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post #81 of 402 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 02:56 AM
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Thank you so much for posting this!! you're a life saver for real!
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post #82 of 402 (permalink) Old 07-29-2011, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thought I'd better post up the way to do cognitive behavioural therapy that I posted ages ago but realized should of put up in here.

Just realized your social anxiety and shyness of others is really interfering with your life and you don't know what to do ? No worries. There is an enormous amount of things you can do. The best place to start is to do some cbt. Just for those who don't know what cbt is or how it works, it simply works by finding out what thoughts make you anxious and then challenging the accuracy of those thoughts first through suggesting more healthier and helpful thoughts and then testing out the new thoughts in the real world. This is the cbt method I used.

THOUGHT / FEELING / BEHAVIOUR / ENVIRONEMENT / BODILY REACTIONS

The very first thing you need to know is how thought, feeling, behaviour, environment, and bodily reactions are connected. Take this example. Let's say you have just finished school and now have no friends to interact with (environment). This leads you to think "I'm just a loner" (thought) and this thought leads you to feel ashamed and anxious around others (feeling). So you react to this feeling by avoiding situations (behaviour) where this information could be revealed of having no friends. You just sit around at home feeling tired and lacking energy (bodily reactions) and you begin feeling depressed (feeling) over how nothing ever changes. But a change in one area can lead to a change in the other. If you thought it was only logical to lose your friends simply because nobody ever exchanged address or phone number then perhaps the thought would change and the feelings of shame and anxiety would disipate. Then you could begin to engage in situations without fear of being found out. This could then allow friendships to form. The feelings of lacking energy would disappear since you would have people to hang around with which meant getting more out of the house. Simple, heh ?

COGNITIVE DISTORTIONS

Alright the first place we are going to start is by learning cognitive distortions. These distortions warp our conclusions about people and the world around us. They help make us depressed, socially anxious and shy.

a. Fortune Telling: you predict failure or some kind of negative outcome in a situation yet to happen.

You think others will get angry or ignore you, but this is predicting the future. How can you possibly know how another person will react ? So go and test it
out to see if it will happen, but don't conclude that it will always happen if it does occur.

b. Catastrophic thinking/Magnification: Blowig out of proportion or magnifying the impact of a negative event, negative outcome or negative situation. In
addition, you may also magnify the importance of an event, outcome or situation, the qualities of another person or your own negative qualities.

You think if she rejects you you are a total loser. You are blowing outof proportion the impact of her rejection. You may feel rejected in the moment but it doesn't make you a loser in general...You think rejection means never-ending disapproval and that you cannot show your face around the person again. Does gaining that person's approval mean your King Pimp ? Does losing approval mean your Vile Slime. You are magnifying the importance of gaining or losing approval...You see the pretty members of the opposite sex as angelic and mysterious. This is magification of another person's qualities. Why are they so much better than anyone else or even yourself ? Do they dress you and feed you and put a roof over your head ? Do they pick you up when you are down. do they pat you on the back whenever you do something right ? Hell, they don't even talk to you.

c. Emotional Reasoning: Using the way you feel at the time as evidence for how things are in reality. Because you feel a certain way you conclude that things must be true or that something terrible will happen.

You FEEL like you will be rejected therefore you really think it will happen. There is no basis for this fear other than the feeling. Dump the feeling and try a different one, such as the feeling you might very well be accepted...you feel worthless because you were criticized and so you believe you are...you feel anxious before an upcoming event and this anxiety convinces you that something terrible will indeed happen...you FEEL weird and that everyone else is normal because they are not shy. But feelings are not reality, they exist inside of you, that's all. Talk back to them and challenge them, but don't give in to them.

d. Mind Reading/Projection: thinking others know what you are thinking or feeling or believing you know what others are thinking or feeling about something. Making negative assumptions about the thoughts, intentions, or motives of others which are more often than not "projections" of your own thoughts and feelings about the situation.

You lose your words or become nervous and blush when someone cute is talking to you. You then think they think you are a loser who can't communicate properly.

e. Labeling: refering to yourself or others in a negative way and often for minor or simplistic reasons which shapes the way you see yourself or others.

You lose your words and then tell yourself your an idiot and this makes you feel like an idiot. Big deal, so you lost your words, like your the only one that ever happens to.

f. Over-Generalizing: because of one negative event or situation or outcome, you assume it will happen all the time or in all other situations.

You think if you get rejected by someone, other people will start doing the same. This makes one slip up seem very threatening and risky. If you lose one approval you conclude you will lose all approval.

g. Personalisation: treating a negative event as a reflection or confirmation or your own defectiveness or unlikability or worthlessness.

You take rejection personally as if it's an attack on you or done deliberately to hurt you. If you have an underlying belief that your unwanted, then rejection will confirm that for you and you may think "I knew it! Nobody wants me".

h. Negative Focus/Mental Filter: Focussing mainly on negative events, aspects or implications of a situation or outcome or person or yourself, while ignoring or minimizing or discounting the more neutral and/or positive aspects. This may become a mental filter where your feelings colour everything you see.

When someone is talking to you all you can think about how how stupid you must look to them. But you are ignoring the fact that they are talking to you. You want to go over and join some people but all you can think about is what will go wrong and give no thought to what could go right. The mental filter makes you see everything in a negative way. This especially occurs when your self-esteem is running low or are anxious or angry.

i. Blame: Blaming yourself for something that wasn't entirely your fault or something that was out of your control. Or blaming others for something that wasn't entirely their fault or over looking the part you played in the thing that went wrong.

When you feel shy and it messess up a conversation for you, you beat yourself up as if it was your own fault for being shy. Remember temperament and mistreatment...You are sitting in a bar and no one talks to you and you feel angry for this thinking someone should have at least said something to you. But what about yourself ? Couldn't you have said something to them ? It could be that other people are too afraid to take a risk with you.

j. Black and White thinking: things are seen as either one way or another, with no shades of grey in between.

You think you must succeed with no room for failure. You must succeed at gaining approval of others and can't afford making any kind of mistake. One slip up means total and ever-lasting rejection. This places enormous pressure on yourself to perform...You feel there is a right way to talk to people and a wrong way. But you don't know the right way and so become self-conscious and think you are making a fool of yourself.

k. Extremist Thoughts. You apply extreme words to situations like "always", "never", "totally", "nobody".

You say you NEVER have anything to say...girls ALWAYS like confidence...NOBODY like shyness.

l. Pressurizing Thoughts: You harrass and place demands on yourself or others with statements like "should", "must" and "ought".

You think you MUST be more talkative around others, as if it's a standard to live up to...you feel you MUST be funny in front of others to gain their approval otherwise they'll never like you...you think others SHOULD always be nice to you. Enitlement will make you sensitive to rejection and prone to being humiliated, not just toxic shame.


Alot of these distortions overlap with one another but they all screw us up when we're around people or want to do things when others might see. Try to learn them off by heart. I'll bet you'll find a few favourites.
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post #83 of 402 (permalink) Old 07-29-2011, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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THE MOOD DIARY

The next part you will learn is the mood diary. It is an important aspect of cbt. First thing to do is get an exercise book. If you can't buy one because you can't go to the shop, then just use your computer.

Write down the situations where you felt anxious or shy. (In a bar and was laughed at)
Write down the emotions you felt and their intensity on a scale of 1 - 10. Humiliation (9), Shame (
Write the automatic thoughts you got at the time (people were all staring at me and thinking how much of a loser I am, people seem to always put me down).
Come up with the evidence you feel confirms those negative thoughts (it's best to take one thought at a time).
Come up with evidence you feel disproves those negative thoughts (one thought at a time).
Challenge the negative thoughts (one thought at a time) with a more rational and helpful one.
Re-rate your mood.

Here is a way of writing it out.

Situation: Thinking of approaching a girl.

