^^ pbanco: is there any evidence that it works? if so I would try it, although I would still have to deal with the valid reasons for pessimism which are compounded by social realities as well as finding a therapist who wasn't billing while making themselves feel better by surreptitiously placing themselves above me and thereby indirectly putting me down.
Re FormerOptimist: thanks for the compliment, I'm glad if my post helped someone clarify their own similar frustrations. Often it is exactly that kind of advantage that a network offers: similar ideas and opinions fleshed out in efficient and time tested scripts are available to those in the network in order for them to make their case more easily.
Re: Hipolita: thanks for clarifying where you were coming from. I think a lot of people who don't make as much use of available networks have secondary disorders beyond SA but even just having a lot of anxiety would require a lot of support. I myself have felt bad in the past because I saw that a few people made slight efforts to help me in minor ways and I was unable to capitalize on it. It might have looked as though I wasn't trying but in fact it was just too little too late and it was coming from strangers.
Bent, I think you're focusing too much attention on social status and perceptions of your therapists interactions and reactions to you. Maybe those things you've listed are true and are what are occurring, but certainly social status and family upbringing aren't the only possible contributors to social anxiety. There are other things that are worth paying attention to. That you have more control over that can hopefully lead to a reduction in symptoms.
My own experience, and I'll put it as honestly as I can. CBT did not really help me. I did exposure therapy for about 6 months, where we actually did do structured exposures each lasting for a little over an hour. Public presentations, interviews, going out in public and interacting with strangers, going to clubs. Etc. Etc. The anxiety would come down after an hour or so of a panic attack, but the effects didn't really generalize outside of that setting. In the next few days I would still have similar levels of anxiety in social situations and didn't really make much progress other than lowering the barrier and threshold of my avoidance. I.E. I was more likely to expose myself to situations just based off my earlier experiences with being able to withstand horrible horrible panic attacks. And I kind of can see how research is biased in psychology, because they had me do the same tests over and over to track my "progress" and really I just self selected scores to be lower because I wanted to believe so much that I was actually getting better when in actuality I really wasn't. Was it completely useless? No, there were some helpful things it did for my social anxiety. But at the end of the day I still could not function on a basic social level in a social setting due to immense anxiety.
Medications didn't help at all. I did a few SSRIs, they helped with OCD, but not really social anxiety. Xanax was useful for presentations, but I only took them for acute things like that. I don't know if taking them as a daily medication would work or not, but I never wanted to try. Also it was inconsistent for presentations, sometimes it would work sometimes it wouldn't. Propanolol didn't really help either, although it kind of made social interactions a little bit more bearable.
I never gave nardil a serious go as that medication is kinda serious. Some people I hear have had nardil give them SA free life. But man, that's some scary **** lol. I have other health issues that I think preclude me from nardil.
For the past few months I've been doing psychodynamic therapy, although we haven't really gone into orthodox past experiences or anything like that. I feel I've made the most improvements so far in this type of therapy setting, because I'm able to speak my feelings and mind as I want. I can't really explain it, but I feel like things I didn't realize I was missing in my socializing with others are starting to come to light. I realize that social situations are really about just being able to access your feelings, needs, and desires, and to be able to express those things. It's been baby steps but I've noticed significant improvements in my ability to socialize just by being given an environment where I can express my feelings safely.
Some of the changes I've observed is that I've been able to confront people, that I've been able to do small public presentations with minimal anxiety, and that I've been able to access my own base personality and have reactive feelings in social situations that guide me to participate. I still get situations where my physical mind-body symptoms dominate, but I've been able to do things like go out on dates that I wouldn't have been able to do in the past.
I would suggest psychodynamic over CBT, just based off my experience.
With an emphasis on finding a therapist who you feel safe with and can connect in common goals for yourself.