This video shows a virtual conversation between an AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Sebastiaan on a wide array of topics related to Social Anxiety.
Some of the topics covered were:
1. Why can you NOT get rid of Social Anxiety completely?
2. What is Exposure Therapy (aka “gradually facing my fears’)?
3. Is Exposure Therapy (and other Cognitive Behavioral Techniques) effective in treating Social Anxiety? If not, why not?
4. Does EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) work in Social Anxiety treatment? Is it possible to completely eliminate my Social Anxiety with EFT?
This video aims to educate you on what options you have in treating and managing your Social Anxiety.
By providing this information, we hope to empower you so you can start making well-informed decisions on how you can overcome your Social Anxiety completely.
Start getting more relief by getting our free ‘The 7 Secrets To Social Confidence’ Mini Course at
In this video, an AI Robot, aka ChatGTP is going to reveal how to overcome Social Anxiety Disorder completely.
Hey my name is Sebastiaan van der Schrier. I’m a former Social Anxiety Disorder sufferer and a Social Confidence Coach; and the host of the popular podcast show ‘Social Anxiety Solutions’.
Have you noticed that there is this AI robot called ChatGTP that you can have whole conversations with?
And it is almost like the wisest friend that you’ve ever met.
It can give you any answer that Google can give you, but 10 or a hundred times faster. And it’s like a real person! It’s unbelievable.
It’s some kind of a language model that’s been out for a month or several months. I discovered it about a month ago – started playing with it, and started asking it questions. I was just absolutely amazed at the answers that I was getting.
It was absolutely spectacular.
This is changing the world.
It’s really incredible.
Anyway, I asked it all sorts of psychological questions and got an amazing answer.
I’m like “WOW! How does this know this? This is spectacular”
Turns out that it is trained in Psychoanalytic theory, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), all of these different kinds of psychological modalities, and it is up to date to 2021! Right? Spectacular!
So, I decided to put it to the test, and start asking it some questions about the current state of Social Anxiety, and its treatment, as well as the solutions to it. What is possible, and how you can overcome Social Anxiety Disorder completely. And I think you’ll find the answers that you’re getting pretty darn, damn, spectacular (Okay, I was trying to keep it cool there…but let’s see).
So, I’ll ask it some provocative questions and stay until the end. This is going to rock your world.
Ready? Let’s go!
Now the robot gives long, elaborate answers and repeat certain things. And fot the sake of making this as interesting and concise as possible, I’ve only kept the text that is relevant for the conversation.
Here we go:
Question: Why can you not get rid of social anxiety completely?
AI: Social anxiety disorder is a chronic condition that can be managed, but it may not be possible to completely eliminate it. This is because the underlying causes of social anxiety disorder are complex and may involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other types of therapy can help individuals with social anxiety disorder to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors, but it may not be able to change the underlying cause of the disorder. Medication can also help to reduce symptoms but again it may not be able to eliminate the disorder completely.
Question: Why does my therapist say I have to gradually face my fears?
AI: Gradually facing your fears is a key component of exposure therapy, which is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that is often used to treat social anxiety disorder.
Exposure therapy works on the principle that by gradually exposing yourself to the situations or social interactions that trigger your anxiety, you can learn to manage your anxiety in real-life situations. This process is called desensitization. It will help you to gradually build up your tolerance to the things that make you anxious so that over time, they will no longer trigger such a strong response.
Question: You mean that even though you face your fears, the fear doesn’t go away completely?
AI: That’s correct. Even though exposure therapy or other forms of treatment can help to reduce the severity of your anxiety and improve your ability to manage it, the fear may not go away completely.
Question: Why might someone with social anxiety disorder have trouble with exposure therapy?
AI: Exposure therapy can be an effective treatment for social anxiety disorder, but it may not be appropriate or effective for everyone. Some people may have trouble with exposure therapy because they are unable to tolerate the level of anxiety that it can produce.
Other reasons why someone might have trouble with exposure therapy include:
- Trauma: It may trigger memories or feelings associated with the trauma.
