Do you struggle with social anxiety?
Lots of people do. It is one of the most common anxiety disorders in the world.
Essentially, social anxiety is the fear of being the centre of attention, being evaluated negatively, or showing physical signs of anxiety in social situations.
Individuals with social anxiety often start avoiding social situations (e.g. gatherings, job interviews, public speaking) because of the anxiety.
It can be very debilitating and interfere with many aspects of life.
The good news
Social anxiety is highly treatable. I’ve written previously about online services for social anxiety.
Now there is a treatment option even closer to Flinders.
Jeremy, a fourth year PhD student in Clinical Psychology here at Flinders is currently doing a study determining the effect of certain online self-help techniques on social anxiety.
His study is comparing two different online approaches to reducing social anxiety. One focuses on cognitive restructuring (changing the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to social anxiety), whilst the other focuses on self-compassion (being kind and non-critical to yourself about your struggles).
In both cases, the treatment is delivered online – involving logging onto a webpage once-per-day for 2 weeks. Interestingly, individuals with social anxiety often prefer online interventions as they involve less social contact.
If you want to be involved, here is the information you need.
- First up, you will need to complete a brief (5 minute) online screening questionnaire to determine if you are eligible (i.e. you have significant symptoms of social anxiety).
- If eligible, you will then need to do a longer phone interview with the lead researcher Jeremy. He’s a good guy, so although it can be a bit nerve-wracking, he will look after you.
- Having completed the interview, you will then be given access to a website, which , over a 2-week period will run you through an intervention to address your social anxiety. Jeremy tells me it works out at about 15 minutes per day, over 2-weeks.
- In addition to interacting with the website, you will be asked to complete questionnaires before, during and after the 2-week intervention.
- Upon completion of the study you get a $40 Woolworths gift voucher 🙂
I commonly recommend for people to participate in mental health treatment studies, even though I realise it is a lot to ask someone who is distressed to participate in them.
There a multiple reasons for this.
Involvement is typically free. In this case you actually get some reimbursement.
You are getting exposure to some of the latest ideas in the field – something that might be genuinely helpful and life-changing.
Research studies are approved by ethics boards to make sure they protect the safety of the participants. They are one of the safer settings for receiving treatment.
Even if the intervention itself doesn’t work out, the assessment processes (e.g. interviews, questionnaires) can help you get a better understanding of yourself.
So if social anxiety is starting to really impact on your life, at least consider this study.
Brief description of the study under “Online Self-Help for Social Anxiety” – https://www.flinders.edu.au/research/research-study
Screening questionnaire – https://qualtrics.flinders.edu.au/jfe/form/SV_2n5EuzCyaUH46qN