The research on social anxiety overwhelmingly confirms the importance of a good support network. Friends and family are what most people think of, and they’re very important because they often provide the practical kind of emotional support that we often need to get back on our feet. But professionals and even strangers with first-hand experience of social anxiety are often more helpful at providing something researchers call informational support (advice, personal feedback, information, expert guidance). Our ability to rely on a solid social network directly relates to our ability to handle stress. The better our network, the better our ability to handle the stresses of life, and to benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
See also: Dr. Russ Morfitt’s PsychCentral Interview on Online Therapy for Social Anxiety
For that reason, I wanted to let you know about an important development at Learn to Live, that we believe will help many with expanding their social network. We are launching our new Social Anxiety Community Forum, where people can go to connect with other sufferers who’ve “been there” and to get information to help them overcome their social anxiety. Our goal at Learn to Live has always been to provide the tools and resources to help people in their battle against social anxiety. One of those tools is a network of support that extends beyond what we offer through our Program and in our materials.
We’ve created our Community Forum in order to foster the sorts of relationships that grow organically from one person helping another. We’ve integrated the forum into our website in order to facilitate its use for those going through our Program, but we’ve opened it to the public so that we can all benefit from the lessons learned by those who’ve experienced social anxiety. The forum is divided into three broad categories:
1) Social Anxiety Situations is a category in which people share their personal experience with social anxiety, the way it affects their work, their play, and their relationships.
2) Social Anxiety Tools is a place to discuss the different tools associated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. What works for them. What doesn’t. It’s where old members mentor new members on best practices around the various CBT tools. Got a question? Pose it. Got an answer? Share it.
3) My Progress is a broad category of topics giving voice to the personal experiences of social anxiety sufferers. Need encouragement? Ask for it. Need to vent? You’re among friends. Got a recent success to share? You’ll find others to celebrate with you.
Remember, this is your story. Your life story can get better and better, and a whole group of people who have “walked in your shoes” may be ready to help you on your way. So whether you’ve just figured out there’s a thing called social anxiety or you’ve been battling it for years, I hope you share your questions and your wisdom on the Community Forum. Let’s help each other.