- Co-occurring conditions: Social anxiety disorder often co-occurs with other mental health conditions, such as depression or PTSD, that can make exposure therapy more challenging.
- Uncomfortable: It may require the individual to confront their fears and anxieties in a direct way, which can be uncomfortable and difficult. It may be hard for some people to engage in the therapy.
- Not suitable for everyone: Exposure therapy may not be suitable for everyone, particularly for those who have severe symptoms of SAD or those who have co-occurring conditions, such as PTSD.
- Relapse: There is a risk of relapse after treatment is completed. This is why it’s important to continue working on managing symptoms even after treatment is complete.
- It may not work for everyone
- Exposure therapy may not be suitable for certain individuals: such as those who have severe symptoms of SAD or those who have co-occurring conditions, such as PTSD.
Question: Why is it not suitable for those with severe symptoms of SAD or PTSD?
AI: They may find it difficult to tolerate the level of anxiety that exposure therapy can produce, and they may not be able to engage in the therapy effectively. This can make it less effective and less beneficial for them.
Question: So, if you have severe SAD or PTSD and you do exposure therapy, it can get even be harmful? If so, how and why?
AI: It may not be appropriate or effective for everyone, especially those with severe symptoms. In some cases, exposure therapy may be harmful for individuals with severe SAD or PTSD. Because it can lead to an increase in symptoms such as overwhelming anxiety and panic attacks. Exposure therapy may be too intense for them to handle, and it may cause more distress than improvement. For individuals with PTSD, exposure therapy may trigger traumatic memories, and it may lead to an increase in symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and avoidance behaviors.
Additionally, exposure therapy may not be the best fit for people with severe SAD or PTSD because it might not address the underlying emotional and psychological causes of their conditions.
How amazing are these answers, right?
I mean, I continue. Here we go!
Question: OK. So, if exposure therapy doesn’t get rid of the fear completely, do other CBT approaches make it go away completely?
AI: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for social anxiety disorder, but it is not always possible for the fear to go away completely. However, CBT can help individuals to learn to manage their anxiety and reduce the severity of their symptoms.
Question: Sounds like CBT is focused on managing symptoms, rather than eliminating the root of the symptoms?
AI: Yes, that’s correct. CBT is focused on helping individuals to manage their symptoms of social anxiety disorder, rather than eliminating the underlying causes of the disorder.
Social anxiety disorder is a chronic condition that is thought to be caused by a combination of genetics and life experiences, and changing those underlying causes may be difficult or impossible.
Question: CBT sounds like a predominantly cognitive approach. But people with SA know their thoughts don’t make sense. Most of them know perfectly well that not every single person in the world is busy judging them, or that embarrassing themselves will lead to their life being over. They’re not stupid. But it’s the emotions connected to the thoughts that are the problem. It’s emotionalized thoughts that are the problem. Which are much harder to change, if it’s even possible. Someone who has the thought I’m not good enough’ might change their thinking and come up with counter examples. And they are coming up with all sorts of reasons for why they indeed are good enough. And then they feel some relief in the comfort of their own home. But as soon as they’re around certain people, or certain situations that trigger them, those negative emotions of insecurity, shame, self-doubt and so on will get triggered again. Because just changing your thoughts might reduce those feelings a bit, they don’t release them!
AI: It is true that for people with social anxiety disorder (SAD), it can be difficult to change the emotionalized thoughts that are the root of their anxiety. The negative emotions connected to these thoughts can be intense and can be triggered by certain people or situations. Changing thoughts alone might bring some relief, but it doesn’t necessarily release the negative emotions connected to them.
That is why CBT for SAD also includes exposure therapy.
Question: Right, but for most people with intense social anxiety exposure therapy is too scary, or too overwhelming. Or, can even make their symptoms worse. So, CBT’s changing of thoughts doesn’t release the emotions connected to the thoughts, and (exposure is) no options either. On top of that, many of them judge themselves for being weak and inferior that they cannot do these exposures that their therapists tell them is the only solution
AI: You are correct that for some people with intense social anxiety disorder (SAD), exposure therapy can be too overwhelming or even make their symptoms worse. Exposure therapy can be a challenging and difficult process for some individuals.
