Shyness Therapy NJ
What Causes Shyness?
Shyness is an emotion everyone feels occasionally. It’s that awkward, nervous sensation you feel deep in your gut during social encounters, especially with new acquaintances or during crowded social gatherings. If left unchecked, shyness can morph into anxiety and leave us tongue-tied and unable to focus on the conversations at hand. This pattern makes establishing and building relationships difficult, hindering our ability to make friends at school or work.
Shyness is especially prominent in children, ranging in intensity from a bit bashful to feeling physically unable to speak or interact with others. Shy children may hide behind their parents or even conceal themselves behind furniture. Adults may exhibit shyness by hanging back in a conversation or finding an excuse to exit a group situation.
Though there may be no apparent external reason for shyness, those demonstrating these behaviors likely have at least one internal reason for feeling and acting this way. Below are descriptions of a few of the most common reasons for shyness that we address in our shyness therapy in NJ.
If you have low self-esteem you likely perceive yourself as incompetent, undeserving, and generally prone to failure. This view affects the way they interact in social situations. They may feel awkward, embarrassed, or anxious, dreading when the people around them realize “the truth” about their unworthiness. As a result, they may avoid social situations or try to remain invisible in group settings. The trouble, in this case, is that the shy person has a profoundly negative self-image. Helping them understand that this image is inaccurate can alleviate some or all of their shyness.
Fear of Judgment
Being afraid of judgment often goes hand-in-hand with low self-esteem. Those with low self-esteem tend to view mistakes or unpleasant interactions as part of their identity rather than ordinary life experiences. This perception leads to an intense fear of being judged by others as harshly as they judge themselves. Shyness becomes a way for them to protect themselves against that potential judgment. For instance, when they encounter new people or make a social faux pas—like forgetting someone’s name—they may become so embarrassed that they end the interaction immediately and avoid that person in the future. It’s easy to see how this pattern can make it challenging to foster healthy relationships.
Lack of Self Knowledge
As mentioned above, a skewed view of oneself can significantly affect how people interact with others. Individuals who don’t understand their inherent value and worthiness may grapple with shyness because they feel ill-equipped to contribute to a conversation or project. Conversely, shyness may also come from anger. A person who doesn’t understand their ideas or their identity may be easily frustrated or insulted, leading to anger-induced shyness rather than the anxiety-induced variety. If someone feels ignored or dismissed, they may get angry, shut down, or refuse to speak.
Play therapy employs play to discover and address underlying psychological issues. Engaging in play helps the patient feel safe, allowing their body and mind to unwind and relax and making them more open to exploring uncomfortable subjects. Play also supports curiosity and skill acquisition because the process of learning is associated with something positive. At GATE, we optimize these benefits by using gaming in our shyness therapy sessions. We help you learn specific skills designed to benefit you in everyday life. You’ll then practice these skills in a board game setting to seat them in your memory and help you become comfortable using them. Other play therapy techniques we use during shyness therapy include storytelling, expressive arts (e.g., music, drawing, and dancing), and sand trays that allow you to sculpt and analyze your experiences.
Therapy Based on Your Needs
At GATE, we tailor your shyness therapy plan to your unique goals. There are no set templates—just you and our counselors collaborating to ensure you receive the best possible counseling. Though we specialize in therapeutic gaming, GATE also offers more traditional therapy options. We work with you during the intake process to decide what kind of therapy—or blend of treatments—is the best approach for you. For instance, some might find all the catharsis they need from talk therapy alone, while others may benefit most from a blend of cognitive-behavioral therapy and therapeutic roleplaying. Once we’ve established your needs, we’ll hand-pick games and therapies for your personal growth. We’ll also reevaluate along the way to make adjustments as needed. At GATE, your well-being is at the center of our focus. Our shyness therapy programs are flexible and easily customized to suit your individual needs.
How Shyness Therapy Can Help
As mentioned above, shyness is a normal emotion that everyone experiences. However, if you or a loved one seem stuck in a pattern of shyness and coinciding behaviors, it may be a sign of underlying issues that need to be addressed. At Gaming Approaches Toward Education (GATE), we provide shyness therapy for children, adolescents, and families.