Moods: Fear (9), Incompetent (9), Inferior (9)

Automatic Thought: She won't like me and will reject me. I'll stuff my words up and then she'll look at me weird. I'll blush and look nervous and then she'll
think I'm pathetic. I'll have nothing to say.

Evidence for thoughts: Heaps of girls didn't like me at school. I was either teased or ignored by girls. I have stuffed up my sentences before whever I got anxious and people have looked at me a little weird sometimes. People have made neative comments on my blushing and nervousness before. I often find I have nothing to say and just end up sitting there in a panic. I often just seem to blush whenever I feel I am being rejected.

Evidence against thoughts: Some girls were my friend and some had a crush a me as well. Most people ignore it when I screw up my sentences. Most people have never told me I am pathetic for blushing or looking nervous. When I'm relaxed with someone I can usually talk more easily.

Alternative: I am fortune telling because unless I take the plunge I cannot be 100% certain I'll be rejected. I am using the way I feel to make my judgement about what I expect will happen. Just because I feel I will be rejected doesn't mean it will necessarily happen. Even if I am rejected it doesn't mean the end of the world for me, it just means I must look elsewhere. I am magifying the worst outcome. If I stuff my words up the worst thing to happen isn't a total catastrophy. She'll pobably wait until I get the words out right anyway rather than insulting me or walking away. If I get nervous and blush the worst thing to happen will be what ? I bit of awkwardness. Big deal! Once I approach I will just say hello and introduce myself. I can just say anything. It doesn't have to be interesting or amusing. At least that would be better than nothing. As I look upon this I realize I am focussing on all the things that could go wrong and totally ignoring anything that could go right.

Re-rate mood: fear (4), Incompetent (5), Inferior (4)

If you want you can add an action plan at the end. Simply suggest ways of doing or handling things.

Action plan: If I really end up annoying her or get lost for words I will just smile politely and walk off.

Many times finding out what your negative thoughts are in the situation can be tough. So here is a bunch of question that will help you find them out.

What does this say about me if it is true ?
What does this mean about my life, my future, about me ?
What am I afraid might happen ?
What is the worst thing that could happen if this is true ?
What does this mean about how the other person thinks or feels about me ?
What does this mean about the other person / people in general.
What image or memories do I have in this situation ?

Also finding evidence that doesn't support the thought can be difficult as well. These questions can help you out.

Have I had any experiences that show this thought is not completely true all the time ?
If my someone I loved had this thought, what would I tell them ?
What would that person tell me or point out to show that thought isn't always true or is false.
When I'm not feeling this way do I or would I think about the situation differently ? How ?
When I have felt this way in the past how have I helped myself feel better ?
Have I been in this situation before ? What happened ? Is there anything different between this situation and the previous ones ? What have I learned from past experience that could help me now ?
Are there any small things that contradict my thoughts that I might be discounting now as not important ?
Are there any strengths or positives in me or in the situation that I am ignoring ?
Am I jumping to conclusion that are not completely justified by the evidence ?
Am I blaming myself for something over which I do not have complete control ?

Finding an alternative can also be difficult. Here are somethings to help.

Stick to the facts. What evidence do you have to support this thought ?
Does your thinking fit with what happened ?
What is the best way of seeing things ? What is the most realistic or likely to be true ?


Another way is to do a mood diary is like this.

Situation: want to go over to that girl.
Moods: Anxious (9), Inadequate (10)
Negative thoughts: I wont have anything interesting to say (belief in thought: 100%), she'll probably snap at me (belief in thought: 100%)

Take one negative thought at a time and find the distortions in them. Don't worry about being perfectly accurate with picking out the distortions.

Negative thought : I wont have anything interesting to say (belief in thought: 100%)

Distortion
Reason


Pressurizing thoughts
You think that you MUST or SHOULD have something interesting to say. You are placing intense pressure on yourself

Black and white thinking
You think you better come up with something terribly interesting to say
otherwise you wont be able to say anything at all and there is simply no other way to be

Negative focus
You focus mainly on the thought of whatever you say won't be interesting when it just might be

Mental filter
No matter what you come up with you shoot it down as uninteresting

Emotional Reasoning
You FEEL anything you say will be uninteresting and that feeling convinces you completely

Extremist thoughts
You believe that whatever you say will be totally and utterly boring beyond any comprehension

Projection
Because you believe what you have to say is uninteresting you make the mistake of thinking others will think the same

Fortune telling
You predict she will think whatever you say will be boring whan infact she might not

Magnification
You place way too much emphasis and impotance on the entertainment factor in what you say when the most important thing at the time is to get her to notice you are alive.

Now write down a list of more balanced and/or positive thoughts to counter the negative one. Then next to it write how much you believe the positive thought and next to that write how much you believe the negative one. The more you believe the positive one the lower the negative thought will have a hold on you.

Your aim is to get the old thought down to zero or until you feel it no longer leaves you inhibted or anxious.

Postive thought Belief Belief in Old Thought

I can say anything. It doesn't 70% 90%
have to be very interesting. I
can start by smiling and saying
hello and just talk about the
weather

She might be interested in listening 70% 80%
to me

When I am calm I don't think what I 100% 60%
say is unintersting

She'll probably be more interested in 80% 45%
what I have to say than if i'm
entertaining her.

Conversations with someone in a bar
usually start of superficially anyway 90% 30%

I doubt she will find what I say
dreadfully boring. 95% 15%


If you find you cannot bring down the belief in the old thought then you may have to resort to different approaches to challenge them. There are literally dozens of them around.

Whichever method you use, you should try to fill the diary in as much as possible. Even think of events from the past and write them down if you want to. Practice catching when your mood changes and try to isolate the thoughts that you think. You will get better at this the more you do it. The evidence you come up with to support any thoughts should not be based on your feelings. Feelings are not evidence. That is the emotional reasoning distortion. Try your best at arguing back against negative thoughts with rational alternatives until there is a shift in your mood. If you can't, just leave it for the time being and come back later and do it.
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post #84 of 402 (permalink) Old 07-29-2011, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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DEALING WITH SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS

Self-consciousness is one of the more painful symptoms of social anxiety and shyness. It feels like you are acutely aware of everything you say and do and that people are watching every move you make and analyzing you closely for mistakes. You might start losing concentration on what someone is saying and then your attention just locks on the awareness that this is occuring and you become hyperaware of this happening and your anxiety starts to snowball from there.

The problem of becoming self-conscious is one reason why exposure alone has trouble working because self-consciousness helps fuel social anxiety and once attention locks onto yourself or what's going on inside of you, you no longer are paying attention to the outside and will therefore see the situation as a complete disaster even if it went good. This is why when undertaking cbt it is highly recommended in reducing this problem first before undertaking
behavioural work.

The first way to help do this is the next time you are around people simply become curious about what they are doing or saying. This will help force your attention away from yourself. Here is a mini-experiment you can do right now to help you get more in-touch with your attention and awareness. If you are at your computer, notice the mouse. Your attention will switch to the mouse. Hold it there for 10 seconds, then move it to the letter O, then hold it there for 10 seconds. I find noticing something about the mouse and letter such as how grey or white it is for example seems to help attention stay on it. Now switch your attention to your thumb and notice the subtle sensation you feel once your thumb is targeted by your attention. It may start to feel warm, tingly, or even start to feel like it is pulsing after a while. See how once attention switches onto a bodily sensation it starts to grow. This is what happens in social anxiety. Your blushing feels HUGE but may only be minor or no more than how much you see others blush when they do. Thats because human nerve ending is something like 1000 times more sensitive than the visual sense.

