Social Anxiety Help is a founding regional clinic of the National Social Anxiety Center (NSAC):
I joined Larry’s Social Anxiety CBT Group in the Fall of 2017. At the time, I was struggling with moderate to severe social anxiety at work, within the family, and within my personal romantic and social life.
In the workplace, I would experience anxiety speaking up in meetings, leading meetings, dealing with conflict, speaking impromptu, giving presentations, and participating in networking and team building social activities. In these situations, I felt nervous, tense, self-conscious, and paralyzed by the fear that others would notice my anxiety and ridicule or think less of me.
I attempted to manage my anxiety by rehearsing answers, spending extra time overpreparing for meetings, and finding a range of excuses to avoid social events. I was seen as shy, anti-social, and unemotional, traits which did not represent me and labels which became very limiting for me as a corporate professional. I was disappointed in myself and felt that I was operating well below my potential. If I ever wanted to grow or advance in my career, I had to tackle my social anxiety.
In the family environment, I was a complete giver who sacrificed constantly and chose to please others to avoid conflict at any cost. I avoided parties, holiday parties, and every other invitation that came my way. I feared that asserting myself would erode my relationships and alienate cherished family and friends but this was really not helping me at all. I felt constantly drained and resentful that my needs were not met and that others did not reciprocate in implicitly understanding what I was too afraid to ask for directly.
Coupled with those experiences was my total avoidance of romantic relationships. I found it difficult to navigate the dating environment, often avoiding potential partners and cancelling dates when I couldn’t control my social anxiety. I fixated on all the things that would go wrong and avoided what I believed would be certain embarrassment as much as I could.
I say all this to say that my life was controlled, and severely limited, by social anxiety. I felt that I deserved a higher quality of life, and in my internet search for help, I found Larry’s Social Anxiety CBT Group. After 5 months of participating in weekly group sessions with seven other amazing people from all other the world, I got my life back! I moved forward in my job, started a consulting business, and may, just may, have found the one…we shall see (lol)!
I owe a great debt to Larry for the transformation that took place in my life. He is a patient counselor who takes the time to know each individual and offers unwavering support throughout the program. He understands the range of emotions that one may feel taking this step and offers a thoughtful and well executed process to face and overcome your fears. It changed my life.
31-year-old gay, white man
"I can just be me....
I moved forward. I took a risk, and the result has paid itself out so many times!"
33-year-old African American female
"I needed to present this facade of perfection.
I didn't want to be another stereotype.
For me, I was representing my entire race
at such a young age, at 14."
33-year-old married, white woman
Maryland, suburban DC
"I felt like I didn't really fit in with most people...
I felt like I was just bad at having conversations,
that I never knew what to say."
30-year-old African-American woman
"I was bullied by all of my classmates....
I am a good person. No one can ever make fun of that."
(audio & written)
27-year-old Hispanic woman
Maryland, suburban DC
(immigrant from Peru)
"People are finally starting to see me differently.
I'm pretty confident that there are going to be more great things along the way
that are still there for me to discover later.
Social anxiety therapy has really changed my life."
37-year-old white, male writer
Colombia, South America
(formerly of Washington, DC)
"I struggled with shyness and low self-esteem,
specifically with regard to my physical appearance and feelings of attractiveness."
44-year-old single, female nurse
"My life is different now.
I feel like I can be who I always was inside."
(audio and written)
56-year-old gay male, retired investment banker
"It is possible to find personal strength and happiness."
34-year-old Jewish man
Costa Rica, Central America
Maryland, suburban DC)
"I finally had the courage to do things I'd always hoped I'd be able to do"
33-year-old transgender, white woman
Maryland, suburban DC
"I fell into a core belief that
I'm fundamentally different and defective
and that I have nothing in common with
those I perceive to be 'normal.'"
26-year-old African American woman
"I was living too much in my head,
instead of being mindful and in the moment in social situations."
24-year-old gay man
"Did I fit in? Was I gay enough?"
29-year-old South Asian man
"Would people notice my nervousness?
Would I say something dumb?"
(National Public Radio audio broadcast)
57-year-old white lesbian
"Now it just seems like the experiments I did in the very beginning look so easy to me,
that I could do it without even thinking or without becoming at all nervous."
25-year-old white man
"Just having any person stopping by my cubicle at work
would bring feelings of trembling, blushing, sweating, and extreme tension."
If you have any questions or comments,
please email Larry Cohen, LICSW,
with offices in Washington, DC.