Community and Website Administrator
Join Date: May 2012
I was doubtful before buying this audio series--when you're already spending a lot of money on therapists and meds, another $350 can seem very extravagant. But once I got into the exercises, I was really glad I had splurged.
BeforeI started with Dr. Richard's program, I had tried working with a few different therapists. I didn't seem to connect with any of them; they didn't seem to understand that while I would love to do the exercises they were assigning, there was some sort of blockage preventing me from doing so. Dr. Richards was different. When he demanded something challenging, he made sure to explain that every small step was major and cautioned that I not discount these successes.
Dr. Richards doesn't just demand that you go out and strike up conversations; with his personal history of SA, he understands that is an impossibility for most of us. He spends a lot of time tackling the negative thoughts at the root of SA, and teaches a variety of techniques to make your thoughts more rational. He very slowly adds challenges, starting with small ones such as quickly saying hi to your colleagues, while explaining different ways to teach yourself to relax and think positively.
Once I discovered, through this audio series, that good therapy can truly be useful, I refused to continue wasting time and money on therapists. I made up my initial investment many times over, because I did that. However, if you are able to find a good therapist that can adapt the therapy to your specific needs and give you encouragement when you're having difficulty, that is obviously the best way to go. I am looking for another therapist right now--many people advertise that they treat social anxiety, but I have discovered that there is a big difference between knowing how and actually doing so.
Throughout his tape series, Dr. Richards stresses the importance of joining a therapy support group. He has his own group in Phoenix, and some former patients of his have opened their own groups in other cities. Unfortunately, there are maybe 10 cities worldwide follow his specific methods; many cities don't have any groups at all. Dr. Richards does host an international 3-week group each summer, where he teaches his basic behavioral therapy techniques. The group is intended for people who have already mastered the cognitive techniques on his tapes. I'd be excited to hear from anyone who has actually attended, whether they really gained from this or not.
Dr. Richards also states on his audio series that he plans to create a video series with his behavioral techniques; however, I do not think he ever did so.
Social Anxiety Background
I developed SA when I was around 13/14, never knew what it was until I was in my 20's, just thought I was from a different planet. Never took any medication, and don't plan on taking any, I think research will show us in a few years that CBT is the best way to go for anxiety disorders.
Dr. Burns' "Feeling Good" workbooks, this website helps me too.
I'm on tape 11 of 20, and I have had some major changes in how I see different aspects of my life. Before this series, I was a prisoner of how other people treated me, and what they may be saying about me/thinking about me. I was also a prisoner of my own thoughts, things I wasn't even aware I was thinking were poisoning my mind, and emotional state. I was pretty depressed.
Now, I'm starting to realize that it's only how I see myself that really matters, and my mind and emotional state are a lot more clear/light. It's a palpable feeling. I can concentrate more on other things, and I'm not so preoccupied with my own thoughts.
Overall, I would recommend this series, it's pretty expensive, about 400 dollars, but really worth the money. It's easy to use and understand, I listen to it every day in my car.
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