Of course, the best way to control self-consciousness is to build up some very basic concentration. Pick some object in your room and just gaze at it and then notice your awareness of that object and concentrate on the awareness of the object. I found this way of concentrating much easier than trying to just focus on the object all by itself. Try this for perhaps 3 minutes, then the next day 4 minutes all the way up to 10 minutes. Then test out this skill when you are around others. See how much you can focus your attention away from yourself. You will need this skill when undertaking the next phase in overcoming social anxiety.
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DROPPING SAFETY BEHAVIOURS

Second problem to deal with before you engage in behavioural work is safety behaviours. These are the things you do that you feel you need to in order to protect yourself from potential embarrassment and humiliation. You may give one word answers, rehearse what you say, fiddling with things while talking or listening to others, doing things that you think will gain approval, let others talk for you, drink alcohol before a situation, keep your head or eyes down, ignoring others who you see want to speak to you, keeping near someone you know, use anger to keep others away, not talking about your weekend etc. You will have your own personal ones which you must identify and then decide to get rid of. Keeping them will only keep the problem of social anxiety and shyness going because you will believe nothing happened because you did the thing you felt you needed to do.

Try to come up with as many safety behaviours as you can and write the feared situation down as well. For example:

Feared situation: walking to the shop
Safety behaviour: wearing my best clothes, shaving, brushing hair very neat

Feared situation: working in the front garden when neighbours are outside
Safety behaviour: waiting till they go inside

Feared situation: paying for things at the checkout
Safety behaviour: keeping head down, not saying "goodbye"

Feared situation: being around attractive members of the opposite sex
Safety behaviour: keeping quiet


To help you identify your own safety behaviours ask yourself these questions:

What do I do to avoid looking stupid or foolish in front of others ?
What do I do to avoid unwanted attention from others ?
Whenever I feel anxious or threatened what is the first thing I think of doing ?
What do I do to make sure I do not make mistakes in front of others ?
What do I do to hide my problem of anxiety or shyness or any percieved weakness or inadequacy from others ?

Once you have identified your safety behaviours the next thing to do is practice dropping these behaviours. Alright, this is how we are going to go about it. You will need your book or computer. There are 5 steps involved.

1. You are going to write the feared situation down. This is simply the situation that you are afraid of and resort to using safety behaviours. Write what you do when in this situation.

2. Then you will predict what you think will happen. What is the worst thing you are afraid that will happen ? You need to be specific and make sure the fear is able to be observed. What will people do to confirm this fear ?

3. Next comes the experiment in which you will try to find out if your fears come true. How do you do this ? You need to come up with a way to do things differently. In the above examples, when walking to the shop you must decide to not wear your best clothes, not shave and keep your hair a bit messy. You are dropping your safety behaviours. Remember, sse the attentional focus when you feel you are going inside your own head and becoming self-conscious.

4. What actually happened when you dropped your safety behaviours ? Did your prediction come true ? You need to stick with what really happened. If you became anxious and begun to conclude that people were staring and judging you that would most likely be false because social anxiety tends to do that.

5. Then finally write down your conclusions. What did you learn from the experiment ? What did it mean to you ? Using the example, you might learn that others don't even bother a single bit with what you look like and that the fear was all imagined.

Here is how you write it down on paper.

Situation: Looking my best when going out to the shop
Prediction: People will be disgusted with me and will move away
Experiment: Just wear casual clothes
Outcome: I felt self-conscious but nobody even seemed bothered by how I looked
Conclusion: People are not concerned with what others wear and that scrubbing up to go to the shop is entirely unnecessary because people don't really care about it.

Of course, on some rare occasions the things you fear actually happen. This is especially so if you make an advance on someone you are attracted to. You get rejected. Being socially anxious can make rejection especially painful because it is taken personally or as a sign of inadequacy or inferiority. The way to deal with such negative outcomes is to ask yourself the same question you did when trying to find your negative thoughts back when you were learning about the mood diary. This will help you stop ruminating and pinpoint the reason you felt so bad after getting the reaction from others you feared.

Learning to drop safety behaviours will help build up confidence and will help you become more natural in social situation because you will no longer be bound by your safety behaviours which serve to keep you locked in rigid patterns of doing things.
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post #85 of 402 (permalink) Old 07-29-2011, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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DOING THINGS RATHER THAN AVOIDING THINGS

Avoidance is like an extreme form of keeping safe, therefore it is necessary to dedicate it to an entirely new section.

Avoiding the things we fear is an entirely natural reaction. If you thought you were going to be laughed at and humiliated in front of others it would seem
only logical to simply avoid it. The problem with social phobia starts when we begin to avoid almost everything that we fear. We avoid working, avoid personal relationships, avoid feeling our emotions, avoid important appointments, avoid doing things we want to do and to say. And this avoidance begins to seriously affect our way of and quality of life. So what we must do is to start doing the things we have been avoiding. Avoidance doesn't have to necessarily be total. You can say go to a party, but spend most of your time in the kitchen helping out rather than mingling with others.

The first thing to do is to identify what you avoid because of fear. Come up with as many things as you can. To help you out, think of something that you fear and just think about doing it. Say for example, think about approaching someone and asking them out on a date. Do you feel a sense of alarm and a lack of confidence as if you can't go through with it ? If so, this is likely something that you avoid. Notice when this happens in real life situations, when you feel like shrinking from sight, or turning around and quickly walking away. Write them down in a similar way you did with the list of safety behaviours.

Avoided situation: saying hello to someone I find attractive
Avoided situation: making an appointment to see the doctor
Avoided situation: taking up an invitation to a party
Avoided situation: standing up for my right to return something faulty
Avoided situation: stating my personal opinion
Avoided situation: being around people most likely to ask me about my weekend
Avoided situation: being seen out in public alone
Avoided situation: driving along unfamilar roads

The next thing to do is to find the connection between what you avoid and what you think. You can use the questionnaire you used when trying to uncover your negative thoughts to fill in the mood diary. Things like "what do I expect to happen ?", "what is the worst thing that could happen to me ?" It is important to find out what you think will happen. What will people do to confirm your fears ?

The next step is to actually face the avoided situations. It is best to start with the things you find the easiest to do but still avoid. This may be something simple like checking the letterbox when other neighbours are outside. Then you can move onto something little harder once you feel you have conquered the easy stuff. Remeber, use the attentional focus technique to reduce self-consciousness so you don't end up drawing biased conclusions about the situation.

The final phase is to observe what happened and to see how it fits in with what you thought in step 2. It is the conclusions you draw from the experiment. What did you observe ? What do those observations mean to you ? Were you fears confirmed ?

Here is how to do it on paper.

Avoided situation: Taking the dog for a walk during the day
Prediction: People will make smug and negative comments on what I am doing, my dog will try to smell or bite another person and I will be embarrassed fr it
Experiment: Take the dog for a walk
Outcome: Nobody said anything smug or insulting. My dog didn't misbehave even when others walked past. People aren't that mean and nasty as I thought and my dog is more well-behaved than I thought.

Try to get used to doing things that you find you would rather avoid. Let's say you undertake an experiment, repeat it again and again, until you feel your anxiety has disappeared. As you go about trying to get over social anxiety old patterns of thinking and behaviour may re-emerge even after you thought you were getting better. The best way to deal with this problem is to not give up. You may need take things more slowly and not to try too hard or do things obsessively.
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UNCOVERING UNDERLYING BELIEFS, ASSUMPTIONS & RULES

Ok, so you've been doing the mood diary, practiced reducing self-conscious feelings and been giving up safety behaviours and have begun doing things you'd rather just avoid but you still don't seem to making as much progress you would have hoped to even though you have had success after success, or your anxiety and the way you think about people and yourself seems to be too intense to go through with exposure. The reason for this may be due to certain underlying beliefs, assumptions and rules that you may be harbouring.

