Social Anxiety Disorder Coping Finding Social Anxiety Support Groups By Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." Learn about our editorial process Updated on July 19, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief Print Social anxiety support groups are dedicated to bringing together people with similar problems to talk and learn from each other's experiences. If you are considering joining a support group for social anxiety disorder (SAD), it is important to find a group with members who also suffer from SAD. Members of support groups specifically targeted at social anxiety are more likely to be understanding of how difficult it may be for you to talk openly. Often groups operate in such a manner that participants are not required to talk and may observe. This is helpful if you want to learn more about a group before deciding if you will become a regular member. Below are some options for both local and online social anxiety support groups. Follow the links to find a local meetup near you, or join a larger global network in which you have the chance to meet people from various locations. 1 ADAA List of Support Groups Martin Barraud / Getty Images The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) provides a comprehensive list of both community and online support groups for a variety of anxiety disorders in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, and Australia. If you are looking for a support group in your local area, this might be a good place to start. Be sure to look for listings specific to social anxiety when choosing a support group. If you can't find a group in your area, the ADAA also provides advice about how to start a support group. 2 SAS List of Social Anxiety and Social Phobia Support Groups The Social Anxiety Support Center provides a list of social anxiety and social phobia support groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, India, and Ireland. In addition, this interactive site allows users to rate support groups and provide feedback about their experiences. These groups provide social support to individuals with social anxiety and are not aimed at offering therapy or treatment. Specific groups vary in their structure, meeting in a regular place at a regular time, or following a more fluid arrangement. The key is time spent with others who live with the same symptoms to gain friendship and understanding from people with similar experiences. If you are living with severe social anxiety, it is suggested you pursue treatment before joining a social group. 3 Social Anxiety Anonymous/Social Phobics Anonymous Free 12-Step Support Groups Social Anxiety Anonymous/Social Phobics Anonymous offers free 12-step support groups to overcome social anxiety disorder, shyness, avoidant personality disorder, and paruresis (fear of using public restrooms). Both local community face-to-face groups and international telephone conference groups are available. The organization claims that participation in the 12-step support groups offers the missing ingredient to make self-help for social anxiety work. In addition, they offer free pamphlets and a book to help overcome social anxiety disorder. Some of the principles covered in the 12 steps include the importance of spirituality in all its forms, letting go of control, taking a larger view, honoring and being true to yourself, manifesting outward and inward love in a balanced manner, faith, trust, and being present. 4 Social Anxiety Support Chat Social Anxiety Support Chat was started in 2007 to provide SAD sufferers with a place to chat openly and learn from each other. The chats are not supervised by anyone with professional training and are designed solely to allow people with social anxiety disorder to connect. Visitors come from all over the world including countries such as Australia, Canada, Ecuador, Great Britain, India, Israel, Singapore, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States. 5 Toronto Shyness and Social Anxiety Support Group Started in 2002, this Meetup group gathers every Sunday from 3:00–4:30 p.m. at 519 Church Street Community Centre in Toronto. The group begins with mindfulness meditation and then leads into a discussion of social anxiety. Individuals are not pressured to participate—it is possible to merely observe. Small donations are accepted at the end of meetings. Bringing a snack for the group to share is also encouraged. After meetings, it is said many group members go to the Golden Griddle to socialize, where they receive a 10 percent discount on food orders. 6 Social Anxiety Meetups Meetup.com offers this link as a gateway to groups related to social anxiety that may be having meetups near you. As with any group, ensure that other members are specifically dealing with social anxiety—otherwise, you may find yourself feeling out of place or misunderstood. Also, be sure to tell someone where you are going and check-in regularly, particularly if you feel anxious about meeting with strangers. Better yet, consider bringing someone along with you to a meetup. A Word From Verywell If you are considering attending a social anxiety support group, first consider the level of your symptoms and what you hope to gain from the group. While support groups are an excellent source of understanding and friendship, they are not designed as a substitute for treatment. If you are still early in your journey in overcoming social anxiety, you may wish to wait, or just go and observe until your symptoms have lessened. The Best Online Therapy Programs We've tried, tested and written unbiased reviews of the best online therapy programs including Talkspace, Betterhelp, and Regain. 6 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Support Groups. Silver Spring, Md.: Anxiety and Depression Association of America 2010-2018 https://adaa.org/supportgroups Social Anxiety Support Center. Services Overview. Emeryville, Ca.: Social Anxiety Support Center 2020 https://www.socialanxietysupportcenter.com/services Social Anxiety Anonymous. Program of Recovery. Social Anxiety Anonymous/Social Phobics Anonymous 2020 https://socialanxietyanonymous.wordpress.com/ Social Anxiety Support Chat. Log-in. firstname.lastname@example.org: Social Anxiety Support Chat 2020 http://www.socialanxietysupportchat.com/login Meetup. Toronto Shyness and Social Anxiety Support Group. We Work Companies Inc. Meetup.com 2020 https://www.meetup.com/toronto-shyness-social-phobia/ Meetup. Social Anxiety. We Work Companies Inc. Meetup.com 2020 https://www.meetup.com/topics/social-anxiety/ By Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." 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