Social anxiety can make it incredibly difficult to navigate the world, work, and form relationships. Most patients with social anxiety are able to make great strides and improvements with the help of a psychologist. However, making and attending a session with a psychologist can be really hard when social situations trigger your anxiety. Here are a few tips that will help you make and keep an appointment so you can get the help you need and deserve.
If you have trouble leaving the house, make a virtual appointment.
Some people with social anxiety struggle to even leave the house. If this is you, then get over this first hurdle by making a virtual appointment with a psychologist. Do try to pick someone in your area so that eventually, you can transition into having in-person appointments with this therapist.
With a virtual appointment, all you need to work yourself up to do is turning on your video and logging into the session. If you're really nervous about showing yourself on screen, most therapists will even understand if you have your camera off and just do your first session with voice. Then, you can work towards using the camera the next time.
Write down your concerns beforehand.
As someone with social anxiety, there is probably nothing you fear more than sharing your deepest concerns and worries. Your therapist won't expect you to share everything during your first session, although that is a goal to work towards. One way to make the initial sharing easier is to write down the concerns you are most interested in sharing before your appointment. Keep this paper in front of you during the session, and bring up the concerns on the paper when you feel comfortable doing so. Set the goal of sharing just one thing during your first session. If you're able to do more than this, then bonus points for you!
Tell the psychologist that you're socially anxious.
It can be tough to admit you have social anxiety, but if you can make this one, single confession to your psychologist, it will make everything easier, going forward. Your therapist will better understand why you're struggling to open up, and they will use gentle strategies to make you more comfortable. If you really struggle to say "I have social anxiety" in person, try emailing the therapist to tell them beforehand.
If you can manage to make and attend the first session with your psychologist, you'll be on the right path towards managing your social anxiety. It's all about taking that first step.