Social Anxiety Treatment in London and Online

Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as Social Phobia) can be a serious and debilitating condition affecting your ability to interact effectively with the people in your life. At work, with family, friends and in the intimate arena, Social Anxiety can prevent you from expressing yourself,  communicating effectively and achieve your goals and full potential. It’s like living with the handbrake pulled. Social Anxiety can affect your mind and body, transforming social contexts in situations you dread and wish to avoid.

This is an issue that affects more people than you think, but it can stop, and therapy is often the most effective answer. Read more to learn about Social Anxiety Disorder and how therapy and CBT can help you treat this debilitating condition and bring confidence and serenity to your social interactions.

Work with our qualified Social Anxiety psychologists today.

Request a free 15min consultation 

COVID-19 notice: Online Therapy & Counselling now offered for continued care

Discover Social Anxiety

What is Social Anxiety?

It is common for people to feel shy and become anxious in some social situations, such as public speaking and meeting new people. However, social anxiety disorder (SAD), or social phobia, is the term given to individuals who experience extreme anxiety levels centred around being judged negatively in social situations.

Intense social anxiety may also be experienced even when the person is on their own. For example, they may worry excessively in anticipation of an upcoming social event and spend prolonged periods after a social event analysing how it went. Often the fears that are experienced are known to be irrational, yet they persist. This degree of anxiety can be debilitating and have a significant detrimental impact upon various areas of an individual’s life, such as school, work, and establishing and maintaining relationships. This is not something that you need to struggle with on your own. Therapy is very effective in tackling social anxiety.

What are the Symptoms and Triggers of Social Anxiety Disorder?

Triggers

For those with social anxiety, situations that commonly trigger high levels of anxiety include:

  • Public speaking/giving presentations
  • Speaking over the telephone, particularly when they feel others are overhearing them
  • Eating in public
  • Meeting strangers
  • Shopping, particularly returning an item to a store
  • Speaking with people of authority
  • Speaking in a group of people or to someone one to one
  • Using a public toilet

Thoughts and Feelings

People with social anxiety can often experience the following thoughts and feelings:

  • Intense fear about others’ eyes are on you
  • Fear of being judged negatively, such as a fear that others think you are incompetent, they are scrutinising how you are acting
  • Fear of being embarrassed or humiliated
  • Worrying about others noticing that you are embarrassed, such as they notice you are blushing and sweating
  • Panic attacks involving a sharp increase in anxiety in a short space of time
  • Fear the worst-case scenario
  • Heightened anxiety in anticipation of an upcoming social event
  • Over-analyse a social situation that has occurred and being self-critical regarding the anxiety you experienced

Physical Symptoms

These troublesome thoughts and feelings can lead to unpleasant physical sensations, such as:

  • Increase in heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shaking/trembling
  • Difficulties concentrating/dizziness leading it do be difficult finding words
  • Blushing
  • Feeling sick
  • Muscle tension

Behaviours

Experiencing these troublesome thoughts and feelings, along with unpleasant physical symptoms, can lead people to avoid anxiety-provoking social situations altogether. Or they may face the situation and employ ‘safety behaviours’ to help them cope, such as:

  • Avoid eye contact
  • Direct attention away from self
  • Sit close to the exit
  • Drink excessively/take drugs
  • Whilst talking with someone, do something else at the same time to help make the encounter feel less intense. For example, fiddle with something in your hands

These symptoms can fluctuate. They increase during times of stress and when there are upcoming challenging social events.

What Causes Social Phobia?

It is believed that various factors can play a role in the development of social anxiety, including biological factors (genes, brain chemistry), societal factors (e.g. cultural influences) and environmental factors. Environmental factors that can contribute to the development of social anxiety are:

  • Parents being overly critical, offering little emotional support, being over-protective and placing great importance upon self-presentation and manners
  • Abuse, discrimination, bullying
  • Having experience of being humiliated and embarrassed
  • Having limited social contact which is needed to learn social skills and become confident in social settings
  • Family conflict

When Should I Get Help for Social Anxiety?

