Chris Drummond has more than 25 years of experience in the helping field, and she has been offering counselling services to individuals, couples, families and youth in Powell River for the past six years.
Starting in February, Chris is offering two 8-week programs, one group for Anxiety and one group for Depression. All groups will take place during the evening to accommodate daytime work schedules.
Joel has struggled with being in social settings for most of his life, and he has always been very self-conscious and he turns red and sweats if he has to speak to others. The more he thinks that people notice that he is flushed and his face is red, the redder his face would get. Joel felt like he was like a light bulb, burning brightly whenever someone looked at him.
Joel has learned to tolerate his condition and find ways of getting around the worst of it, until recently when he wanted to interview for a new job. Although Joel was good at his work as an engineer, he though he would not get this new job if the interviewer noticed he was sweating and turning red.
Joel is typical of many people with Social Anxiety Disorder – he had been a shy child, he shied away from playing sports and he did not want to stray far from home. Joel was good at school and had one or two friends but not many acquaintances. His parents worried about his shyness and sent him to summer camp after the sixth grade. For three weeks, Joel was teased by his peers and he began stammering, turning red, and never for a moment being ignored when he blushed, which he did constantly because he did not know anyone at the camp. Any encounter with a new person and Joel would turn red. After returning from summer camp, Joel vowed never to put himself in that kind of situation again.
Sadly, the same type of situation struck in high school, when he was required to take a speech class. When he stood up in front of the class to speak he felt frozen. His legs trembled, his voice shook, and he worked his way through the required 3-minute speech in only 45 seconds. Joel felt traumatized by his having to do public speaking and being looked at by his peers was terrifying to him. As he got older, his shyness became a stumbling block to dating. As a young adult it was very difficult for Joel to meet women, because of his social anxiety condition.
Joel found it challenging to go out to a restaurant for a meal because the thought of turning red in public was terrifying for him, and what finally brought him to therapy was his desire to overcome his debilitating social anxiety as it was greatly interfering with his ability to live a normal life. The powerful drive to avoid anxiety that had held Joel back for many years, was also preventing him from enjoying new experiences.
The treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder addresses three areas:
- An individual’s faulty thoughts and beliefs and correcting cognitive errors as well as changing faulty beliefs;
- Eliminating or reducing reactivity to the environment, especially to the faces of other people through learning relaxation and how to manage physiological responses such as shaking, voice tremors, freezing up, etc.; and
- Identify an individual’s avoidance behaviours and eliminate them and learn a variety of social skills.
The upcoming Anxiety Workshop starting Tuesday, February 16th will provide participants with a variety of helpful skills. For more information, call Chris at 604-483-6337.