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Do you ever have butterflies before giving a speech or feel uncomfortable entering a room full of strangers? Everyone has at least a brush with social or performance anxiety. But for more than 20 million Americans -- men, women, and children from all walks of life -- these problems are an everyday occurrence, often depriving them of success and happiness.
Using dozens of cases like these, Drs. Schneier and Welkowitz illustrate the many puzzling forms of social anxiety and the experiences that trigger it. In addition they offer several simple "self-tests" to help you measure your own level of social anxiety -- and provide an easy-to-follow self-help program that will enable you to overcome it at a speed and in a manner comfortable for you. The book also includes information on state-of-the-art psychotherapy and medical treatments and where to find them, as well as guidance for parents of shy children. Whether you live in terror of embarrassment or are just occasionally shy The Hidden Face of Shyness can help you face people with confidence.
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Shyness only begins to cover the range of social anxieties and social phobias covered by Schneier, assistant director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Welkowitz, a research psychologist also at the institute. There are fears of eating in public and of public bathrooms as well as fears of public speaking, dating, talking to the boss. There's probably more here than the average shy person looking for help wants, as about two thirds of the book is about the factors underlying shyness: biology, evolution, socialization, culture, sociology, psychology and so forth. There is also a chapter composed of tests that, while of excellent provenance, strangely make no distinctions between different sorts of social anxiety. The practical chapters that follow are worthwhile, especially when they stick to solid medical advice or therapy; social advice such as encouraging the wallflower to use "seemingly corny" openers?for example, "Have I seen you somewhere before?" and "Come here often?"?is less so. In a system that prods readers to set specific, realistic goals each week and plot out how to attain them, the authors encourage exposure to unnerving situations and the developing of positive responses to replace (usually unacknowledged) negative ones. Also helpful is concrete advice to parents of shy children and a rundown of the effects and side effects of beta-blockers, benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium), SSRIs (e.g., Prozac) and MAOIs (e.g., Nardil).
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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