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CBT Tools for Social Anxiety

Getting to know your inner critic

Do you feel uncomfortable in social interactions? In this blog post, we will explore cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) tools to work through anxious thoughts that fuel your social anxiety.

We all have an inner voice that sometimes judges or criticizes us. This voice can wreak havoc on our self-esteem.

The inner critic may cause us to be on guard for things that could go wrong, and lead us to believe that we will not be able to cope in social interactions.

What types of negative predictions is your inner critic making? What types of negative beliefs does it have about you? Asking these questions is a crucial step in getting to know your inner critic.

By becoming acquainted with our inner critic, we can begin taking steps toward choosing a different inner voice, one that is kind and compassionate.

Get specific

Anxiety is often vague and lacks specificity. One of the most effective things we can is to get specific. To try this out, ask yourself “What’s the worst that can happen?”, “What exactly do I think I will do?, and “Who do I expect is going to judge me?”. When we verbalize our worries, it often lessens their power over us, and opens the door to challenging them.

Heading out into the world

An important part of working through social anxiety is to step out of our comfort zone. We want to approach situations that anxiety has prevented us from entering into, however, we want to be mindful about not entering fear inducing situations just for the sake of “proving yourself”.

Rather, we want to begin approaching situations that we have always wanted to but anxiety has held us back from.

A therapist can support you to begin setting goals that are meaningful to you, and help you to explore feelings of anticipatory anxiety and the overthinking and judgement you feel afterwards.


Hannah Peirce

For further reading on the topic, I highly recommend: "How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety” by Ellen Hendriksen

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