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My 25 year old daughter has Social Anxiety but I can’t get her to go to therapy

Asked By: Anonymous     Views: 1,328 times

My daughter has struggled with anxiety most of her life.  She was a shy child and it was hard for her to make friends.  She still suffers to this day in that area.  We have a very close relationship and she has admitted she needs to get help with this but never does.  I would like to know if you have any suggestions to get my daughter to seek the help she desperately needs.

You are describing an issue which is very common and a dynamic which baffles the mental health community in general. While there are many manifestations of social anxiety including public speaking anxiety, selective mutism, school phobia, fear of being noticeably nervous as in blushing and sweating (erythraphobia and hyper-hidrosis), performance anxiety, pervasive social avoidance, and more, there are two basic types of individuals who have the problem. One is the person with “initiative”. The other is the individual without “initiative”. Initiative does not mean ability. It means the motivation to start up; the motivation to heal. Think of your daughter’s avoidance as a compulsion or addiction. Very sadly, her overwhelming drive is to avoid getting out of her comfort zone. The anxiety and its’ related avoidance and over-dependence is very ingrained and is becoming more ingrained! You have 2 basic choices. Let the situation be which is enabling, or learn how to facilitate healing. “But my daughter is 25. She’s an adult” you might say”. I can assure you that at age 25 your daughter will not grow out of the problem. Ask yourself; “what is my daughter’s emotional age?” Given your daughter’s over-dependence on you, you have the power to influence or empower. You, the parent need to take action! This requires parents learning to be on the same team, developing a non-enabling strategy, and managing your own anxiety as you negotiate the empowering process. For guidance on this issue, in a self-help format, I suggest you get the DVD “Social Anxiety: The Untold Story”, or the book “Beyond Shyness”.  In addition there are relevant patient interviews on our Clinical Interviews page.  In a case like this, if treatment is initiated the starting point is with parents given the insidious and complex nature of the avoidance-dependence dynamic.

The following is part of a collection of questions and sharing by our readership community about a wide variety of aspects of social anxiety. Dive in and receive practical insights and advice. If you have a question that is not included you can contact Jonathan at jberent@socialanxiety.com.

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