Beliefs are the deepest and will typically take the form of things like "I'm worthless" or "people are repulsive". They tend to be unconditional and totalistic, where nothing can change. Assumptions tend to take the form of things like "if I'm not 100% confident, people will point out my shyness and laugh" or "if I look weak people will put me down". They often are conditional which means the outcome can be altered through certain behaviours or things to do. A rule is a way to live, a kind of standard to follow. They may be things like "if I don't know what to say, I should say nothing" or "saying my opinion is only acceptable when I am asked". All these things guide our behaviour and the way we think and feel and they help lead to our cognitive distortions and where our attention focussess on.

How do you uncover these thoughts ? If you have been doing the mood diary, say for perhaps 4 - 6 weeks, you should hopefully have built up a good collection of mood sheets. Go through the automatic thoughts of each situation and pick out the ones that keep coming up or the ones that have themes to them or seem connected.

Say for example, you think you can't stand up for yourself, and you feel others pick on you, those kind of thoughts are connected. The purpose here is to not find cognitive distortions but to find the root causes of your anxiety. Those repeating thoughts are pointing towards your underlying beliefs, assumptions and rules.

You can use something call the downward arrow technique and distill many of your automatic thoughts, assumptions and rules into core beliefs. It simply consists of writing down the automatic thought and then asking a question like "what does that mean to you" or "why is that so scary ?" "what would happen if you did that ?", then come up with an answer and draw an arrow under the answer then ask another similar question again and repeat until you hit something that seems important to you. Many times, you will uncover beliefs that seem totally outdated and ridiclous that they just lose their power almost immediately. But things won't always be so easy. Anyway, these beliefs, assumptions and rules must be challenged to get any real deep and meaningful change since they are the things causing you to become anxious, panic, or to shy up around others, and that is what we will do.
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CHALLENGING UNDERLYING BELIEFS, ASSUMPTION & RULES

One way to weaken your deeper thoughts is to challenge them in the same way you did in the mood diary with your automatic negative thoughts. It is best to get yourself another book so you can seperate your mood diary from your beliefs and assumptions and rules that you will be working on.

Write down any particular belief or assumption or rule you want to change. You need to come up with a more useful or helpful or realistic alternative way of thinking about yourself or others or how you relate to yourself or others or how you engage with the world and other people. Here are some questions to help you think differently.

Would you think like this about someone else ?
What would you tell someone who thought like this ?
How fair are you being on yourself ?
Are you forgetting that eveyone makes mistakes and that is nobody is perfect ?
Are you ignoring you strengths and focussing on your weaknesses ?
What cognitive distortions might be affecting my thinking ?
Are painful memories of the past affecting the way I see others or myself ?
Are there other ways I can describe myself or others that is less emotionally loaded ?

There are heaps of ways to challenge beliefs. David burns' WHEN PANIC ATTACKS has dozens of them. You can also look many of them up in my post of 46 anti-anxiety techniques.

A helpful thing you can do is to make a list of all things that seems to contradict the particular belief no matter how small it is. Think of things that have happened in the past that counters the belief or assumption.

Here is a way of challenging a belief or assumption or rule on paper.

Belief: people think I'm a loser
Power in belief: 100%

a. Is there anyone out there who I think is a loser ? Do I absolutely hate them and want to humiliate them endlessly or doesn't even really bother me that much ?
b. What exactly am a loser at ? How much am a loser am I ? Have I ever won anything in my entire life ?
c. How many people have told me I am a loser ? One, two ? How many people have expressed this thought in one way or another ?
d. Am I a loser or just a person who doesn't receive much in life ?
e. Is there anyone else like me who others don't see as a loser ? Why are they any different ?
f. Do people really think I'm a loser or do I only feel like people do ?

Power in belief: 80%

You get the idea. Challenge a belief anyway you want and write it out how you like. In any case you are only weakening beliefs and assumptions and rules so that you have a little bit more confidence to go onto the next stage which is behavioural work.
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post #86 of 402 (permalink) Old 07-29-2011, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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BEHAVIOURAL TESTING

Now we are heading into the part of the therapy that will be testing your beliefs. First you write down the belief and how much you believe in it. Then write down the upcoming situation. Then you need to identify exactly what you fear will happen. Next you will need to define what you will be looking out for that will confirm this belief or disconfirm it. After the experiment you will need to write down the outcome and then your conclusions about the event. Finally re-rate your power in the belief. This is how to do it on paper.

Belief: People think I'm a loser (80%)

Situation: Going to a John's party on Saturday

Prediction: People will talk behind my back and snicker and then everyone there will all think the same and laugh and walk away from me.

Confirmation/Discomfirmation: People standing and looking over at me and laughing, people whispering near me and snickering, people looking uncomfortable around me, people being friendly with me, people asking me to join them.

Outcome: People did laugh but not about me or anything to do with me, I got along with everyone there and nobody behaved uncomfortably around me. Things turned out much better than I originally thught they would.

Conclusions: People are not as mean as I thought they were or as readily to humiliate me as I believe. Most people have much more important and better things to discuss other than things they don't like about me.

Re-Rate Belief: 45%

You may also want to write down how the belief has been modified. The example used may go something like this.

Most people do not think I'm a loser. Some might, but most don't. There is simply no basis for them to think that - and I understand that now.

You may very well have to test out beliefs again and again to get them to reduce to the point where no more anxiety is aroused.

This behavioural testing will also help you build new, healthier beliefs in place of the old ones. You should be moderate when suggesting a new belief for it to work. Again, you need to look for evidence to support the new belief. When trying to build up a new positive belief you don't need the feared prediction if you don't want to because there may very well be situations where you don't get anxious but can still use them for building up the new belief.

You can do it like this on paper.

Belief: I'm ok, and some people think I'm alright (20%)

Situation: Going to the pub for a drink with the people from work.

Confirmation/Disconfirmation: People talking to me, people wanting to know more about me, people offering to buy me drinks, some people not noticing I was even there.

Outcome: Many people talked to me and we all got along quite well. Though some people seemed like they didn't care I was there.

Conclusions: Most people like me for who I am and don't really care about any of my flaws once a good conversation gets going.

Re-rate belief: 55%


Remember you must reduce self-consciousness and drop all safety behaviours in order to give yourself the best chance at overcoming social anxiety.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHANGING ASSUMPTIONS & RULES

The way to change a rule or assumption is obvious; you simply decide to alter the behaviour that you do or follow. Let's say you assume you need to be entertaining in order to be accepted you will decide to just hold back, or maybe you feel you should never have a different opinion to the majority which would be a rule, so you would decide to voice a different opinion. You first identify your assumptions and rules, how much you believe in them and the behaviours associated with them. Then you predict what will happen. Then you decide to try something different instead of the old behaviour. Then evaluate what happens and draw your conclusions. Then re-rate you belief in it. Do it on paper like this:


Assumption: People don't like me when I am not amusing them (100%)
Old Behaviour: Always trying to come up with ways to make people laugh
Prediction: People will tell me to go away
New behaviour: Stop making jokes and be more quiet
Evaluation: People didn't express any dislike and still treated me as they do when I did make jokes in the past.
Conclusions: It's ok to not always try to be the life of the party and entertain others.
Re-rate assumption: 50%

You can alter a rule or assumption in the same way you did with beliefs if you want to rather than do it this way. It up to you how you do it.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To finish up, remember all those things you avoided and all those situations you used safety behaviours in. Put them on a scale from easiest to hardest and begin working on them one by one. You will feel a boost in confidence with each success, and this will give you the strength to move on to the next challenge. Don't give up!

Here is a summary of how things procede with this method which is from the Bulter book OVERCOMING SOCIAL ANXIETY AND SHYNESS

1. Learn the connection between environment, thought, feeling, behaviour and bodily reactions. Learn about cognitive distortions. Do this or else you will be wasting your time.

2. Use the mood diary and capture all your negative thoughts in a situation. Find evidence for and against each thought. Suggest alternatives and re-rate your mood.