It is beneficial to seek professional help if:

  • you are experiencing social anxiety
  • you are struggling to cope with it and
  • Social Anxiety is having a significant detrimental impact on your life

How is Social Anxiety Disorder Treated?

There are treatment options that are very effective for social anxiety. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapy approach that is recommended for social anxiety, and your therapist will likely draw upon this therapy model. During CBT for social anxiety, your therapist will help you gain a deeper understanding of the causes of your social anxiety and what is maintaining it. You will be introduced to various coping strategies to help you tackle your social anxiety, such as addressing troublesome thinking and behavioural patterns and relaxation strategies.

Medication can also be helpful for social anxiety, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). If this is something you wish to consider, we recommend you discuss this option with your GP.

Can Therapy Help with Social Anxiety?

Absolutely. There s good evidence that psychological therapy and especially Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is particularly effective. CBT can help to reduce your symptoms and preventing relapses with Social Anxiety Disorder. Depending always on the severity of the issue, around 6-10 sessions can already be enough to bring relief from Social Phobia.

What are the Benefits of Therapy for Social Phobia?

The elective treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder is therapy. Therapy for social anxiety has been shown to lead to the following improvements:

  • Reduced anxiety levels
  • Reduced levels of depression
  • Improved confidence
  • Better quality of life
  • Calmer and more relaxed
Social Anxiety Disorder CBT Vicious cycle

How Long Does the Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder Last?

Some people can make significant improvements in therapy for social anxiety in around six sessions. This is usually the case if social anxiety is relatively mild in terms of severity. However, some people may need more sessions to allow more time to learn more tools to tackle this condition and ensure it does not return in the future to prevent relapse. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend that up to around 14-16 sessions are usually required for therapy to be highly effective to recover from social anxiety.

Our therapists specialised in Social Anxiety

All of our therapists are qualified psychologists, psychotherapists or counsellors registered with several professional bodies. These include the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the British Psychological Society (BPS), as well as, BACP, UKCP and BABCP.

Our therapists use CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), psychodynamic, humanistic and integrative approaches tailored around your needs to help you deal with your unique challenges and reach your goals.

Dr. Raffaello Antonino

Clinical Director, Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Sheetal Dandgey

Clinical Director, Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Amy Smith

Clinical Director, Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Anna Hovris

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Samantha Harris

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Juliet Anton

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Karin Kihlberg

Counselling Psychologist

Shannon Ownhouse

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Joanne Warren

Clinical Psychologist

Dr Genevieve Marais

Counselling Psychologist

Dr Bertha Rogers

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Alana Whitlock

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Yasmeen Jaina

Counselling Psychologist

Panos Vythoulkas

Senior Clinical Psychologist

Tatum Aspeling

Clinical Psychologist

Dr Gail Freedman

Counselling Psychologist

Testimonials

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Therapist l had was absolutely brilliant with me. He had patience with me and bit by bit l gained a little of confidence to try and get out and go on the buses.

He deserves an award and if l could l would in the beginning l thought how is this person going to get me back on public transport but he did he gave me the confidence l lost and now have back.

I will never forget him and what he has done for me. I wish him nothing but the best in his life.

(Patricia)

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My therapist was excellent. I highly recommend her and I am truly thankful for my sessions, I left feeling confident and positive.

The mental tools, systems and approaches I have been able to develop with her and use in my life have been hugely beneficial.

Thank you to all at Therapy Central.

(John)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Therapist really gave me the space to talk and express my feelings and fears in a very comforting environment.

She was there not only to listen, but challenge my thinking, guide me during the uncertainty I was experiencing and give me useful and practical tips to improve my mental health and wellbeing. Highly recommended!

(George)

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Working with the therapist has been a life-changing experience. Each session has been invaluable, helping me gain a good understanding of CBT methodology enabling me to incorporate ways to combat stress and anxiety in my daily life.

The Therapist shows that she really cares and has the ability to make you feel calm whilst discussing any personal issue. 

(Richard)

Fees & Insurances

Therapy, Counselling and CBT sessions are 50 minutes long and are usually held at regular weekly time slots.

