Social Anxiety Disorder Addressed

Beginning August 1st the Office of Applied Psychological Services (OAPS) will be hosting twelve group therapy sessions that are specifically aimed at easing symptoms frequently associated with social anxiety. This will be the second round of sessions this year, due to the success of the spring sessions.

“Social anxiety is a disorder characterized by intense fear in social situations causing considerable distress and an impaired ability to function in day-to-day life.” according to Randi Schuster, M.A., one of the therapists who will be hosting the sessions. A student with social anxiety would be limited in many ways, both academically and socially. In a classroom setting, group work and taking that extra step to ask a T.A. a question would likely be nerve wracking. Socially, a person with social anxiety would struggle making friends and may often feel very lonely.

Each group session will last anywhere from one to two hours and will consist of approximately 4 to 6 people, along with the therapists. Group sessions will meet once a week and will be scheduled to work with the availability of those who qualify to participate.

The group sessions will use psycho-education to explore the nature of social anxiety and how it interferes with an individual’s everyday life. This will provide support with cognitive restructuring and teaching those suffering from the disorder how to refute their own distorted thinking patterns. This will also assist students in better recognizing their own thinking and behavior. Each session will also work attempt to teach coping skills, along with how to fully and methodically build tolerance to social settings.

According to Schuster, by working in a group the individual will be allowed to open up about social settings and will be taught to cope with their own fears all while feeling a sense of understanding and acceptance from fellow members and therapists. Because social anxiety is commonly a very isolating disorder, working with a group reinforces a sense of normalcy to the individual.

The Office of Applied Psychological Services (OAPS) is located in the Behavioral Sciences Building (BSB) in 3011A on the east side of campus. The cost of the twelve group therapy sessions for individuals who qualify is $140. For further information for those interested in participating in the sessions and to determine if you are eligible to participate contact Brady Nelson,, 312-996-2540 x: 6357 or Randi Schuster, 312-996-2540 x: 7248.

Published in The Chicago Flame  Wednesday, August 18, 2010

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