I have developed anxiety around my forays into the public. As a child I withdrew from social situations because I couldn’t tolerate my sexual thoughts. This stunted my social development. Now, as an adult trying to correct the problem I feel that I am under extra scrutiny by others. How important is it for me to have a therapist who specializes in social anxiety disorder?
Specialization is important to the extent that it is necessary and I am not certain it is necessary in this case. Social anxiety is a common problem that all therapists should know how to treat. Some will be better than others. Ultimately, you’ll want a therapist with a good track record of solving problems, social anxiety or otherwise. Competence is what matters the most.
When choosing a therapist, I always recommend calling four or five and interviewing them over the phone. Ask them specific questions about how they would help you.
You also want practical questions involving insurance plans, how many sessions do they think you would need, etc. Schedule an in-person meeting, with the therapist who you “click” with over the phone. They will likely be your best choice. You might also ask your primary care physician for a referral.
Finally, I wish to commend you on your help-seeking efforts. One should never allow solvable issues to infringe upon their life. Being open to treatment is a great start. Good luck and please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle