treatment for shyness and social anxiety in sonoma county
santa rosa, california group therapy for self-esteem issues
Shonnie Brown, marriage and family therapist in northern california cognitive behavioral therapy for social disorders
Shonnie Brown, marriage and family therapist in sonoma county
Licensed Marriage &
Family Therapist
LMFT #30787
405 Chinn Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Santa Rosa: 707-526-4353
Healdsburg: 707-526-4353

Contact me for

LifeStory Therapy™:

therapeutic writing specialist in sonoma county Click here for more info

Separation/Divorce Support Group for Women

santa rosa separation and divorce support group Ongoing / Weekly
Click here for more info

Recommended Reading

recommended coparenting web sites and books on Co-Parenting
and Divorce
books and resources about infidelity and marital cheating on Infidelity

Articles by
Shonnie Brown:

feelings Ten Ways to Use Therapy in Becoming Your Own Advocate
feelings "I Just Can't Help What I Feel!"
therapeutic writing classes Writing: A Healing Art
writing as therapy in santa rosa, california Uncovering Trauma Through Therapeutic Writing: Part Two
divorce support groups in sonoma county Recession Depression
Facebook and narcissism Facebook: Healthy or Unhealthy Narcissism?
recession depression counseling Healing and Recovery in a Divorce Support Group: Part One
santa rosa group therapy for divorced women Healing and Recovery in a Divorce Support Group: Part Two
coping with trauma with therapeutic writing Uncovering Trauma through Therapeutic Writing
unhealthy attachment and dependence in marriage Divorce and Attachment Issues
mother daughter relationship issues Adult Daughters and Their Mothers: A Tenuous Bond
Divorce Poison book about co-parenting 5 Co-parenting Interventions from "Divorce Poison"
writing for therapy and anxiety relief Writing as Therapy
coping with infidelity and betrayal in a marriage The Affair, Part 1
therapy to deal with husband or wife affair The Affair, Part 2
marriage and family therapist in the santa rosa area The Power In Being Wrong
co-parent empowerment group of sonoma county Inside a COPE Group: 1
help in mediating co-parenting issues Inside a COPE Group: 2
children raised in two different households Inside a COPE Group: 3
therapy for shyness, self-esteem and social anxiety Moving Beyond Shyness
good parenting practices for divorcing couples Parenting During Divorce
support groups for separated and divorced men and women The Role of Support Groups in Divorce Recovery
the stigma and shame of divorce The Stigma of Divorce
coping with one-sided divorce and feelings of betrayal and abandonment The Unilateral Divorce




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Moving Beyond Shyness: Interactive group therapy using cognitive-behavioral approaches in the treatment of social anxiety

Shonnie Brown, MFT

What is social anxiety?

By definition, social anxiety is excessive and persistent fear of social and performance situations. People with social anxiety usually have a personal history of ridicule, shame and/or extreme criticism by others (often a parent). There has been an erosion of self-esteem and self-confidence with subsequent withdrawal. The continuing fear of ridicule or scrutiny causes isolation and avoidance of new and potentially harmful situations. Isolation results in increased self-negation, despairing loneliness and depression.

Social anxiety or social phobia is only now being recognized as a serious and disabling disorder. Most social phobics go undiagnosed and untreated for years, existing in a narrow range of life experience because the very nature of this disorder makes it a struggle to ask for help. My clients report that they feel "weird, isolated, and very different from everyone else". To learn that this condition has a clinical diagnosis and is treatable and to join in an environment with others who understand your experience can be the first step towards enriching your life.

Why group therapy and how does it help?

For very shy people, group therapy is often the first safe social interaction, serving as a bridge to the social world. Moving Beyond Shyness groups are for men and women who have difficulty initiating social contact, maintaining relationships, and forming intimate attachments. Many group members are adult students who panic under an instructor's scrutiny and fear being put on the spot in the classroom. Others are fearful and extremely uncomfortable in work situations relating to authority figures and peers and being part of a competitive business world. All have excessive inhibitions with other people and particular discomfort with members of the other gender. The focus of our work is on connecting with others and developing the confidence needed to be part of a social world.

Group therapy is helpful in working with social anxiety in a number of ways:

  • The group provides a safe social environment for the development of interpersonal skills such as eye contact, initiating and maintaining conversation, relating to authority and dating.

  • Individual goal setting and risk taking are key components essential to building self-confidence. Group participants learn to take pride in their own and each other's accomplishments.

  • Group members are continually practicing social interactions through role plays, dyads, games, discussion, and in vivo field trips.

  • Skill building is emphasized by rehearsing and redoing challenging social situations.

  • Interaction is the emphasis. Peer interaction, support for risk taking and positive reflection build confidence. We emphasize giving and receiving supportive feedback and appreciation.

My approach to the treatment of social anxiety:

I use a combined approach which includes interrupting your thoughts to develop a more positive mental attitude, building social skills, setting goals and taking risks. I teach ways to take control over the negative introjects that run socially phobic people by replacing ruminating, critical thoughts with positive, affirming self-talk. We practice each type of social interaction that challenges individual participants. I emphasize setting individual goals with specific action plans, as goal setting is an essential part of building self-esteem. We discuss the ways that the body signals our anxiety and how to work with the physiological sensations of fear.

Moving Beyond Shyness groups are small, limited to six people, and open to both adults and college students. All groups meet in my office at Chinn Street Counseling Center near downtown Santa Rosa. I offer a comprehensive free interview to help us determine if this group is suitable for you. For more information about individual or group psychotherapy for social anxiety I invite you to contact me at (707)526-4353 or


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