3. Learn to reduce self-consciousness.

4. Identify and practice dropping safety behaviours

5. Begin doing things you have been avoiding

6. Uncover beliefs, assumptions & rules

7. Challenge them using cognitive techniques

8. Go out and test your beliefs, assumptions and rules starting from easiest to hardest with all safety behaviours dropped and self-consciousness reduced. Repeat this step for as many beliefs, assumption and rules as many times as you need to. It may very well take months to see even a little bit of change. If you really feel cbt isn't working try compassionate cbt and mindfulness since they force you to react at the emotional level. Meta-cbt also is providing even better results than cbt for anxiety disorders so that may be worth looking into. Other than that the only other advice I can offer is to start building up a life for yourself after you have begun fixing your social anxiety.
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post #87 of 402 (permalink) Old 07-30-2011, 12:05 PM
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Falcooooooooooo BAMP

Lolzs XD. nice.
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post #88 of 402 (permalink) Old 07-30-2011, 12:07 PM
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BEHAVIOURAL TESTING

Now we are heading into the part of the therapy that will be testing your beliefs. First you write down the belief and how much you believe in it. Then write down the upcoming situation. Then you need to identify exactly what you fear will happen. Next you will need to define what you will be looking out for that will confirm this belief or disconfirm it. After the experiment you will need to write down the outcome and then your conclusions about the event. Finally re-rate your power in the belief. This is how to do it on paper.

Belief: People think I'm a loser (80%)

Situation: Going to a John's party on Saturday

Prediction: People will talk behind my back and snicker and then everyone there will all think the same and laugh and walk away from me.

Confirmation/Discomfirmation: People standing and looking over at me and laughing, people whispering near me and snickering, people looking uncomfortable around me, people being friendly with me, people asking me to join them.

Outcome: People did laugh but not about me or anything to do with me, I got along with everyone there and nobody behaved uncomfortably around me. Things turned out much better than I originally thught they would.

Conclusions: People are not as mean as I thought they were or as readily to humiliate me as I believe. Most people have much more important and better things to discuss other than things they don't like about me.

Re-Rate Belief: 45%

You may also want to write down how the belief has been modified. The example used may go something like this.

Most people do not think I'm a loser. Some might, but most don't. There is simply no basis for them to think that - and I understand that now.

You may very well have to test out beliefs again and again to get them to reduce to the point where no more anxiety is aroused.

This behavioural testing will also help you build new, healthier beliefs in place of the old ones. You should be moderate when suggesting a new belief for it to work. Again, you need to look for evidence to support the new belief. When trying to build up a new positive belief you don't need the feared prediction if you don't want to because there may very well be situations where you don't get anxious but can still use them for building up the new belief.

You can do it like this on paper.

Belief: I'm ok, and some people think I'm alright (20%)

Situation: Going to the pub for a drink with the people from work.

Confirmation/Disconfirmation: People talking to me, people wanting to know more about me, people offering to buy me drinks, some people not noticing I was even there.

Outcome: Many people talked to me and we all got along quite well. Though some people seemed like they didn't care I was there.

Conclusions: Most people like me for who I am and don't really care about any of my flaws once a good conversation gets going.

Re-rate belief: 55%


Remember you must reduce self-consciousness and drop all safety behaviours in order to give yourself the best chance at overcoming social anxiety.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHANGING ASSUMPTIONS & RULES

The way to change a rule or assumption is obvious; you simply decide to alter the behaviour that you do or follow. Let's say you assume you need to be entertaining in order to be accepted you will decide to just hold back, or maybe you feel you should never have a different opinion to the majority which would be a rule, so you would decide to voice a different opinion. You first identify your assumptions and rules, how much you believe in them and the behaviours associated with them. Then you predict what will happen. Then you decide to try something different instead of the old behaviour. Then evaluate what happens and draw your conclusions. Then re-rate you belief in it. Do it on paper like this:


Assumption: People don't like me when I am not amusing them (100%)
Old Behaviour: Always trying to come up with ways to make people laugh
Prediction: People will tell me to go away
New behaviour: Stop making jokes and be more quiet
Evaluation: People didn't express any dislike and still treated me as they do when I did make jokes in the past.
Conclusions: It's ok to not always try to be the life of the party and entertain others.
Re-rate assumption: 50%

You can alter a rule or assumption in the same way you did with beliefs if you want to rather than do it this way. It up to you how you do it.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To finish up, remember all those things you avoided and all those situations you used safety behaviours in. Put them on a scale from easiest to hardest and begin working on them one by one. You will feel a boost in confidence with each success, and this will give you the strength to move on to the next challenge. Don't give up!

Here is a summary of how things procede with this method which is from the Bulter book OVERCOMING SOCIAL ANXIETY AND SHYNESS

1. Learn the connection between environment, thought, feeling, behaviour and bodily reactions. Learn about cognitive distortions. Do this or else you will be wasting your time.

2. Use the mood diary and capture all your negative thoughts in a situation. Find evidence for and against each thought. Suggest alternatives and re-rate your mood.

3. Learn to reduce self-consciousness.

4. Identify and practice dropping safety behaviours

5. Begin doing things you have been avoiding

6. Uncover beliefs, assumptions & rules

7. Challenge them using cognitive techniques

8. Go out and test your beliefs, assumptions and rules starting from easiest to hardest with all safety behaviours dropped and self-consciousness reduced. Repeat this step for as many beliefs, assumption and rules as many times as you need to. It may very well take months to see even a little bit of change. If you really feel cbt isn't working try compassionate cbt and mindfulness since they force you to react at the emotional level. Meta-cbt also is providing even better results than cbt for anxiety disorders so that may be worth looking into. Other than that the only other advice I can offer is to start building up a life for yourself after you have begun fixing your social anxiety.
This is very nice I shall print this out as well ))))
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post #89 of 402 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 11:45 PM
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I'd be careful with FLOODING.

Exposure, by itself, done in the wrong way, means the anxiety NEVER goes away - even if we've performed that fearful activity every single day of our lives for twenty years! That explains why "flooding" yourself with fearful anxieties does not work for people who have social anxiety

Exposure to fear inducing situations is best done gradually and in a systematic way.
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post #90 of 402 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 01:32 PM
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I'm 19 and gotta say everyone should read this having suffered from Social anxiety, I have to say flooding, gradual exposure & keeping your mind blank did it for me.

Most importantly I went with my instincts, I just went for it, also take advantage of having a drink to make new friends and sustain friendships.

75% of the time it's good to 'ask'. For me, personally, if you want to go out, ask... don't wait for your friend to ask you, it might not happen. If it did he/she might not be aware you want to go out because you haven't asked... most people won't understand... it's a win win situation as in most cases asking will be appreciated, it can spark up conversations, and your more likely to be asked to go out, you'll get exposed more often as well, meaning your social anxiety will dampen down.

The mind is a complex thing and we're all unique so my advice might not help... best to just go with you instincts, fight your fears!

Something that really helped me was going to a summer school, I had to in order to get an easier access into Newcastle Uni. I moved out, by myself, to some halls in Newcastle, it was just me on my own... I was scared at first but I had to ask to get around, and generally experience on my own... on the social side, I naturally asked to go out for lunch with people, and went out on night outs... I got to know around 30 people through 4 days of this.

Don't prioritize your schedule -- schedule your priorities.
Rome wasn't built in a day!
E pluribus unum.
Get busy living, or get busy dying
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post #91 of 402 (permalink) Old 08-04-2011, 12:31 PM
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One technique I use is breathing when you encounter any feeling of anxiety. Accept the anxiety as you feel it building up (don't try to hide it, accepting it can be very liberating) and release it as you breathe out. Feel your lungs expanding and realize that you are here now in the present moment, a free being, capable of escaping the prison that is anxiety. Breathe in and out. Smile. When such feelings occur try your best to not feed any energy to it. I used to shake, sweat, get dry mouth and avoid any form of social interaction unless it was absolutely necessary! But as I type I continue my journey to better my life and rid myself of all anxiety and fear. You can do it too! Reading material I would suggest are books from Don Miguel Ruiz, Thich Nhat Hahn, Eckhart Tolle.

