling for Anxiety Provided by Our Counsellors in Toronto & Vaughan
Our team here at Life in Harmony is committed to providing you with the absolute best treatment to help you or a loved one deal with social anxiety. Our team is experienced, diverse, and offers an array of treatment approaches that can be specifically tailored to your needs. 

If you have experienced trauma, our team of therapists specializes in helping clients identify the roots of their struggles and learn effective tools for overcoming them. 

Take action today to reserve a session with one of our counselors at our Toronto or Vaughan location and allow a qualified professional to guide you through your symptoms, helping you regain control of your life once more.

bottom of page