It’s also true that for some individuals with SAD, just changing their thoughts through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) alone may not be enough to release the negative emotions connected to those thoughts. This can lead to feelings of frustration, disappointment and self-judgment.
Question: Sounds like CBT or exposure therapy is more for people with milder forms of social anxiety?
AI: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are effective treatment options for social anxiety disorder (SAD) and are considered to be the most well-established and effective forms of treatment for SAD. However, it’s important to note that not all individuals with SAD may respond to these treatment options, and some people with more severe forms of SAD may not be able to tolerate exposure therapy.
For people with milder forms of SAD, CBT and exposure therapy can be effective in reducing symptoms and helping them to manage their anxiety in social situations. But for people with more severe forms of SAD, other treatment options may be needed.
Question: So, in summary, CBT and exposure therapy are the most well-established approaches. But CBT focuses on symptoms management. It doesn’t get rid of the causes of these symptoms. And social anxiety disorder is seen as a chronic condition that can be managed, but not overcome completely. It’s focused on helping people better deal with the social anxiety and improve their life quality. Because the changing of thoughts does not neutralize the emotions associated with the thoughts. And so, they still get triggered, but they instead think in more empowered ways. The fear is still there, but they think about it in better ways. To aid CBT in getting better results what is recommended is exposure therapy. But that’s too scary for a lot of people. Or gets them too anxious. Which results in them not doing it, and often judging themselves to be broken, or weak, or losers. Or, if they force themselves to face their fears, if they have severe social anxiety, it may even worsen their symptoms.
AI: In summary, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are the most well-established and effective forms of treatment for social anxiety disorder (SAD). However, it’s important to note that these treatments focus on managing symptoms and improving quality of life, rather than eliminating the root cause of the disorder. SAD is considered to be a chronic condition that can be managed, but not overcome completely.
CBT focuses on changing negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to anxiety, but it doesn’t necessarily neutralize the emotional associations that are connected with the thoughts. Exposure therapy is often used to help with desensitizing the individual to the situations or social interactions that triggers their anxiety and it is considered to be an important component of CBT, but for some people with severe SAD, exposure therapy can be too overwhelming and may worsen their symptoms.
So, in other words, some people are just completely stuck and are maybe even worse off.
That’s also what happened for me.
I did those exposures, I tried changing my thoughts, and it just wouldn’t improve. And as a result, I was fearing that I was broken, that I was the toughest case that there was no hope for me and that I would have to live with my Social Anxiety for the rest of my life.
And I didn’t have social anxiety until I was 11 or 12. And so that was unacceptable. I’m like there must be a solution. And I kept searching and searching. Eventually I found EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). And that’s what I’m going to ask the robot about, now.
Question: How about EFT for social anxiety?
AI: There are some studies that have found EFT to be effective in reducing symptoms of SAD. However, the research on EFT as a treatment for SAD is still limited and more studies are needed to confirm its effectiveness.
Question: And the big benefit of EFT is that it doesn’t just focus on managing the symptoms. Contrary to CBT and exposure therapy, EFT also (predominantly) focuses on neutralizing the causes of the symptoms.
AI: While it’s true that EFT focuses on neutralizing the underlying causes of symptoms, it’s important to note that the research on EFT is still in its early stages, and more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness and to determine how it compares to other forms of treatment.
Here’s a little interlude for me again, and this is part of what pisses me off.
That’s the general idea, but that’s not true. There’s lots of solid science, which I’m now going to get into. Here we go:
Question: My understanding is that there are 102 scientific studies backing up EFT’s effectiveness. There are 5 META studies that have been done, all showing large affect sizes. And I believe a META study is the highest standard of research, even above randomized controlled trials. Most of psychotherapy only has 1 META study done. So, it’s in the top 10% of most researched psychotherapy techniques.
There is a META study done for EFT on depression, a META study done for EFT for anxiety, and a META study done for EFT on PTSD. All showing very large affect sizes. Proving that EFT is effective for them.