Free
15 Minute initial
Phone consultation

£95
Psychological Therapy/
Counselling (Self-funded)

£120
Couples Therapy/
Family Therapy

Covered by
Your Private Healthcare Insurance Provider

All of our therapists are registered with several insurance providers, such as AXA PPP, Simplyhealth, Aviva, Cigna (UK/US), Vitality and WPA. If you wish to use your personal or employee private healthcare insurance to cover your sessions, please highlight this in your contact form below.

Social Anxiety Treatment in London & Online

If you are looking for therapy for Social Anxiety in London or Online, at Therapy Central we can help you learn the strategies you need to start managing your symptoms and break the vicious cycles which maintain this condition. As a result, you’ll be able to make the crucial changes to bring balance and fulfilment back into your life. No one should face social anxiety alone.

Get professional help and Social Anxiety Treatment in London or Online today. Contact us for a free 15 min consultation with an expert Social Anxiety Therapist to see if our help would fit your needs. You can also get in touch via email at info@therapy-central.com or call us at (+44) 020 348 82797.

COVID-19 notice: Online and Telephone Anxiety Therapy and CBT is now provided for continued care, support and safety. We’re here to help. No matter what.

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    FAQ

    What happens after I make an enquiry?

    After receiving your enquiry, we’ll contact you to organise a FREE phone consultation. You will tell us more about your specific circumstances and needs and ask any questions you have. Then, if you want to proceed with therapy or counselling, we’ll match you with the therapist(s) with the best expertise to help you with your challenges and send you a list of their available appointment slots. If you’re satisfied with one of these, we can then go ahead and book your first appointment. You can also request to work with a specific practitioner, and, depending on availability, we’ll try to accommodate this.

    What happens at my first appointment with the therapist?

    Your first session will likely be different from future appointments. You and your therapist will get to know each other and will begin to build a working alliance. It will be a chance to have the confidential space to express your circumstances, feelings and thoughts and being listened to with depth, attention, empathy and without judgement. Your therapist will likely ask you more about your reasons for seeking therapy and any symptoms you’re experiencing. You may also be asked questions about your past and the history of your issues, as well as how they currently impact your life in the present. Finally, your first session may be a powerful place to discuss what you would like to achieve with therapy and agree on the length, methods, and treatment approaches.

    Is online therapy effective?

    If you choose online over in-person therapy, rest assured that this has been proven to be just as effective as regular face to face therapy, and in some cases, even more effective. Also, choosing online therapy brings additional benefits, for example, avoiding long waiting times, greater flexibility with appointments, and you won’t need to travel to our practice. You can enjoy online therapy from the comfort of your home.

    How long the Therapy/counselling sessions last?

    Therapy/counselling sessions last 50 minutes and are held at regular weekly time slots. On occasions, we can allow some flexibility. You can discuss this with your therapist.

    Do you offer reduced rates/concessions?

    We offer low-cost rates at £60 per session to people with a low income, unemployed, students and NHS workers. Please highlight in your enquiry if you would like a concession rate and how you qualify for this. Depending on the availability of our therapists, we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.

    Do you have a cancellation policy?

    We have a 48 hours no-fee cancellation policy. However, you will be charged for sessions missed without giving the full notice.

    Our Practice in Central London

    Our comfortable and confidential therapy rooms are conveniently located 3 min walk from Oxford Circus station, in Central London (see map below). Change starts with Talking!

    Further Helpful Resources For Managing Social Anxiety:

    NHS Coping with Social Anxiety

    NHS info on Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)

    Other issues we work with at Therapy Central

    Learn more about how CBT works

     

    References:

    [1] Goldin, P. R., Ziv, M., Jazaieri, H., Hahn, K., Heimberg, R., & Gross, J. J. (2013). Impact of cognitive behavioural therapy for social anxiety disorder on the neural dynamics of cognitive reappraisal of negative self-beliefs: randomized clinical trial. JAMA psychiatry70(10), 1048-1056.

     

    Authors:

    Dr Amy Smith, Counselling Psychologist

    Dr Raffaello Antonino, Counselling Psychologist

     

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