Shyness is a very common difficulty, and in social anxiety, can progress to the point where we feel incapacitated by it e.g., when being interviewed, when giving a presentation or in conducting a business meeting, having to attend parties or other social gatherings etc. These can result in acute anxiety and panic attacks are common as well.
This is usually linked to fear of negative evaluation by others and a form of inner running commentary or ‘mind reading’ can occur e.g., we may think others are ridiculing us, deriding or sneering at us, resulting in acute anxiety. We also self focus i.e., we may imagine we look ridiculous in some way, or that we sound strange. This self-focus heightens our anxiety and undermines our confidence. Treatment using CBT is usually short term and successful. We believe, however, that underlying maintaining causes, such as bullying, may need to be addressed in order for people to gain understanding and to learn additional methods to address maintaining factors, to support a more long term recovery.