So, there is strong scientific support for the claim that EFT tapping works. This support comes from more than 100 peer-reviewed clinical studies.
EFT Tapping has a number of systematic reviews, meta-analyses and randomized controlled trials (RCT’s). A significant number have been published in reputable, mainstream scientific journals. The strongest evidence for EFT tapping’s effectiveness is for PTSD, depression and anxiety.
AI: It is true that there is a growing body of research on the effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), including a number of meta-analyses that have been conducted. These studies have found that EFT can be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and that it can be as effective as other forms of treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication. Meta-analyses are considered to be a high standard of research, as they provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of research on a particular topic.
It is true that EFT Tapping has a number of systematic reviews, meta-analyses and randomized controlled trials (RCT’s) and a significant number have been published in reputable, mainstream scientific journals. The strongest evidence for EFT tapping’s effectiveness is for PTSD, depression and anxiety.
Question: Isn’t it the case that there is a significant lack of therapists specialized in dealing with social anxiety? And, isn’t that because the results are disappointing? And it’s a real struggle to help someone overcome SA with CBT and exposure therapy? (A bit provocative, but here we go)
AI: It is true that there is a shortage of mental health professionals who specialize in treating social anxiety disorder (SAD). This can make it difficult for individuals with SAD to find a therapist who is experienced in treating this condition. However, it’s not necessarily because the results are disappointing, but rather it’s a complex condition that requires a specialized skill set and not all therapists have the expertise and experience to treat it.
It’s important to note that these treatments focus on managing symptoms and improving quality of life, rather than eliminating the root cause of the disorder. SAD is considered to be a chronic condition that can be managed, but not overcome completely.
Alright, little interlude.
And that is what I completely disagree with. That’s part of why I’m putting out this video and I’m so excited to have this conversation with this robot. I’ve been wanting to have this conversation for the longest time. So, this is this is exciting.
Anyway, let’s continue. Now we’re on to solutions.
Question: Someone might have had a traumatic memory of where he was ridiculed in front of the class. Here the meaning he might have made was ‘people are out to get me’. According to Dr Robert Scaer, one of the world’s leading trauma researchers, traumatic memory does not get fully processed and is stored in procedural, active memory. The memory of trauma is added to the amygdala’s “library” of threatening experiences. And it’s “stored” there, and your amygdala uses these traumatic memories to compare them with present-day life experiences. When the amygdala perceives a current-day social situation as similar to a traumatic one, so iow, when it perceives a threat through the learned beliefs, it rings the alarm bell: aka it fires off the fight, flight, freeze response. This sets off a cascade of responses, like heart racing, pupils dilating, focusing on the worst-case scenario, and so on, all of the known symptoms that are labeled as ‘anxiety.
One of the key things you do during EFT treatment is to uncover the traumatic memories that cause or contribute to the social anxiety problem. There certainly isn’t always an obvious specific trauma that kickstarts social anxiety. Often it is relational trauma, too. And in most cases a combination. But if there is a specific trauma related to a particular social fear, and there nearly always is, EFT neutralizes the emotions connected to this memory. Often in less than an hour. And it uncovers the meaning that was made at the time, which formed a belief, and neutralizes its associated emotions. With the trauma fully processed, your amygdala no longer has to warn you away from it, because the emotional pain is no longer there, and the associated meaning is dissolved. This can lead to actually completely getting rid of fear and anxiety in a specific social situation. Rather than just managing the anxiety by thinking about it better. Hence, EFT is a very viable option to neutralize social anxiety.
AI: You are correct that traumatic memories can play a significant role in the development of social anxiety disorder (SAD). According to Dr. Robert Scaer, a traumatic memory is not fully processed and is stored in procedural, active memory, which can lead to the amygdala perceiving current-day social situations as similar to a traumatic one and activating the fight, flight, or freeze response, resulting in symptoms of anxiety.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a type of energy psychology that aims to neutralize the emotional impact of traumatic memories and beliefs that contribute to SAD. By tapping on specific points on the body while focusing on a traumatic memory or belief, EFT aims to release the emotional charge connected to the memory, which can lead to reducing or eliminating the associated anxiety.
