The group uses primiarily a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) based approach. This means talking about the kinds of thoughts and feelings people have before, during and after a difficult social situation and working on how these can be modified. Elements of mindfulness based practices are also incorporated into our programme.
Odhran likes to start the group slow and increase participant’s knowledge and understanding of both Social Anxiety and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, so initially people don’t have to talk in front of the group too much. Once group members are more comfortable with each other (approximately week 7) Odhran begins role-plays – one with each person. Everyone chooses a social situation they find difficult and we recreate it in the group room as a role-play. We video this so people can get a realistic idea of how they appear to others (not as bad as you think) and so people can see how some of the things they do to cover up their anxiety often increase the appearance of anxiety. This is a difficult thing for people to do but at the end of the 14-weeks it’s often the section people found most helpful.
Most group members experience great improvement in their social anxiety over the 14-weeks but it’s important to know that recovery is likely to be a longer process and will go on after the group is over.
For those who wish to have continued support and keep up their contact with other social anxiety sufferers, we have a follow-up group for anyone who has done the group program held the first and third Wednesday of every month.