Karen Goodall-Smith Karen Goodall-Smith

Symptom management/Coping strategies in social settings

We all have times when we need to manage our anxiety or other psychological symptoms in social settings or in public. It may be at a wedding, social gatherings, doing a speech, in the workplace or somewhere else. You may need to calm your nerves, prevent blushing, or prevent the voice or hands from shaking. It is better to be prepared, than to have to deal with the symptoms before they arise, rather than when we already feel that we are in the spotlight.

Relaxation, hypnotherapy and other anxiety management techniques

Learning breathing techniques and practicing relaxation or meditation with guided imagery can help reduce stress and anxiety. These therapy techniques can be taught as a stress management tool in whatever environment you are in when anxiety strikes. Problems become more manageable and a sense of personal control is re-established.

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Pain Management

Chronic pain can affect you in the workplace, in social situations and at home. Learning to understand pain, monitoring it and then learning how to pace activities is a priority for chronic pain sufferers. Psychological treatment should be provided in addition to physical treatments such as physiotherapy, medication and surgery.

If you are unable to do things you used to do, the inability to cope can become a vicious cycle. Feelings of hopelessness and wanting to escape can make the situation even worse.

Anxiety and depression can increase sensitivity to pain and may even impair your potential to get maximum benefit from physical treatments such as physiotherapy, surgery, and even medical treatment. A person learns how to manage their pain and to adjust their mindset in dealing with the pain. These strategies will result in you being happier and more well-adjusted.

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Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression can affect the ability to function in all areas of a person's private and work life. A lack of motivation and drive, sleep problems, a feeling of helplessness and social withdrawal are all features of depression. Anxiety is often associated with depression and will magnify any problems.

It is vital to treat depression so that aspects of a person's life don't fall apart. At stake are the person's relationships, and adequate performance at work. In some cases, there may be a suicide risk. Medication in addition to psychological treatment is sometimes required.

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How to cope with bullying

No one wants a situation where you are feeling bullied. Bullying can happen in the school ground, at work or even at home with siblings or your own partner.

You can learn how to stand up for yourself instead of being an ongoing target or victim. You can't control what others say or do, but you can learn to control how you want to address a situation or deal with it.

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Trauma and PTSD

Work accidents, car accidents and health conditions can cause psychological trauma. Post traumatic stress disorder (TSD) can result in flashbacks, irritability, anger and heightened sensitivity to whatever is happening around you.

Understanding the symptoms of PTSD is vital for the individual and all those around him or her. Hyper-vigilence can cause fear and paranoia, irritability and anger, lack of apparent tolerance for a variety of issues and sounds, problems sleeping and so forth. Other symptoms include flashbacks and nightmares along with disrupted sleep. The event may intrude into a person’s awareness any time any day without warning and with many of the feelings of fear and anxiety initially experienced at the time of the incident.Other symptoms may include social withdrawal, avoidance of certain situations and a sense of numbing.

PTSD can be dealt with effectively using a variety of psychological techniques including EMDR, desensitisation techniques, exposure and anxiety reduction strategies. Where there is complex trauma, it may take more time. Experience and training to deal with PTSD is required. Without adequate treatment, PTSD can continue to dominate a person’s functioning for many years.

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Confidence and Self-Esteem

Even if you may be very successful, you may never feel successful. There may be a feeling that someone will eventually discover that you are not as good as they thought, and you will be 'found out' and exposed for 'what you really are'. This is called the 'imposter syndrome'.

A lack of confidence and self-esteem may or may not result in self-sabotaging behaviour and anxiety. A person may have panic attacks or fear asserting themselves, or have a fear of public speaking. Sometimes the imposter syndrome comes from childhood experiences or abusive relationships. It results from a deep lack of belief in yourself, and self talk which confirms that you 'aren't good enough'. Psychological treatment aims to determine where this is coming from and seeks to turn the feeling around.

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Social Anxiety

Social anxiety can be debilitating. It may result in a person becoming isolated and avoiding social gatherings, being unable to speak in groups, it can involve a phobic reaction to speaking on the telephone or even texting. It can affect meeting a potential partner, because of feeling socially awquard and fesoar of rejection. Avoidance is the key aspect to social anxiety.

Communication skills, testing comfort zones, changing thought patterns and unrealistic self-expectations can all help to overcome social anxiety. Practicing new ways of approaching feared situations within the session is useful and not being so hard on yourself can also help. CBT techniques, anxiety management and stress reduction will go a long way to improving the situation.

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