Welcome, Everyone Overcoming Social Anxiety and Public Speaking Phobia!
Meet with other local people with an extreme fear of social situations, social anxiety, and/or public speaking/performance anxiety. Offer support and understanding and share your story with others! An excellent opportunity to meet new people that you can openly share your anxiety challenges with. This is a judgment free and low pressure environment.
If you prefer not to speak at all, no problem, just come and observe. Please do not let the fear that you will have to speak hold you back from attending. You can learn valuable information just from listening to others. You will also realize that you are not alone, that you can relate to other people.
We meet in libraries in Bristol, Southington and Plainville, CT usually on weeknights and occasional Saturday afternoons. Meetings may be rarely held in the New Haven area. Usually, meetings run about an hour to an hour and a half. On average, there are 2-3 meetings per month.
The meetings have been going great! It's a nice mixture of new and returning members. There is no commitment involved; attend as you are able.
There is no solid structure to the meetings. We usually share our stories, briefly or in detail, on a voluntary basis. We speak about what is going on in our lives regarding social anxiety issues, what events we have coming up, treatments we have tried, and our thoughts and feelings in general regarding our experiences with SA.
This is a non-therapy group but we could do some behavioral activities if people feel comfortable enough to. We have recently begun to go out to low key venues to socialize.
What has helped me the most with my SA challenges is that I've been involved in a very effective support group for 5 years in which we practice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. At the Meet Up meetings, I share what I have learned, provide examples of how I think about social situations using techniques that have changed my thoughts to more rational, healthy ones.
Eventually, I would like to raise more awareness somehow in communities about Social Anxiety and how it differs from: severe shyness, as well as the average, non-debilitating, fear of public speaking. Social anxiety is a serious disorder that can significantly affect living your life to its fullest potential.
More details about the meetings:
There is an average of 8 people per meeting.
If you have not attended any meetings yet, please take a chance and come out and see what it's all about. Everyone is friendly and supportive and we can all relate to each other and the challenges that we face. The meetings have been going great!
For any newcomers, please be assured that you do not have to say one word if you are not comfortable yet. You can simply come in and observe. Many people do that and benefit from hearing discussions.
For those of you that have attended, please continue to come to the meetings. It takes persistence and practice to overcome these fears and the more exposure you get, the more progress you will make. Also, there is a tremendous bonding experience that occurs over time with those facing the same challenges as you.
These meetings are a great source of support and inspiration, knowing that you are not alone.
This is a judgment free environment. If you prefer not to speak, no problem, just come and observe.
This is an excellent opportunity to meet new people that you can openly share with; people that understand what you are going through.
Some of the key concepts relevant to social anxiety that come up in our discussions are:
- The need for approval/desire to "fit in"
- Catching yourself thinking negative thoughts and letting them go
- Fear of failure/losing the progress you've already made
- Worry that people are always thinking negatively of you
- Beating yourself up instead of looking at the positives of trying and challenging yourself
- What is the best approach to treatment? Cognitive behavioral therapy? Medication? Both?
- Nurture vs Nature (Environment vs Genetics) in social anxiety
- Speaking on the phone in public and/or in front of anyone
- The only way that you can truly fail at anything is by AVOIDANCE.
- The need for approval/desire to "fit in"
-The need for control
- Extra sensitivity to criticism
- Feeling/acting defensively
MeetUp ACTIVITY Meetings
We practice some behavioral exercises (exposures) that challenge us, representing real life social anxiety situations, yet we have the support of those that understand our anxiety.
Some examples are:
Mingling - (2-3 people each) talk for a few minutes each turn
Reading aloud in front of the group
Random, impromptu questions, with varying levels of difficulty
Open yourself to questions - volunteer to sit in the "hot seat" and take questions from others
Practice introducing ourselves a bit more in depth
Role Playing - practicing assertiveness
Presenting anything - come prepared with a small speech or a topic of interest
Please vote here: http://www.meetup.com/Connecticut-CT-Social-Anxiety-Public-Speaking-Support-Group/polls/243590/
Note: If you have not attended any meetings yet, I do recommend going to one of the regular meetings first. While you will not be “forced” to participate, it will be highly encouraged.
For more information on the Social Anxiety & Public Speaking Phobia Meetings, please visit:
To become a member, click on "join us", fill out a quick profile (use initials if you don't want any identifying information) and you'll have access to years worth of material from our meetings and discussion boards.
If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to contact me.
Getting Over Stage Fright Workshop
May 18th and May 19th, 2013
October 5th and October 6th,2013
(from 9am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday)
The Heritage Hotel, Southbury, CT
For more information about the workshop, click here.