Text therapy has emerged as a promising new therapeutic method for offering mental health support to people these days. Social anxiety is a challenging condition where people experience hardship in dealing with various social situations, and in such cases, it becomes even harder for the sufferers to approach a doctor for treatment. Text therapy plays a crucial role here. Let’s delve into the efficacy of text therapy for supporting individuals with social anxiety.
A Brief Note on Social Anxiety
It has been estimated that about 12.1% of Americans are diagnosed with social anxiety, accounting for more than 40 million adults.(1) Social anxiety is a condition in which the patient feels extreme shyness and difficulty in social situations. Some other symptoms of this mental health condition include intense worry about being judged, watched, or humiliated, trouble making direct eye contact, difficulty speaking in front of other people, difficulty in focusing and concentrating when interacting with people in social settings, and so on. Social anxiety is a genuine and serious mental health issue that needs appropriate medical attention. Though various treatment forms for social anxiety are available, patients with this disorder usually find it hard to meet a mental health professional and discuss their problems.
Text Therapy for Supporting Individuals with Social Anxiety
Text therapy has gained popularity in recent years, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic period. Since then, many people have increasingly turned to their phones for support. Thus, text therapy has been in action in supporting individuals with social anxiety and many other mental health issues.
Preliminary research has found that text therapy can be an effective means to get excellent mental health support. A study conducted in 2020 has shown that individuals surviving anxiety or depression experienced fewer symptoms after undergoing text-based therapy.(2)
Such a process of text therapy for supporting individuals with social anxiety can benefit people who do not want to take treatment in-person and they feel less anxious.
The New Study “Text Message Safety Behavior Reduction For Social Anxiety
A recent study titled, “Text Message Safety Behavior Reduction for Social Anxiety” has suggested promising results for texting-based treatments for social anxiety.(3)
Safety behaviors are the behaviors that individuals with social anxiety have and that are designed to make them feel safe, however, they end up perpetuating the condition. For instance, just avoiding social situations might seem to ease feelings of anxiety, however, it ultimately reinforces perceptions of various social situations as threatening.
According to the study, it has been explained that such ‘safety behaviors” can play a major role in maintaining social anxiety. So, in the new text message intervention, the team of researchers decided to send individuals suffering from social anxiety, text reminders not to engage in safety behaviors. This specific intervention involved receiving sixteen such text reminder messages for a month.
In a sample that included 94 participants, the researchers compared the effect of the texting intervention to two other treatments: no intervention at all, and an intervention where individuals received text message reminders to focus on the present moment.
It was found that both the reminders, the reminder to avoid safety behaviors, and the reminder to live or focus on the present moment were linked with a reduction in the symptoms of social anxiety after one month. But, individuals who received the safety behavior reminders, had the least symptoms of all the three groups.
This specific study highlights how text-based treatments, unlike traditional methods, can be delivered at more frequent intervals and also during people’s daily lives. Thus, text therapy could help people to come over their symptoms of social anxiety in a better way.
Some Popular Providers of Text Therapy for Supporting Individuals with Social Anxiety
Below is a list of some of the popular providers of text therapy.
This is one of the first companies to provide text-based therapy. This provider offers text therapy alone and also alongside live video sessions. Talkspace’s text therapy plans include asynchronous and live messaging options and users can choose their plans based on their preferences. The best thing about this is the flexibility of these messaging options and also the quick response that people get from the therapists.
Brightside is one more online text therapy-providing company that is known for its excellent support to individuals with social anxiety and other mental health conditions. Brightside particularly focuses on treating people through text and live video therapy. The personalized care plans, in-depth, self-paced assignments, and unlimited messaging support that Brightside offers to people make it stand out from the crowd.
If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, it’s important to get help immediately, but sometimes you may not feel like you can speak to someone directly in such a moment. That’s why we believe Crisis Text Line is such a vital resource. It offers 24/7, bilingual, free support via text with volunteer crisis counselors in the U.S. and internationally. Users can simply text 741741 (in the U.S. and Canada) to reach immediate support.
Sometimes, it’s most helpful to have the support of a peer when you’re going through something, but not everyone has a reliable set of friends to call on or text. 7 Cups offers a global emotional support community where people from around the world can find free, 24/7, anonymous online chat support from trained volunteer “active listeners” as well as their peers. It’s one of the free peer support services that we came across.
Traditional talk therapy, whether conducted face-to-face or virtually, can be daunting for those with social anxiety. E-Therapy Cafe addresses this concern by providing a diverse range of text-based therapy options. Beyond asynchronous messaging, they offer live chat and e-journaling. This e-journaling feature empowers clients to send detailed messages to their therapists and receive responses within a day or two.
Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression have grown quite common among teens in recent years. The number of teenagers aged 12 years to 17 years with persistent feelings of hopelessness and frustration increased by 40% between 2009 and 2019.(4)
Thus, Teen Counseling stands out in the crowd as it serves specifically teenagers between 13 years to 19 years and provides them the required support for various common conditions like anxiety, depression, bullying, and self-esteem. Teen Counseling allow teens to communicate and seek help via text, which makes it easier and more comfortable for them to text and share their problems
Social anxiety can be quite a frustrating and hard experience that can negatively impact the quality of life. Though various psychotherapeutic approaches can help in treating or alleviating symptoms of social anxiety, sometimes people with this condition hesitate to meet with the therapist or take any treatment because they fear social situations and do not want to see people. However, text therapy could support such individuals with social anxiety to at last share their problems and take necessary pieces of advice and treatments through texts. So, although severe conditions cannot be treated through text therapy, mild conditions of social anxiety can be improved with this therapy, and it would surely make a difference.