Social Anxiety Group Therapy- Session 5

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Hello my beauts, I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend so far, I know I sure am! This week has been a great week so far, been feeling very positive lately which is super refreshing and nice. I can’t believe we are already on week 5…. what the hell, where did the time go? This Wednesday was a rather interesting one.As you guys are well aware, we are getting way more into it now. I am not talking about just discussing what social anxiety is, but rather actually facing our fears and doing more group exercises, which I obviously love…not. We started off this group therapy with taking up some of the take-home homework that we were assigned. I decided to raise my hand and share what I had been working on with the group, which is a huge step for me. Like I had mentioned in my previous blog post, we had to work on our active listening skills as well as more exposures on our hierarchy list. For my active listening homework, I have been working on engaging in more one on one conversations but using skills such as; eye contact, being more open, smiling.. I have been constantly talking to my two bosses (the mom and the dad who I nanny for) on a daily basis, just trying to consistently be involved in some sort of small talk. There were a couple of things that I noticed which had interfered with my active listening involvement, some of these included: very hard to keep eye contact with the individual, and I was often rehearsing what I was going to say in return. Overall, however, the outcome was extremely good. I noticed that I am capable of small talk, but next time, I am going to continue to work on trying to ask more questions when engaging in conversations.

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For the next take-home assignment, I had shared the next exposure that I had been working on which was speaking on the phone. After the previous Wednesday, I knew I had to cab home, which was extremely nerve racking for me considering a phone call was involved and I had to contribute to small talk in the cab. I am constantly nervous that I am going to stumble on my words while talking on the phone or I will say something absolutely stupid. However, the phone call went smoothly and I did it. I did stumble a bit on my words and mucked up the address where I needed to be picked up at. But you know what? All he did on the phone was correct me and that was it. It was not the end of the world. I also used coping statements while in that moment such as, “look, this guy doesn’t even know you and chances are, you are probably never going to see him again. People make mistakes on the phone, it’s okay“. Guess what guys, I actually managed to calm myself down after that little incident and for once in my life, I did not let that ruin the rest of my night like I would have before joining and participating in this group therapy. Chances are, I would’ve held on to that stupid incident for a while but for the first time, I completely dropped it. I was so proud of myself and even my instructors were amazed at my accomplishment. That felt great.  I learned that I am capable of speaking on the phone and that communicating over the phone really is not that big of a deal.

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Now, moving onto the new stuff. We started off with some exercises straight away which literally I was like…. dear god shoot me. We had to be partnered up and sit across from each other. I was with the same partner who I had interviewed the previous Wednesday before which was nice. We then had to stare at our partner for 45 seconds from the shoulders up. I was literally like get the f*** out of here. I HATED this exposure, mostly because I hate making eye contact. It for sure put me out of my comfort zone and I actually started laughing during it because I was so uncomfortable and felt so awkward. Finally, the 45 seconds passed and the instructor had asked how it went. I was thinking the whole time what if I have something in my teeth, or my makeup is smudged or I have something on my face and that is what they are staring at. Anywho, overall I am glad we did this experiment, it really did make me feel awkward but I do need that exposure to overcome my fear. We also had to do something similar to speed dating. Again with our partner, we had to engage in small talk about a topic that the instructors assigned us and talk with that individual until they said switch. From then, we had to move onto the next person where a new topic was assigned. This exposure honestly went very well. My worst fear when it comes to small talk is that I will run out of things to say or there will be that awkward silence…. am I right?! Surprisingly, I did not run out of things to talk about and every single conversation went smoothly.

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While engaging in the small talk conversations, I was trying to be an open listener and incorporate smiling and eye contact. This went very well and overall I was very pleased.  After doing these two exposures, we then moved onto the content that we were learning for today and that actually had to deal with small talk and how to start conversations. There are many different places where you can engage in small talk and expose yourself to these situations. Some of these places may include:

  • elevator
  • sales clerk
  • grocery store lineup
  • dentist office/doctor office
  • gym
  • coffee shop

There are three things to keep in mind when trying to start a conversation or needing that extra help. The first is you can try to start the conversation with asking a question such as, “Do you happen to know the time?”. Second, you can give someone a compliment such as “I love the sweater you are wearing!”. Lastly, you can make an observation such as ” I think it may start to rain soon“. These are all different ways that you can start a conversation.

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There are also different topics to choose from such as talking about: movies, weather, vacation, sports and so forth. Usually, when I am talking to my bosses, I am having a lot of conversations about the boys who I nanny and about their behaviour. I always keep in mind that when having a conversation, it is a two-way street. They can not be the only ones engaging in the convo, but I have to contribute as well. Some other tips that I need to take into consideration include:

  1. engaging and using your active and open listening skills
  2. showing interest in the conversation
  3. when it comes to compliments, give or take
  4. questions help to show more interest
  5. keep in mind important details

Of course starting a conversation is important too, but so is ending it. In this group therapy session, we were taught different ways to indicate when a conversation is coming to an end. You can notice when there seems little more to say, or you can simply make a statement such as, “nice talking to you, hope to see you again soon“. Often time we are so overwhelmed about how to leave certain situations so it is helpful being provided some tips and tricks.

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For our take-home assignment, we again have to focus on working on our exposures, so stay tuned to see in my next blog post what I have been working on! Also, we are instructed to socialize and have a conversation with a stranger…. will I do it? Or not?

Stay tuned beauts!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post on my 5th session. I hope you guys enjoyed reading about my progress. I can honestly see such a big improvement with myself and it’s an amazing feeling. I am proud of myself.

Be sure to follow my other social media accounts to stay updated with the latest blogs!

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Much love xo.

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