"No thought, no action, no movement, total stillness: only thus can one manifest the true nature and law of things from within and unconsciously, and at last become one with heaven and earth."
-Lao Tzu
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post #92 of 402 (permalink) Old 08-04-2011, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Finally I am writing up this on meta-cognition (MC).

Why is it that some thoughts are discarded while others are focussed on and replayed like what occurs during sa. MC theory isn't focussed on the content of our thoughts but how we think about and respond to our thoughts. It is meta-cognition, or the internal cognitive factors that control, monitor, interprete and appraise thinking, that lies at the heart of psychological suffering.

Cognitive theory states that thinking patterns seen in sa relates to negative beliefs about ourselves and others. But such thoughts can elict a ranges of responses that don't lead to any anxiety, while some of those thoughts may be seen as unimportant and so discarded.

According to cognitive theory, if a person believes himself to be inadequate, then he should feel inadequate around others. But that is only one possible response to that thought. A person may put effort into being more adequate or may see the idea as irrelevent. So you see, it isn't so much our negative beliefs, but the meta-cognitions that are connected to these thoughts, but seperated from them nonetheless, that lead to emotional distress.

MC therapy does not test out the accuracy of negative thoughts like cognitive therapy, but instead makes paitents engage with their negative thoughts and feelings differently.

Sa is a state of mind that consists of worry, rumination, brooding and recycled thought content. Irrational beliefs and assumptions and automatic thoughts are only a small feature of cognition and are not the sole cause of anxiety. It is through the control of cognitive processess and the selection of certain thoughts and ideas which are then attended to exclusively that leads to prolonged suffering.

MC can be sub-divided in meta-cognitive knowledge, experiences and strategies.

MC knowledge are the theories and beliefs people have about their own thoughts. This may be how good one's concentration is or how focussed one's attention is on a task. MC knowledge can be divided into into two areas, explicit and implicit.

Explicit knowledge can be verbally expressed such as "my social anxiety is worse around the other gender". Implicit knowledge cannot be verbally expressed directly. These are factors that guide thinking processes such as where attention is focussed and locating events in memory and forming judgements.

Included in the category of MC knowledge are beliefs, both positive and negative.

Positive meta beliefs are beliefs that concern the advantages of engaging in cognitions and activities that lead to and reinforce sa, such as safety behaviours and self-consciousness.

Negative meta beliefs concern the uncontrollability, importance and dangerousness of cognitions and feelings.

Meta beliefs heavily influence how people react to negative thoughts, physical symptoms and negative emotions.

MC experiences are appraisals and feelings that people have of their own cognitions and mental state. For example, the feeling of self-consciousness is interpreted as a signal that one is certainly being watched by other people.

I will update this periodically... this isn't finished.
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post #93 of 402 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 11:40 AM
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It appears the techniques in this thread are that of CBT techniques. Several years ago I purchased a (expensive) CBT audio program by Dr. Thomas Richards called “Overcoming Social Anxiety”. Though I gave it a try and it seemed to make me feel a bit better for a short time period, in the end it clearly didn’t help me. The problem wasn’t the quality of his program; he actually had a well put together CBT program. Instead, the problem was that CBT only treats the symptoms and not the disease. This is why, soon afterwards, my SA was as strong as it was before and it is also why I couldn’t shake my low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness.

The ‘disease’ I am referring to is that of toxic shame. For those that don’t know, toxic shame is a condition that I and others believe is the core cause of most cases of SA. Please don’t be thrown off by the term "toxic shame". Toxic shame is NOT the same as “regular” shame. It is a much more widespread condition than is known. Rather than spending a lot of space here explaining it, please go to the link at the very bottom of my post. You have to first know what toxic shame is and what caused you to acquire it (though, sometimes it is not always clear-cut of what caused your toxic shame … for the reasons I mentioned in post #206 in the thread link at the very bottom of this post). Having said all the above, I do think that maybe some of the CBT techniques could be useful as a tool to help heal toxic shame. However, if you are going to use CBT, you must approach it with the idea and mindset of healing your toxic shame.

There are probably some people that have been helped with their SA through CBT techniques, but it would be my guess that even those (or the majority of those) people would eventually revert back to their SA. I just believe the disease (toxic shame) needs to be healed instead of treating the symptoms. I can confidently say that this has been my experience. Once I began treating my problem at its core cause (instead of just treating the symptoms), then that was when I was able to heal myself of my toxic shame and, thus, cure my SA.

I would recommend that everyone first go to my thread and at least read the first 3 posts of that thread (It is actually better to read the entire thread to get all the infromation). This way you can learn about toxic shame, what may have caused you to acquire it, and why it is the cause of your SA. And of course you will find out ways there to get you started in the healing of your TS. At that point, if you want to use some of the CBT techniques here - or elsewhere - then that is up to you. Just be sure that, whatever CBT techniques you use, that it will fit well and be congruent with your goal of healing your TS.

Here below is a link to my thread. Be sure to at least read the first 3 posts.

http://tinyurl.com/257kgpm

Once you read the above thread - or at least the first 3 posts - then you can decide whether or not if you want to incorporate CBT techniques into your plan of healing your TS. However, regardless if you decide to try CBT as one of the methods to heal your toxic shame, realize that there are actual standard "tried and true" ways to heal TS. I list those ways throughout my thread (in the link I provided in this post).


Lifetimer

"Shyness can be a serious problem when it is rooted in toxic shame." - John Bradshaw, toxic shame expert

Visit this thread link to find out the cause of SA for most of us and what to do about it: http://bit.ly/UeWprg
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post #94 of 402 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 05:31 PM
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thank you very much for posting these cbt techniques!
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post #95 of 402 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifetimer View Post
It appears the techniques in this thread are that of CBT techniques. Several years ago I purchased a (expensive) CBT audio program by Dr. Thomas Richards called “Overcoming Social Anxiety”. Though I gave it a try and it seemed to make me feel a bit better for a short time period, in the end it clearly didn’t help me. The problem wasn’t the quality of his program; he actually had a well put together CBT program. Instead, the problem was that CBT only treats the symptoms and not the disease. This is why, soon afterwards, my SA was as strong as it was before and it is also why I couldn’t shake my low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness.

The ‘disease’ I am referring to is that of toxic shame. For those that don’t know, toxic shame is a condition that I and others believe is the core cause of most cases of SA. Please don’t be thrown off by the term "toxic shame". Toxic shame is NOT the same as “regular” shame. It is a much more widespread conditon than is known. Rather than spending a lot of space here explaining it, please go to the link at the very bottom of my post. You have to first know what toxic shame is and what caused you to acquire it (though, sometimes it is not always clear-cut of what caused your toxic shame … for the reasons I mentioned in post #206 in the thread link at the very bottom of this post). Having said all the above, I do think that maybe some of the CBT techniques could be useful as a tool to help heal toxic shame. However, if you are going to use CBT, you must approach it with the idea and mindset of healing your toxic shame.

There are probably some people that have been helped with their SA through CBT techniques, but it would be my guess that even those (or the majority of those) people would eventually revert back to their SA. I just believe the disease (toxic shame) needs to be healed instead of treating the symptoms. I can confidently say that this has been my experience. Once I began treating my problem at its core cause (instead of just treating the symptoms), then that was when I was able to heal myself of my toxic shame and, thus, cure my SA.

