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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I overcome my fear of socialising

    I have always struggled in social situations.

    I used to just put it down to being shy and needing to warm to people. But since I started dating my partner 5 years ago I realised that it was much worse than just a little case of being shy.

    I get worked up thinking about having to go to a party or wedding with his friends.

    They all think I am rude and don't bother inviting me to events , I can't blame them, they basically act as though I don't exist.

    If I am forced to be around them I get really bad stomach cramps, I sweat profusely, I get tongue tied and struggle to make eye contact.

    I want to fix this for my partners sake but how do I do it?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Dr Louise Shepherd

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I am a clinical psychologist with 15 years experience working with all sorts of goals and issues. I love working with people, helping them to … View Profile

    It is great that you have recognised that this is more than just being a little bit shy. Social anxiety, which is probalby better referred to as interpersonal anxiety, can be incredibly disabling if you let it dictate what you do and with whom.

    Fortunately it is something that is able to be addressed, usually very well, by seeking professional help.

    The two types of therapy I would suggest might be worth considering. Cognitive Beahvioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). You can read more about ACT here

    In a nutshell ACT (which is the therapy approach that we use at The Sydney ACT Centre) is all about focusing on helping clients work out what is really important to them and helping them find effective ways to deal with the difficult thoughts and feelings that show up when they go out. For example, I'm guessing that it matters to you to be able to connect with others (it matters to most people to some degree). I also imagine that scary thoughts like, “I won't have anything to say” or “they will think i'm boring” or “what if they can tell I'm anxious” will be screaming loudly in your head and making it really hard to engage. Learning ways to not get so caught up by all that noise in your head can make life a hell of a lot easier!

    all the best

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