Where does social anxiety come from?

anxious spaces

I found this article by counselling psychologist Bill Ramer: What Social Anxiety Feels Like and Where It Comes From? His focus on family systems as a causative factor for social anxiety is important. It shifts away from the dominant medical and clinical discourses I come across every day when reading about social anxiety towards an understanding of how our environments and relationships play important roles in shaping mental health and responses to perceived threats.

Internal Mirror Image

Many of those who have taken part in the research say they feel unable to participate in the social world due to the fear of shame, guilt, judgement, humiliation and/or embarrassment that particular encounters can generate. Their lives are disrupted by anticipatory anxiety, anxiety manifesting as symptoms (‘body-events’) (Smith 2013), negative self evaluations and avoidance behaviours, discussed by Ramer. Some also recognise their family systems as integral to their social anxiety, these negative…

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