I would recommend that everyone first go to my thread and at least read the first 3 posts of that thread (It is actually better to read the entire thread to get all the infromation). This way you can learn about toxic shame, what may have caused you to acquire it, and why it is the cause of your SA. And of course you will find out ways there to get you started in the healing of your TS. At that point, if you want to use some of the CBT techniques here - or elsewhere - then that is up to you. Just be sure that, whatever CBT techniques you use, that it will fit well and be congruent with your goal of healing your TS.

Here below is a link to my thread. Be sure to at least read the first 3 posts.

http://tinyurl.com/257kgpm

Once you read the above thread - or at least the first 3 posts - then you can decide whether or not if you want to incorporate CBT techniques into your plan of healing your TS.


Lifetimer

I actually cured my toxic shame for around 2 weeks after crying.... would you believe it, ALL my social anxiety and social clumsiness had disappeared simply because I cried.
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post #96 of 402 (permalink) Old 08-15-2011, 01:15 PM
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I listen too music, I have my mp3 player with me anytime I go out and that helps a lot.
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post #97 of 402 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 12:43 AM
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I disagree with a lot of your methods and I think a lot of your advice would just be perpetuating the status quo for many here. Making them unable to think that anything will get better so you make a post rationalizing all their worst fears. I have some very good reasons as to why this thread should be destickied... as much as it is trying to help. I will post more when I get to a computer.
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post #98 of 402 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 11:04 AM
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My critique:

7. Image substitution

It's true that you should replace negative images with more positives ones but that doesn't mean that you should try to change the reality of the situation. If something bad really did happen like rejection you just need to pull yourself out of the situation and realize how many good things that you have in life. Trying to think about it differently won't help. It'll just make you think about it differently.

9. Feared Fantasy

You shouldn't think about things in this manner. Real social situations don't really happen like this. No one really knows about your loneliness or about how you struggle with SA and a lot of people have similar problems to you. This only feeds on the fantasy that everyone is out to get you and that it would be good for you to stand up for them. This isnt SA. It's more like boarderline personality disorder.

10. Rejection Practice

Never practice for rejection because if you practice for rejection you'll only get hurt. You should try to imagine yourself in the most successful relationship that you can and if something doesn't happen the way that you want it to you can learn to manage your expectations. Things don't always go as planned. But, believing that you'll only get rejections doesn't help.

11. Self-Disclosure

This technique may be good for the people that you're around that you have issues with... but if you're talking to normal people you shouldn't need to bring it up unless it becomes an issue. You might be thinking about all sorts of various problems, and, bringing it up might cause them to like you less.

12. Devil's Advocate

You should replace that script with something that goes like this

You: I'm afraid to text my friend. I don't know what they'll say.
Devil: Wha's the worst that could happen? Your friend won't reply?
You: I'm afraid they'll never speak to me again.
Devil: Why? Because you approached them in a friendly way?
You: I've approached people in the past in a friendly way and they've refused my advances...
Devil: But if they're a friend, you should try to keep approaching them in a friendly way. After all, isn't that what friends are for?
You: Yes. I suppose you're right.
Devil: There's always a chance of rejection but usually good friends will stay with you through and through. Rejection is a possibility... but not as much so among friends.

13. Shame-attacking exercises

No. This is WRONG and 100% wrong. You shouldn't act like there is something wrong with you if there isn't something wrong with you. You shouldn't pretend to be shy. This is a defeatist attitude. It's basically saying that because other people have rejected me in the past... I must be shy and I must socially withdraw from others. That is not how it works. That just simply does not make any sense at all. You should just be yourself and who you want to be. You shouldn't worry about what other people think of you all the time.

14. Humorous Imagining

Only good if they're people you dislike...

15. Gruesome Imagining

Same thing. You shouldn't think of your friends like that...

16. Comparison Technique

I don't believe in this at all. If you compare yourself to other people you'll be either thinking too highly of yourself than you should be thinking, or, your self-esteem will be too much lower than it should be. You should just think about your relationships and how you are with other people. I also don't know where you get the idea that if you didn't have a mobile phone or heaps of MP3s you were a loser or sad... that just means you don't have same things other people do or ways to communicate with other people.

17. Acceptance Paradox

While this is true if you accept your flaws you'll be at peace at yourself... I don't think I'll ever be at peace with my flaws. I am always trying to better myself. This is something I try to do.

Critic: You don't understand social cues.
Me: How can I understand them better?
Critic: You need to look and see what other people are doing. Watching what they do is important. That way you can interact around them better.
Me: OOOOH, so social cues are like another language itself?
Critic: Precisely. Sometimes you only seem to think of the verbal language and not the non-verbal language.
Me: OHhh I think I get it. I'll try to work on it now.

18. Hidden Emotion Technique

Okay, but sex isn't everything.

19. Socratic Questioning

This is probably the only thing that I agree with you on. However, everything else that you've posted seems to fly in the face of Socratic Questioning. I think you should spend more emphasis on Socratic Questioning than these other issues.

20. Downward Arrow Technique

I've tried this many times and I don't know but for me it seems to make the problem worse. It's just that I write the problem down but it doesn't go away. Maybe I'm doing it wrong? IDK.

21. What if Technique

Why focus so much on the negatives? Why not think about the positives too?

22. Cost/Benefit Technique

I agree with this technique, but, my problem with your techniques is that they actually do the reverse of this technique, and other ones like the Socratic Questioning techniques.

23. Double-Standard Method:

Works well... with me. Sometimes if I'm worried about the way someone else is treating me I just think about how I might act in the same situation and I realize it's not rejection, but, they just simply might be doing other things.

Will do more later...
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post #99 of 402 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Anti depressant View Post
My critique:

7. Image substitution

It's true that you should replace negative images with more positives ones but that doesn't mean that you should try to change the reality of the situation. If something bad really did happen like rejection you just need to pull yourself out of the situation and realize how many good things that you have in life. Trying to think about it differently won't help. It'll just make you think about it differently.

9. Feared Fantasy

You shouldn't think about things in this manner. Real social situations don't really happen like this. No one really knows about your loneliness or about how you struggle with SA and a lot of people have similar problems to you. This only feeds on the fantasy that everyone is out to get you and that it would be good for you to stand up for them. This isnt SA. It's more like boarderline personality disorder.

10. Rejection Practice

Never practice for rejection because if you practice for rejection you'll only get hurt. You should try to imagine yourself in the most successful relationship that you can and if something doesn't happen the way that you want it to you can learn to manage your expectations. Things don't always go as planned. But, believing that you'll only get rejections doesn't help.

11. Self-Disclosure

This technique may be good for the people that you're around that you have issues with... but if you're talking to normal people you shouldn't need to bring it up unless it becomes an issue. You might be thinking about all sorts of various problems, and, bringing it up might cause them to like you less.

12. Devil's Advocate

You should replace that script with something that goes like this

You: I'm afraid to text my friend. I don't know what they'll say.
Devil: Wha's the worst that could happen? Your friend won't reply?
You: I'm afraid they'll never speak to me again.
Devil: Why? Because you approached them in a friendly way?
You: I've approached people in the past in a friendly way and they've refused my advances...
Devil: But if they're a friend, you should try to keep approaching them in a friendly way. After all, isn't that what friends are for?
You: Yes. I suppose you're right.
Devil: There's always a chance of rejection but usually good friends will stay with you through and through. Rejection is a possibility... but not as much so among friends.

13. Shame-attacking exercises

No. This is WRONG and 100% wrong. You shouldn't act like there is something wrong with you if there isn't something wrong with you. You shouldn't pretend to be shy. This is a defeatist attitude. It's basically saying that because other people have rejected me in the past... I must be shy and I must socially withdraw from others. That is not how it works. That just simply does not make any sense at all. You should just be yourself and who you want to be. You shouldn't worry about what other people think of you all the time.

14. Humorous Imagining

Only good if they're people you dislike...

15. Gruesome Imagining

Same thing. You shouldn't think of your friends like that...

