In the last issue of TILT, I wrote about how clients can use their smartphones and tablets to cognitively avoid their discomfort during exposure therapy for anxiety. In this article, I want to talk about how to integrate social media when you are helping clients overcome social anxiety.
According to the Pew Research Institute, approximately 66% of Americans use various social media channels (mostly Facebook). People who are shy or socially anxious may spend more time observing their news feeds, rather than actively commenting, posting, retweeting, or liking what they see. I take full advantage of this fact when designing behavioural experiments with my clients who are working on meeting new people or developing deeper connections with their friends and family.
First, it is important to use a technique called Assertive Defense of the Self developed by Christine Padesky, where we generate and then role play a list of possible assertive responses to feared critical remarks. Once clients feel confident that they could cope with criticism or negative remarks, then we develop a plan to connect with others both off and online.
This article first appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.
Click here to read the entire PDF version of the Wired to Worry article.
Christine Korol, PhD, is a cartoonist psychologist in private practice in Calgary, Canada, and the host/producer of a podcast on WiredToWorry.com that provides free online anxiety and stress reduction education videos.
Access TILT Magazine archives: http://issuu.com/onlinetherapyinstitute/docs