BY: Anna Keyter
Introversion / Shyness / Social phobia / Telephone Counselling
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This article, Telephone Counselling working with introversion, social phobia and shyness was written by Sara Taveira.
Am I introverted, socially phobic or just shy?
This article deals with telephone counselling working with introversion, social phobia and shyness. These concepts are often interpreted as semantics and can lead to confusion.
Generally, social phobia, shyness and introversion are viewed in the same light. In this article, I will explain the difference between each concept and what they have in common.
Introversion is a personality trait. Introverted people have a higher interest in their own internal world, their thoughts and feelings, and are usually happy to spend time alone. Actually, most introverts need alone time as a self-care tool as much as extroverts need social time to recharge their batteries.
In contrast, social phobia is a mental health disorder based on a perceived irrational and exaggerated fear in social situations. A person suffering from social phobia is usually interested in social situations. However, their fears of being judged by others or embarrassing themselves lead them to avoid social interactions and facing them with significant distress.
People experiencing social phobia, are usually overly conscious people, perfectionist, and have constant feelings of being “put on the spot” in social interactions. This distress impacts several areas of their lives. It is not hard to imagine that someone struggling with social phobia will have extreme difficulties initiating and/or maintaining relationships, which contribute to social isolated.
Being isolated socially can lead to other mood disorders and may affect future goals. How? Well, think about choosing a university degree or a professional career pathway. If I am social phobic, will I choose a career involving primarily social interactions like public relations, politics, management, etc.? Probably not. Social phobia can vary in intensity and forms: some people only struggle with social situations (being the focus of attention) – performance type – while others will struggle simply with social interaction in groups. Severe forms of social phobia may have both forms present.
Children’s experiences of social phobia
Children’s presentation of social phobia may vary according to their different developmental stages. Due to developmentally appropriate diminished self-awareness, young children usually can only describe several physical symptoms, are extremely clingy in social situations, refuse to participate in social or school activities and do not tend to speak when meeting new people.
Middle school-age children, as they become more self-aware, can say things like “I expect bad things to happen” or “others are looking at me while I am eating” or “others are saying bad things about me”.
Teenagers experiencing social phobia, are usually very hard on themselves and self-critic, thus, will often avoid eye contact, or struggle at an academic level (which can lead to school truancy). They can have difficulty dating and in some cases start at-risk type of behaviours, such as alcohol and drugs experimentation as a coping mechanism for their anxiety.
Shyness includes a number of uncomfortable feelings such as awkwardness, stress and worry when interacting with unfamiliar people. Shyness can be present when someone experiences introversion and social phobia.
Since I am a food lover, let me explain it this way: Introversion and social phobia are the two bread slices of a sandwich and shyness can be considered the cheese that connects the slices. Shyness often, but not always, leads to social phobia. Similarly, an introvert may be shy when facing unfamiliar social situations but it does not necessarily mean that he/she suffers from social phobia.
Telephone Counselling working with introversion, social phobia and shyness is possible. Whether you are an adult with a constant feeling of being “put on the spot”, or have a child who displays some of the above symptoms, the more you avoid it, the worse it gets!
Start today by taking the driver’s seat when it comes to your social phobia so that you can learn to park it somewhere and never look back! Talk to us, we can join you in these driving lessons.
Want to learn more about telephone Counselling working with introversion, social phobia and shyness? Feel free to contact Sara. Want to learn more about Sara, follow this link.
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