16. Comparison Technique

I don't believe in this at all. If you compare yourself to other people you'll be either thinking too highly of yourself than you should be thinking, or, your self-esteem will be too much lower than it should be. You should just think about your relationships and how you are with other people. I also don't know where you get the idea that if you didn't have a mobile phone or heaps of MP3s you were a loser or sad... that just means you don't have same things other people do or ways to communicate with other people.

17. Acceptance Paradox

While this is true if you accept your flaws you'll be at peace at yourself... I don't think I'll ever be at peace with my flaws. I am always trying to better myself. This is something I try to do.

Critic: You don't understand social cues.
Me: How can I understand them better?
Critic: You need to look and see what other people are doing. Watching what they do is important. That way you can interact around them better.
Me: OOOOH, so social cues are like another language itself?
Critic: Precisely. Sometimes you only seem to think of the verbal language and not the non-verbal language.
Me: OHhh I think I get it. I'll try to work on it now.

18. Hidden Emotion Technique

Okay, but sex isn't everything.

19. Socratic Questioning

This is probably the only thing that I agree with you on. However, everything else that you've posted seems to fly in the face of Socratic Questioning. I think you should spend more emphasis on Socratic Questioning than these other issues.

20. Downward Arrow Technique

I've tried this many times and I don't know but for me it seems to make the problem worse. It's just that I write the problem down but it doesn't go away. Maybe I'm doing it wrong? IDK.

21. What if Technique

Why focus so much on the negatives? Why not think about the positives too?

22. Cost/Benefit Technique

I agree with this technique, but, my problem with your techniques is that they actually do the reverse of this technique, and other ones like the Socratic Questioning techniques.

23. Double-Standard Method:

Works well... with me. Sometimes if I'm worried about the way someone else is treating me I just think about how I might act in the same situation and I realize it's not rejection, but, they just simply might be doing other things.

Will do more later...

What works for one might not work for another. Just because something doesn't work FOR YOU or seems to make the problem worse FOR YOU doesn't mean the technique is invalid/bad because it just might work FOR SOMEBODY ELSE. I'm under the impression that you are making a lot of this about you and these were not witten out solely for you. Most people have common sense and will not just blindly follow these things without even thinking. Say for example, you self-disclose you are nervous, most people know there is a right time and place to say it and will not just blurt it out to anyone at anytime. For some, their sa has remitted once it has gotten out in the open because others were accepting and understanding of it.

I'm not trying to tell people to reject reality, just reject their negative beliefs and automatic thoughts about situations using these techniques, if they are indeed incorrect. If reality matches their beliefs and thoughts (say if they are rejected), then I suggest they cope with it differently... not try to deny it and pretend it never happened! That is incrediably hard to do anyway! There were actually techniqes to deal with it. And anyway reality is mostly subjective, that's why I assumed other people thought I was sad and a loser for not owning a mobile and mp3 player (my subjective reality).... people from the past actually told me in a way that I was. So here you are saying that how can I think like that (your subjective reality)??? How can you tell me I'm not sad when others tell me I am? Who should I believe? What is the reality about the situation?

Some of these technqiues actually help people discover their underlying beliefs that make them anxious. I don't see why you criticize those ones for??? If they discover something buried then they have a chance to change it. The "what if" technique is great for this. People with sa are hardly even aware of their own cognitions and mental images and so this will help them discover them. As for the shame attacking exercise, people can use it to test out how judgemental people really are. You say don't worry too much what people think... hey, great advice!.... if only people with sa knew how to apply it in the real world. That's why they have the shame attacking technique to use.

As for the Feared fantasy criticism. You forget that some people are infact really mean to others and will attack them for how they live or what they haven't done yet. I've seen this happen before and people have done similar things to me in the past. You just assume I'm trying to convey that people everywhere are like this, when I'm not. Sure, rejection practice can be bad, if your rejection sensitivity is high... but it can also be enlightening for some to discover rejection isn't all it's cracked up to be. The way I see it, what works, works. Because people are so varied, there is no one technique that will do exactly the same thing for another, so criticism seems out of place for most of these techqniues (though a few techniques are absurd and I should delete them, but kept them in to bolster the sense of choice and because they seemed to work for me at some point in time, while some of these techqniues didn''t work or made things worse)

As for your comment on borderline. Many people seem to package just about every single psychological problem as social anxiety these days. On this site there are shy people, borderline people, avoidants, aspergers syndrome people, schizophrenics, depressed people, generalized anxiety people. Social anxiety is a symptom of something deeper and people without social anxiety disorder also experience social anxiety as well. Some people will think in totally delusional ways and they must be helped also, not just people with sad.
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post #100 of 402 (permalink) Old 08-19-2011, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Anti depressant View Post
I disagree with a lot of your methods and I think a lot of your advice would just be perpetuating the status quo for many here. Making them unable to think that anything will get better so you make a post rationalizing all their worst fears. I have some very good reasons as to why this thread should be destickied... as much as it is trying to help. I will post more when I get to a computer.
How can these techniques possibly extend the problem? How am I making people think nothing will get better? I am infact showing them that they can get better and am showing them how they might go about it. Most people's fears in social anxiety come from early childhood and are totally IRRATIONAL and are unfounded and no longer apply to the adult world and their coping defenses formed in childhood at the same time these fears were laid down and have carried on into adulthood as well. What else are people supposed to do with their fears?.... I see, let them be and keep doing what they've been doing all their life.... what a great way to keep themselves in the rut. Just read through a lot of posts on this site and you will see many people are far more interested in talking about how screwed up their life is and how they are plagued by all these insecurities about every little aspect under the sun and have a list of fears longer than the wall of china which hardly ever seem to come true and seem hardly interested in fixing them because they don't know what to do or how to go about it because their fears get in the way. Many want a quick fix/new philosophy on life/overnight enlightenment/someone to take them by the hand... sorry, not gonna happen for most. They need to help themselves because nobody else will, at least not for a price. These are some of the best self-help techniques out there that work the quickest for many at some level and many of these can be incorporated into cognitive-behavioural therapy to challenge negative thoughts and beliefs (such as the feared fantasy, devil's advocate, what-if technique, downward arrow, socratic techniques, hidden emotion, plus ways of carrying out experiments such as through shame attacking, self-disclosure, flooding, gradual exposure and ways of putting them into mindsets that give them more confidence to undertake experiments such as mindfulness, curiosity or the compensation technique). The examples given were just that... examples. Sure, some were extreme and I could have given better, more likely examples, but they represented some of the worst situations some people might find themselves in and were only there to give people an idea of how to apply these techniques. Its up to people to look at their situation and apply what they think in a way that will help themselves... or better yet, how about they go spend some money and buy some self help books that will give them similar advice... apply this or that technique, go out in the real world and just tough it out and you'll eventually get over it... because i'm telling you now, that will be the basic premise of those books. You pick up any seduction book and no matter what way they tell you to get over your shyness, they are all basically the same... they push you to take a risk, if you don't, you might as well throw the book in the trash. How about you write up some techniques that work univerally so you can share what you know with everyone.... sorry mate, there isn't one. So how about you pick which ones work FOR YOURSELF and stick to them, instead of trying to tell people most of these won't work because of this or that reason, which is an absolutely ridiculous notion. An analogy I can draw from your criticism is much like telling someone who is bullied not to stand up to the bully because it could make things worse (which in turn fills his head with MORE fear of the bully). The kid can tell the teacher, nicely tell the bully he/she is hurting him/her or run away or quit school.... There are options available to him, all have advantages/disadvantages and some work better than others. We are here to fight the formidable bully that is social anxiety. If one technique doesn't work, forget it, go onto another one, no need to discourage others from taking up action using any of these techniques.


Now, one last thing, my dear critique. Have you ever seen the movie "Theatre of Blood"?
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