Our shyness therapy in NJ helps you understand shyness as a learned behavior rather than an innate characteristic or “flaw.” Through a combination of therapeutic gaming and more traditional counseling, our therapists specialize in helping our patients unlearn shyness. With practice and patience, we’re confident you’ll learn to identify and address the underlying cause of your or a loved one’s shyness.
If you seek therapy to address shyness in yourself or a child, GATE would love to help you. Schedule an onboarding session with one of our counselors to further discuss your mental health goals. We’re experienced in helping each client find the therapy style that best suits their needs.
Shyness Therapy Treatments
Individual therapy is an essential springboard for self-growth and discovery. One-on-one sessions with a GATE therapist provide a safe setting for particularly withdrawn or shy individuals to explore their thoughts and emotions. Our therapists encourage clients to address the underlying causes of their shy behavior. This process helps them see the issue from a different—often broader—point of view.
During individual therapy, you’ll meet regularly with the same therapist, who will gently guide the conversation and ask questions to help you process your thoughts and feelings from a more objective viewpoint. Many people find individual therapy cathartic, as it allows them to release the cause of their shyness and replace it with beneficial patterns and habits.
Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) is a clinically proven method focused on changing the thinking and behavioral patterns associated with shyness. Essentially, it helps you change your behavior by first changing your thought patterns.
For instance, the therapist may ask an individual working on shyness to recount a specific scenario where they behaved shyly. They’d then discuss the thoughts leading to the patient’s feeling and acting shy. By analyzing these thought processes, the patient and therapist work together to build new, beneficial thought patterns.
Throughout each shyness therapy session, our CBT specialists teach participants to restructure their thought processes, helping them address and dismantle belief patterns related to their shyness. Gradually, these changing thought patterns manifest as a combination of healthier, more conscious thoughts and behaviors.
Isolation is a common side effect of shyness and shy behaviors because they make it challenging to build a healthy social life. Group therapy helps patients create a network of support and connect with others experiencing similar issues. It offers patients a sense of community and helps them break patterns leading to loneliness and depression.
Group therapy also provides a safe, comfortable setting for shy people to practice social skills. Members listen to each other, give and receive valuable insight, and gain support within a community of people that understand their experiences. Additionally, group activities and group learning help you build on and practice techniques for coping with your shyness.
Benefits of Shyness Therapy
Learned Coping Techniques
Our therapists work with you to develop and practice coping techniques specific to your problems during shyness therapy in NJ. These techniques help you recognize and process unhealthy behaviors (both internal and external), so you can redirect your thoughts and view situations more objectively. Coping skills help you overcome shyness through stress management. Less stress means less anxiety, which often helps alleviate shyness. With the proper coping techniques, you can learn to quickly analyze and process stressful situations, enabling you to tolerate them more effectively. If you’re able to process and let go of your stress in a given scenario, you’re less likely to cope by retreating and more likely to engage with those around you. The result is strengthened relationships and higher confidence.
Sometimes, shyness doesn’t come from fear or anxiety but from anger. While anger is commonly depicted as an explosive emotion, it can also manifest in a person shutting down and silently becoming mired in negative self-talk. Rather than fearing others’ judgment or feeling anxious about a social misunderstanding, individuals may become angry about feeling judged or ignored by others. Those prone to this type of shyness may feel easily insulted or embarrassed and that it’s unsafe to express themselves or be vulnerable with others. As a result, they retreat into anger and isolate themselves to soothe their emotional pain. Over time, self-isolation may lead to depression. We work with you to help you recognize the warning signs in your thoughts and behavior, so you can employ anger management techniques before becoming angry and self-isolating. Through proper anger management, you’ll learn how to recognize and express your vulnerabilities so you can seek the appropriate help.
Improved Confidence and Assertiveness
As you work through your shyness therapy plan, you’ll cultivate healthy thought processes designed to build feelings of self-worth and assertiveness. Improving self-confidence and developing a strong belief in self-advocacy are crucial for helping our clients achieve their mental health goals. Knowing you have the mental and emotional tools necessary to cope with shyness provides a sense of self-reliance. Rather than shutting down or seeking external validation, you’ll be able to give yourself the support and comfort you need to process the anxiety, anger, or fear that typically lead to shyness. As these skills become second nature, you’ll feel more confident in social situations, leading to a positive feedback loop. Feeling more confident leads to more positive social interactions, supporting your confidence. If you’re ready to get started with shyness therapy in NJ, call GATE today.
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