Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Canberra, Australia
^ I did the course in 2010. Have I encountered you perhaps (?)
I would do it again. It is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which I don't think has been mentioned yet. Some therapy just seems to be a talkfest. The course was positive in that it involved practical assignments or homework. It broke how SA manifests down into components and addressed each e.g. attention-focussing, challenging thoughts, trying to look at things more realistically. Then the idea is to bring it all together after working on the components.
There was also understanding of what SA is, which is obviously helpful. If a therapist does not understand what the issue is, they are handicapped. There was recognition that changing things to "normal" is like trying to speak another language, which is a really good analogy. Hence you did not get the attitude that all you needed to do was "pull yourself together".
There were also insights - avoidance increases anxiety, the underlying core belief, your own perception of events is often distorted, the role of rumination - which were new information and which rang true when pointed out. Unfortunately you do not seem to be able to work them out for yourself, although you wonder why in hindsight.
It tells you what feeds into SA, and so what is significant and needs to be worked on, and how to work on it. It also gives you an intellectual framework that you can work with independently later. There is lots of information about SA, but, as I have subsequently found out, there are so many aspects to it that a lot of information is left out too e.g. that someone with SA assumes everyone dislikes them, and their reaction tends to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
One weakness was the assumption that social skills are either present or latent, so there was nothing about the unwritten rules of conversation.
The section on the core belief came at the end, and should have been at the beginning in my opinion, for the very reason that it lies at the core. The method of counteracting it seemed insubstantial too - you write down your new helpful core belief, and the old one, which has obviously had such a grip on you, conveniently melts away like frost before the morning sun.
There was not much on how SA tries to preserve itself through incorrect perceptions etc. That was touched on towards the end when one of the convenors pointed out in passing that the feeling you have that the exercises were silly is an example of SA trying to preserve itself. To me that insight was a highlight of the course. That could have been a separate module in itself, which should have appeared at the beginning of the course. It is helpful to know that SA is running interference on you, and that negative reactions which can be a stumbling-block are not realistic.
Overall, absolutely worth doing, and if some of the extras mentioned above were added, and it lasted correspondingly longer and\or were more intensive than weekly meetings, it would be really good. An action plan is drawn up. There is a workbook, and so you can use it on an ongoing basis.
cheer up - God is with you