Excape from the pain of shyness
Why would anyone choose shyness rather than to be the life of the party, fun, friends, and plenty of excitement? Who wants the continuing pain of being so quiet no one knows you are around? Can anything be done to cure shyness?
Shyness, for its relatively powerful hold on people, is usually not a serious pathological problem. It is, like many other strategies used by the mind, a chosen method used to keep others away, or bring them closer, elicit sympathy, or avoid responsibility for participation in a distasteful activity. these secondary gains are at the unconscious level. If they occur in a work environment or armed services at the conscious level negatively affecting production, it may be malingering.
Shyness crosses the threshold into pathology when the victim chooses total isolation over interaction with others. It differs from agoraphobia, which is a fear of moving among others in society, or leaving what is perceived as the safety of the home..
It is not insanity, schizophrenia, or hearing voices, and "seeing things not there."That, is not to say that it does not exist along with pathological mental disorders like schizophrenia.
Total withdrawal into self-imposed isolation is schizotypal, it is pathological and considered serious, especially when present with another pathological disorder. That does not preclude society from ignoring the problem. Many live on the fringe of society begging for change and food. There is little evidence they are dangerous, and though ill, they are treated like criminals, thrown into cells with predators who prey on their inability to fight back.They come to the attention of authorities as a result of citizen complaints.
Does psychology create complex overlays of mental illness to describe simple "quirks" that harm no one? What the author describes here are aberrant conditions not seen usually. But that does not mean they are never seen. A doctor of psychology is no more looking to create illness than a Medical doctor. There are studies, nevertheless, that show multiple personality disorder has increased along with increasing numbers of psychiatrists that specialize in the disorder. In medicine more surgeons are being trained with a resultant increase in surgeries of all kinds. You guessed it,. Mortality rates rise with the new surgeons and number of surgeries being performed.
To return to shyness, it is treated by having the patient immerse into an activity that forces supportive criticism such as a speech class, soloist, or actor. The latter two may temporarily relive symptoms but a speech class is an amazingly therapeutic environment for change. there are large speech classes with every level of fear and reluctance to appear in front of others ready to recite a prepared speech.
The instructor impresses on students they are not alone, other students share their fear, in fact are not judging but supporting their efforts. Why? Because they fear judgement from peers and genuinely identify with the pain of the presenter. Participants are reminded that most of the students are not special. In fact, few will care about physical appearance of others, since they too are worrying about their own looks.
Performing before a theater audience will not cure shyness. Many performers report getting physically ill before a show and unable to get over the shakes well into act one. Even after 40 years similar fears engage actors.
A speech class typically will have students begin with a one minute presentation and work up through the semester to incrementally longer speeches.
hypnosis and brief counseling are available but the end results depend on the skills of the professional. Preferred would be a group situation so that participants benefit from shared experiences. Here again, outcome will depend on a group facilitators skill working with group dynamics as well as knowledge of the subject matter.
The cheapest way to overcome shyness is to take a speech class at a community college. results are more uniformly favorable than other methods. Some would argue that a mental health setting is more appropriate but the writer disagrees on the grounds that mental health resources are already thinly stretched and more appropriate in the treatment of pathology.
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