Ask an expert

31 Mar 2006

Stuck in my little comfort zone
Hi doc.

I saw a hypnotherapist about social phobia. At the moment i am just on anti-depressants for the anxiety and OCD that accompanies the phobia.

I have dreams of becoming a journalist but am an absolute mess when it comes to public speaking and dealing with strangers one-on-one. Am easily intimidated by people (particularly when they are good-looking because i am not). I'm 21 and i'm too scared to drive or go for my driver's licence test because I don't trust myself - i humiliate myself by doing the most blonde things. Am also too scared to start working - my only job has been as a waitress and i lasted 3 days because it was so difficult for me to feel vulnerable. (i'm not a fast learner and snotty customers are horrid). It's a bad cycle - the more i avoid my fears the more useless i feel.

How can i start getting involved in my life while keeping my sanity and dignity? (I don't want to see a therapist anymore bcoz i just complained - didn't change anything)

Answer 339 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi Sonja,
Sounds more like a iscomfort ZOne ! I think national mental health could be greatly improved if all "hypnotherapists" stopped practising altogether.
The medications you are on will probably help the social phobia --- Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy is the only other method that has been shown to be useful. The number of good research studies showing hypnotherapy to be genuinely useful could be counted on the fingers --- of one finger. If that. And your description hardly suggests that it helped you at all.
So you'd like to be a journalist --- OK. It rarely involves public speaking, though of course it MIGHt involve interviewing people. But most people find that when you have a role to play and a job to do --- when you're not S talking to X, but reporter S interviewing X about something, there's nothing to feel shy about. CBT could also help you to increas your self-confidence. You're so right about the vicious cycle we so easily get into, in which, as we avoid the things or situations we fear, this avoidance making us more fearful.
What you need is to see a GENUINE, ACTUAL therapist, using a genuine and proven technique. You haven't seen a properly qualified and trained therapist yet. There is no officially recognized qualification in "hypnotherapy", and few who practise it seem to have enough training in medicine, psychology and psychiatry, to be able to handle such problems properly. They have one single little tool in their tool-chest --- and, like the man who has nothing available but a hammer, to them everything looks like a nail, and they hit it.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
33% - 9363 votes
67% - 19336 votes