EFT can be a viable option for neutralizing social anxiety, and it’s essential to work with a qualified EFT practitioner who has experience in treating SAD.
Question: So, let me get this straight:
1. Social Anxiety is the result of an activation of the fight, flight, freeze response.
2. This FFF response gets activated as a result of the amygdala perceiving threat (i.e., the threat of rejection)
3. That perception is governed by beliefs (emotionalized thoughts)
4. EFT can neutralize these emotionalized thoughts/beliefs…
5. By using EFT to neutralize the beliefs responsible for the perception of threat…
6. There no longer is that perception of threat
7. No perception of threat = no FFF activation = no Social anxiety
AI: That is a summary of how EFT can be used to help with social anxiety disorder (SAD).
- Social anxiety is a result of the fight, flight, freeze response getting activated in response to perceived social threat.
- The amygdala, a part of the brain that is responsible for detecting threats, perceives the social threat based on learned beliefs and past experiences.
- These beliefs, also known as emotionalized thoughts, can be deeply ingrained and are often formed from past traumatic experiences.
- EFT aims to neutralize the emotional impact of these traumatic memories and beliefs that contribute to SAD by tapping on specific points on the body while focusing on a traumatic memory or belief.
- By neutralizing the emotional charge connected to these memories, EFT aims to reduce or eliminate the associated anxiety
- With the emotional pain neutralized, the associated belief is dissolved, the amygdala no longer perceives the social situation as a threat.
- With no perception of threat, the fight, flight, freeze response is not activated, resulting in a reduction or elimination of social anxiety symptoms.
Alright, I hope this message inspires you to get rid of your social anxiety it once and for all, and I just want to say, just because tapping can do that, doesn’t mean you’re going to get rid of your social anxiety just like that. It’s still a challenging issue. But it is such a world of difference when you actually have a technique with which you can neutralize the negative emotions, the excessive negative emotions that is, and you can process emotionalize thoughts and beliefs that cause the perception of threat.
Meaning you actually have the tools to systematically chip away at the layers of social anxiety, so that it begins to shrink and shrink and shrink and shrink, and you get triggered less frequently, the anxiety stays around for less long, and it becomes less and less and less intense. Because your natural state, even if you’ve had social anxiety for your whole life, you’re not born socially anxious, little babies do not have social anxiety.
So even if you’ve had it for a long time, your natural state is one of ease where you’re comfortable, where you enjoy connecting with others.
And whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, it doesn’t matter and how long you’ve been suffering doesn’t matter.
You can make progress; you can get better.
And it’s amazing what can happen when you start applying EFT.
Now I am all for a update of social anxiety treatment worldwide, where we merge the best of traditional psychology with energy psychology. And energy psychology is an umbrella term – it can be seen as an umbrella. And one of the spokes in the umbrella is EFT. But there are other amazing techniques. I just don’t talk much about them because there’s not as much scientific evidence for it as there is for EFT.
I’ve been coaching people with social anxiety disorder since 2009. Using tapping, and I talk more about tapping, because there’s so much evidence of it. It is such an exciting thing, when we actually have a technique that is so simple as just this. I know it looks silly, but I used it to overcome my own social anxiety. And I’ve managed to help lots of authors do the same.
You can see video testimonials on my YouTube channel.
I hope this really inspires you.
So learn about tapping, learn how to apply to overcome social anxiety disorder.
And I have a mini course called the seven secrets to social confidence in which I teach you about EFT what it is, how to apply it, what to do when it doesn’t work. And I give you a big picture overview of how to overcome your social anxiety completely and I talk about the three main keys to effortless social ease, which is your natural state and you don’t have to change into somebody else. You’re becoming your most natural authentic self.
So to get that go to bit.ly/socialconfidencenow.
All right, hope this inspires you. Please share this video. far and wide.
Okay, it’s time to open up this conversation. This is Sebastiaan from www.social-anxiety-solutions.com
Cheers to your social confidence. Bye for now.
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