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Social Anxiety Help is a founding regional clinic of the National Social Anxiety Center (NSAC): nationalsacenter.com


I am a 33-year-old transgender white woman. I have struggled with depression and anxiety, including social anxiety, throughout my life. I had gender issues as early as I can remember as well as ADHD, and throughout my childhood I was bullied and excluded. In particular, I fell into a core belief that I'm fundamentally different and defective and that I have nothing in common with those I perceive to be 'normal'.

I began transitioning when I was 26 and began living full-time as my authentic self when I was 27, and through therapy and progress in my transition, I was able to address many issues and negative core beliefs that had previously hurt me, particularly gender identity issues. I was able to build a new life for myself, land a decent job and even get married.

However, my social anxiety remained and greatly hindered me professionally as well as personally. I struggled with asserting myself, admitting to mistakes, asking for help and socializing with my cisgender and heterosexual people. At my job, I quickly became isolated and my social anxiety poisoned the working relationship with my supervisor. As things grew worse, it became clear that I needed to address my social anxiety. I ended up being fired on the same day as my first group session, and I walked into my first session with a box full of belongings from my desk.

During group, I learned many new techniques and strategies for lessening my social anxiety. I found the cognitive restructuring and mindfulness approaches immediately helpful, and I continue to use many of those techniques now. Using experiments, I was able to become much more comfortable at parties and professional networking events.

During the course of group, my confidence noticeably improved. My job search went from hearing nothing for months to 2-3 interviews per week. Almost immediately after the last session, I was offered a job at an investment consulting firm and I started there a couple weeks later. I'm already getting positive reviews from my supervisor and coworkers. I honestly believe that the social anxiety group was crucial to my success.



M's Story

31-year-old gay, white man
Washington, DC

"I can just be me....
I moved forward. I took a risk, and the result has paid itself out so many times!"

T1's Story

33-year-old African American female
Washington, DC

"I needed to present this facade of perfection.
I didn't want to be another stereotype.
For me, I was representing my entire race
at such a young age, at 14."

K's Story

33-year-old married, white woman
Maryland, suburban DC

"I felt like I didn't really fit in with most people...
I felt like I was just bad at having conversations,
that I never knew what to say."

R1's Story

30-year-old African-American woman
Washington, DC

"I was bullied by all of my classmates....
I am a good person. No one can ever make fun of that."

Liz's Story

(audio & written)
27-year-old Hispanic woman
Maryland, suburban DC
(immigrant from Peru)

"People are finally starting to see me differently.
I'm pretty confident that there are going to be more great things along the way
that are still there for me to discover later.
Social anxiety therapy has really changed my life."

D's Story

37-year-old white, male writer
Colombia, South America
(formerly of Washington, DC)

"I struggled with shyness and low self-esteem,
specifically with regard to my physical appearance and feelings of attractiveness."

S's Story

44-year-old single, female nurse
Washington, DC

"My life is different now.
I feel like I can be who I always was inside."

I's Story

(audio and written)
56-year-old gay male, retired investment banker
Washington, DC

"It is possible to find personal strength and happiness."

Mike's Story

34-year-old Jewish man
Costa Rica, Central America
(formerly of Maryland, suburban DC)

"I finally had the courage to do things I'd always hoped I'd be able to do"

R2's Story

26-year-old African American woman
Washington, DC

"I was living too much in my head,
instead of being mindful and in the moment in social situations."

J's Story

24-year-old gay man
Washington, DC

"Did I fit in? Was I gay enough?"

T2's Story

29-year-old South Asian man
Washington, DC

"Would people notice my nervousness?
Would I say something dumb?"

Judy's Story

(National Public Radio audio broadcast)
57-year-old white lesbian
Washington, DC

"Now it just seems like the experiments I did in the very beginning look so easy to me,
that I could do it without even thinking or without becoming at all nervous."

Justin's Story

25-year-old white man
Washington, DC

"Just having any person stopping by my cubicle at work
would bring feelings of trembling, blushing, sweating, and extreme tension."

If you have any questions or comments,
please email Larry Cohen, LICSW,
with offices in Washington, DC.

[Larry Cohen, LICSW, does not endorse any of the products or services advertised by others on this website.]

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