2015 Birmingham Therapy Workshop: Talking About Social Anxiety Disorder

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The 2015 Birmingham Therapy Workshop I went to, which taught me about extending assistance to people with anxiety, fears, and phobias, was truly helpful. I was still a college student then and was studying Psychology. I am a certified teen counselor now, but I think that workshop became my turning point of what I wanted to do with my life, career-wise.

I grew up with a sister who has Social Anxiety Disorder. For those who don’t know what this is, Social Anxiety Disorder is also known as Social Phobia. People with this issue are afraid to go out because they fear that others or the public will judge them, and they can’t take that. It is a phobia, and an anxiety disorder rolled into one. Yes, it is a very challenging issue to have because one mental health problem is a handful. Imagine that she had to struggle with two – anxiety and phobia.

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People with Social Anxiety Disorder have this fear of being assessed by others negatively. They dread that they will be rejected in a social setting. Of course, people with this issue are overly anxious and will manifest signs like stuttering when talking, trembling or shaking, and being shy or blushing. This is something that they cannot control. They do not want this for themselves, and nobody does since let’s face it, feeling this way isn’t the usual way. But for some people with issues, it happens. What we need to focus on now is finding solutions. One of the ways to overcome this problem is through counseling.

The workshop has taught me to assist people with the disorder on how to overcome the problem. I had to change the way I talked with my sister and with people similar to her, use a bit of humor when it gets tense, and of course, warmth and care. Learning about the possible triggers and how to address them outright made me a better sister and a learned counselor.

Since then, I have joined workshops and seminars in the area because it develops my skills – skills that can change people’s lives.