Social Anxiety

As a psychoanalyst, the therapist will perform psychoanalytic treatment on the client. However, psychoanalytic treatment entails treating patients who are frequently caught in recurrent psychic problems like anxiety. Therefore, it limits their potential to experience happiness especially with their family, partners and also, in their everyday work. The psychoanalyst will rely on his/her technique called free association, and the client will reveal whatever is in his/her mind without specific restrictions (O’Grady, Tennen, & Armeli, 2010). Similarly, the treatment will be well done when the patient is lying comfortably on the couch. When the patient adheres to the rules, he/she will make some surprising links through thought processes. Meanwhile, while the psychoanalyst listens to the patient’s associations, he/she will have to surrender to the similar mental process. The process is known as free hovering attention, and the psychoanalyst will follow the patient’s communication while keeping in mind his/her own association that emerges in the counter-transference. The analytic endeavor will allow both partners to listen and reflect on what happens during the session. Therefore, the analyst’s interventions will result in a new understanding of the patient’s suffering. The repeated application of the new insights to the various situations of the same conflicts will help the patient to recognize the thought process that propelled his/her conflicts. Lastly, when the conflicts are resolved, the patients mind will be freed from social anxiety and make room for new choices.

In case the psychotherapist is a behavior therapist, the following would be the approach. The behavior therapy encompasses treating patients so that they can change their self-destructing behaviors. Therefore, the patient’s bad habit of social anxiety will be replaced with a good one. Moreover, for the case of social anxiety the psychotherapist will use systematic desensitization technique to deal with the client. The technique entails a client doing two behaviors or actions at the same time. The psychotherapist will ask the patient to engage in imagining more social anxiety-arousing situations successively. At the same time, the patient is required to engage in a behavior that will compete with the anxiety. The behavior may include breathing or relaxing. By so doing the client will systematically less sensitive to any situation that will involve anxiety arousing. Therefore, this procedure is considered by many psychotherapists as exposure therapy. Besides, the patients will only reduce their anxiety by exposing themselves to anxiety-arousing situations or images.

If the psychotherapist is a gestalt therapist, the following will be the approach to the client’s problem. However, the therapist will try to make the patient gain awareness of what he/she is experiencing and doing at the moment. Therefore, the gestalt therapist will put more focus on how social anxiety affects the client now rather how he/she was affected (Capuzzi, & Gross, 2014). The therapist will use language technique to treat the client. Similarly, the language chosen should be the one that will encourage the client to change. The client’s awareness can be emphasized through his/her verbal behavior. The speech of the client expresses his/her attitudes, thoughts and feelings.

The therapist will use the following aspects of language to indicate the patient’s avoidance of social anxiety. The client will be required to substitute the pronouns ‘it’ and ‘you’ with the personal pronoun ‘I’. It will help the patient to assume responsibility for his/her feelings. Similarly, the therapist may ask the clients to understand a sense of responsibility by changing his/her questions into a direct statement. The emphasis on statements will highlight a collaborative relationship between the client and the therapist. Moreover, the other examples include, omitting qualifiers and disclaimers. The client will be required to omit words such as “I guess”, “perhaps” or “maybe” from his/her language pattern. Lastly, the patient will also change the use of “should” and “ought” to “I want” or “I choose.” It will increase the power of the client to control his /her life. The Gestalt therapist’s empathy and understanding of the client’s situation will challenge the client’s thoughts and feelings and make him/her gain new insights into his/her problem.

Ultimately, the cognitive therapist will approach the client in the following way. The cognitive therapy entails helping the client to alter distortions of perceptions that might be causing social anxiety or psychological distress. However, it is based on the belief that it is how a person perceives events rather than how the events occur that determines how they behave or feel (Capuzzi, & Gross, 2014). Therefore, the cognitive behavioral therapist will try to adjust the client’s thoughts so that he/she can directly influence his/her behaviors that cause social anxiety. Besides, the therapist will help the client to unlearn negative reactions. Moreover, the patient will learn new and positive emotional reactions that will help him/her to challenge the situation at hand. Similarly, the therapist will break down the problems (social anxiety) into small manageable parts and adjusts the way the client in treatment feels. Therefore, the attitudes and behaviors of the patient will help in addressing social anxiety in a positive way.

Capuzzi, D., & Gross, D. R. (Eds.). (2014). Counseling and psychotherapy: Theories and interventions. John Wiley & Sons.

O’Grady, M. A., Tennen, H., & Armeli, S. (2010). Depression history, depression vulnerability and the experience of everyday negative events. Journal of social and clinical psychology, 29(9), 949.



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