Social Anxiety Help
Larry Cohen, LICSW
Services We Offer
INDIVIDUAL COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT):
We conduct individual psychotherapy and counseling services in our northwest Washington, DC office (see Office Location). Sessions are generally a full 60 minutes in length, Monday through Friday, 10:00am – 7:30pm. Occasionally, on an as-needed basis, session length or scheduling may vary. We only see people on weekends on an emergency basis.
While it is generally advantageous to conduct psychotherapy and counseling face-to-face, we also conduct occasional sessions over the phone or internet when necessary, but only with clients that we also see in-person at other times.
Social Anxiety Therapy Group: In-Depth Orientation
We believe that specialized social anxiety CBT groups are sometimes more effective than individual psychotherapy. These groups offer support from others who share similar experiences and problems, and provide the opportunity to grow through helping one another. Groups also serve as a safe “laboratory” to explore how we relate to others, and to experiment here-and-now with new ways of relating. On a practical level, members of social anxiety CBT groups tend to do therapeutic homework more regularly, and thereby tend to make progress more rapidly. For some people, groups become a source of important friendships.
If you are socially anxious, you may be thinking that a group is the last place you’d want to do therapy! After all, many people are more likely to experience their social anxiety in group settings than one-on-one. Perhaps you may already have been in a therapy or support group before, and perhaps you have felt lost, unable to participate or dominated by more outgoing group members. But imagine how different things are in a group made up of people who are socially anxious, and with a structured format designed to help members feel more comfortable participating. Sure, you are likely to experience more social anxiety in a group setting, but we help you turn that to your advantage. We help make the group a safe place for each member to explore what is causing their social anxiety here-and-now, and experiment with healthy ways of overcoming that anxiety in the group itself.
The social anxiety therapy groups are structured, intensive, 20-week, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) programs designed to help members learn how to overcome their social anxiety (social phobia). Members choose and work on personal goals for their participation in the group, such as: socializing, making friends, dating and forming intimate relationships, increasing assertiveness, advancing one’s career, overcoming public speaking fear and other performance anxiety, minimizing paruresis (shy bladder) and sexual anxiety, improving mood and self-confidence, and accepting one’s sexuality and gender identity. These groups also include an extended program designed to help members identify and change the unhealthy core beliefs that help cause and worsen their social anxiety and related problems (eg. depression, poor self-esteem).
Groups are made up of 6-9 members who are at least 18 years of age. The groups meet weekly for 2.5- to 3-hour sessions on weekday evenings, beginning 6:30pm, for five months. We aren’t just talking during those sessions; we spend a lot of group time each week doing exercises in which we learning and practicing skills and strategies to lessen anxiety, increase self-confidence, and improve our interactions with others.
During the middle three months of these five-month groups, two of the weekday sessions are replaced with 6.5-hour Saturday field trips to public locations (eg. the National Mall and its museums, Dupont Circle, the National Zoo, Union Station, outdoor festivals, shopping malls) where we divide up into rotating pairs of group members to practice interacting with strangers in three one-hour rounds, and with three whole-group meetings to discuss what we are learning. We also have optional monthly group socials where members interact with each other and strangers in unstructured settings. Lastly, the group has a low-key party toward the end in which we practice mingling and making conversation with former group members who are invited to attend.
Group members are expected to conduct self-chosen, cognitive-behavioral homework experiments and skill practice (eg. mindful focus during conversation, socializing, dating, speaking at meetings, assertion) for at least two hours weekly, and also to complete worksheets aimed at changing our self-defeating automatic thoughts, behaviors and core beliefs (another hour weekly). If you wish, you may do some of your homework experiments together with other group members.
Groups are held twice each year, generally beginning in March and September. If there is enough interest, one social anxiety therapy group is offered for lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) adults. But all groups are LGBT-affirming.
Click here to learn more about the advantages v. disadvantages of group and individual CBT for social anxiety.
Click here to see goals, norms and contract for social anxiety therapy groups.
Click here to listen to National Public Radio feature on one client’s experience in my social anxiety therapy group.
Click here to view many personal change stories of former group members (video, audio and written).
Click here for information about social anxiety workshops.
Social Anxiety Help
4808 43rd Place NW
Washington, DC 20016
WALKING FROM THE METRO: Our office is 4/10 of a mile northwest of the Tenleytown Metro station (an 8-minute walk through a pleasant neighborhood). Take the red line metro to Tenleytown – American University. Following the signs, exit the Tenleytown station at the west side of Wisconsin Ave. (the exit to the right). As soon as you get off the escalator onto the sidewalk, continue walking forward (north) on Wisconsin Ave., past the Container Store on your left. Turn left at River Rd., the first corner you come to. Walk downhill on River Rd. to the fourth corner: Davenport & 43rd Place (one block after you pass Chesapeake and 43rd Street). Turn right on 43rd Place. (Please don’t turn left at 43rd Street!) Our office is in the second house on the left.
DRIVING: If you are coming FROM THE SOUTH OR DOWNTOWN, drive north on Wisconsin Ave. Two short blocks after Albemarle St., turn left on Brandywine St., where there is a light (just after the Best Buy on your left, at 4500 Wisconsin Ave.). Then make the FIRST right onto River Rd. Go a couple blocks downhill on River Rd. and turn right onto 43rd Place (a block after you pass Chesapeake and 43rd Street). Our office is in the second house on the left. If you are coming FROM THE NORTH, drive south on Wisconsin Ave. and turn right on Fessenden St., where there is a light. (Fessenden is around 5000 Wisconsin Ave, and is the next street after you pass Harrison and Garrison.) Turn left on the second corner: 43rd Place (which is one block after you pass the first corner: 43rd Street.) Our office is a block and a half down on the right, just before River Rd. If you are coming FROM THE BELTWAY, take River Road (190) east. Four blocks after crossing Western Ave. and entering the District, turn left on 43rd Place. Our office is in the second house on the left.
PARKING: There is street parking available on River Rd. and 43rd Place.
PAYMENT PLANS & INSURANCE:
We try to make our work affordable. We offer a sliding scale and payment plans based on ability to pay. For payment, we accept credit and debit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Discover), as well as personal checks and cash. Our services are covered by many (but not all) insurance plans. (We are only in-network to Medicare. For all private insurance plans, you would have to use your out-of-network benefits, if any.) We also offer discounts to group clients who pay in advance each month.
Click here for further information about the payment plans.