How Online Therapy Can Help People With Social Anxiety
Starting therapy can be a daunting process, particularly for someone who has social anxiety. It’s not easy to open up about your problems to a stranger. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell a friend or your family what you’re feeling. Sitting with a stranger in an anonymous office with debatably comfortable couches isn’t easy. Talking to people you already know about your pain might not be possible either. Maybe you’re too anxious to open up about your social anxiety even to your friends.
There’s a slightly less intimidating way to discuss your problems with a therapist or counselor, and that’s online therapy. For someone who copes with social anxiety, leaving the house can be a problem, let alone making it in to see a mental health professional. People with social anxiety sometimes have agoraphobia. According to the Mayo Clinic, agoraphobia is a “type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.” People with this disorder may be scared they will unexpectedly have a panic attack. Having a panic attack often makes a person feel out of control. They might even feel a sense of shame associated with having a panic attack. If the people around don’t understand what you’re experiencing, it could make you feel lonely and scared. There are circumstances when you might have a panic attack and a random stranger comes to the rescue and genuinely cares about your distress. They offer to sit with you or help you take some deep breaths, and maybe this individual has personally experienced panic attacks, so they understand what you’re experiencing.
A person with agoraphobia may anticipate potential situations in which they could feel like there is a danger. An example would be being stuck on a crowded train or bus, being at a party surrounded by people they don’t know personally, or public speaking in front of their class.
If you can’t get out of your house because of an anxiety disorder, online therapy can be advantageous. To speak to an online therapist, all you need is a reliable internet connection and a reputable website that provides the service. There are many services out there that offer online therapy to busy professionals or people with disabilities who spend a lot of time at home. Online therapy means you can speak to a mental health professional on the internet rather than in an outside office.
Alon Matas, the founder of the online counseling site BetterHelp, was recently interviewed in The Huffington Post about his company. He talked about the advantages of online therapy and how it helps people. Matas says: “Online therapy uses similar tools and practices of traditional therapy with a few advantages. It is more accessible, more convenient, more private, and usually much more affordable.”
Matas is right about the cost-effectiveness of online therapy platforms. Think about it: the therapist doesn’t have to pay for office space necessarily. They could have a home office or something less extensive than in in-person therapist has.
Matas also touches on the private nature of online therapy. That’s an advantage as well, particularly for a person who has social anxiety. One of the components of being socially anxious is that the individual may feel self-conscious. If they feel secure that their therapy sessions are private and held in a location they feel safe in, they’re likely to be more candid with their therapist and get the help they need.
There are several online therapy platforms out there. Don’t let social anxiety prevent you from getting the treatment you need to lead a healthier life. Explore alternative therapy options that keep your symptoms in mind, such as online counseling. Each person heals differently, and you have the right to get the treatment that works best for you. Maybe online therapy is part of your wellness plan. It’s worth a shot.
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