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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I stop feeling vulnerable in social settings?

    I often feel vulnerable in social settings, and try avoid them all together which means that i dont get out much any more. I'm worried that I am going to be made fun of by everyone by saying or doing something stupid. How can I stop this?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Grace Gonzalez

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    I am a counsellor with over two decades of experience working with non-for-profit organisations, private organizations, secondary education, community health services, and private practice in … View Profile

    I guess, stopping it is very ambitious for example if you have something to do tomorrow and you don't want to feel as anxious as you usually would be. You might be able to take some precautions just to make you feel a little bit safer, because anxiety comes with that sense of feeling unsafe in certain situations.

    Therefore, planning ahead might help. For example, if you going out you would want to be around people or someone who might help you feel comfortable and supported, and included in the social situation whatever that situation might be. Therefore practicing this kind of experience with someone (trust) might take you to the next level of confidence.

    Other situations such as driving for example might become easier to handle by using planning and practicing getting to the destination. This can also help with developing confidence that is possible for you to get there. Hopefully this strategy will expose you to trusting yourself and experiencing the excitement of completing the task of driving.

    Visualisation can also help with the planning but also with becoming familiar with concepts and developing skills. Practice makes perfect like they say and in the case of visualization practicing means you will see in your mind how that place might look, how it might feel in your ‘gut’,etc. I guess, those two things are the most common ones, visualization and just having someone to encourage you and to support you in situations that are awkward for you. Familiarisation and learning to trust self and others are the concepts that I am trying to articulate here.

  • Sherri Mulconry


    I combine Hypnotherapy, Coaching and Counselling and offer programs to help you release the automatic negative thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back from … View Profile

    Social Anxiety is more common than you might think. You can start by telling yourself that it's okay to feel a little bit anxious and that even though you may feel uncomfortable you can still enjoy yourself. Decide to focus on the other people, be really interested in hearing what they have to say and learning more about them. Have some conversation starters in mind e.g. making a comment about the venue, the weather, how they know the host etc and set yourself a goal to start a conversation with a certain number of people. Once you are in a conversation you can find out what that person is passionate about and encourage them to talk more about it. There are lots of therapies and techniques that can help you feel more confident e.g. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Visualisations and Hypnotherapy.

  • Victoria Cooke


    The best long term help for social anxiety is a form of talking therapy called CBT with a psychologist or someone trained in this sort of therapy- basically cognitively behavioural therapy helps people become more flexible in their thinking which is often what is driving the anxiety. People with social anxiety think more negatively about themselves - such as your belief that “you will say something stupid”. Through a course of CBT therapy you are guided to replace these negative thoughts with others that a more helpful to you. Avoiding social situation is also very common in social anxiety which makes your anxiety go away in the short tierm, but long term you never get to discover that what you fear will happen rarely does. So with a trained CBT practitioner you slowly beginning with very small steps gradually place yourself in situations that make you feel anxious.

    Here is a free online course from the centre for Clinical Interventions. This should get you started.

    If you think this is seriously affecting your life, then a visit to the GP for a referral to psychologist who treats social anxiety will greatly help you.

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