Social anxiety or social phobia is disorder found in most of the adults and young children. It can be defined as a feeling of nervousness in a new social setting. It is often accompanied by a feeling of being judged by others. People suffering from social anxiety disorder feel anxious while meeting new people; feel uncomfortable to eat or drink in front of other people and even feel shy to visit the public restrooms.
Thankfully, there are various ways to combat the social anxiety disorder of the individuals. Out of these, creating a social anxiety hierarchy is one of the latest therapies being used to minimize the negative effects that people are facing due to this disorder. Preparing the hierarchy is part of the cognitive behavioral therapy. In this process, you build a list of the activities or situations that you avoid to do or attend due to the social anxiety disorder.
It is just like; you build a ladder of events starting from the simpler ones to complex ones. After you have prepared the list, you then start to overcome them, one by one along with help from your therapist. The hierarchy becomes most effective, when it is done along with the exposure therapy. The exposure therapy is administered to people in different number of ways.
- Imaginal exposure: In the imaginal exposure way, you are entitled to imagine the fearful event. Just imagine that you are doing the thing that you fear and gradually, your mind will begin to adapt itself in confronting the fear.
- Role-Play exposure: In this therapy of confronting social anxiety, you have to play dummy roles of the character, which you fear to do in reality. Your therapist will help you in this case. By being acquainted with the role-play technique, you become comfortable in thinking yourself as playing the active role in that fearful situation.
- Real world exposure: Finally, this is the ultimate goal of the therapy, in which you face the things in reality. By this time, you have become much confident in facing real situations with ease.
Things to Consider Before Constructing a Social Anxiety Hierarchy
Before preparing a hierarchy of the events that you fear or feel anxious about, let us consider some of the important questions. Just analyze in mind as what are the situations or events that makes you the most anxious. What are the things or activities that you always tend to postpone due to your social anxiety? What are the things you avoid totally to keep yourself in the safe position?
After deep thought, when you find out the answers to the above questions; make the list starting from the activities about which you feel less anxious, at the bottom and the activities about which you feel the most anxious, at the top. In other words, the least anxiety provoking activities should be at the bottom and the most anxiety provoking activities should be at the top of the hierarchy. After you have thoroughly prepared your hierarchy, now it’s time to combat one by one, starting from the bottom to the top by taking the help of a social anxiety therapist.