Shyness Web Sites


 . . . . . Disclaimer

I know this should seem obvious to anyone surfing the net and you've probably heard this a hundred times before, but no matter how often I tell people, someone seems to get in trouble surfing the internet--so here goes. Because the internet allows us to connect with other people more or less anonymously--at least at first, it relieves some of the tension associated with social interaction.  People--shy and outgoing alike--tend to make faster deeper connections with people on the internet than they would in person. Some of these connections may prove to be wonderful, while others will end in disaster because the people you connect with are not who they say they are or the material supplied is inaccurate.  I give you these links in hopes that they will lead you to better things.  I have done my best to check out each of these links, but I, like you, am surfing the net for resources.  Ultimately, it is up to you to judge the appropriateness of the resources you find. 

General Information . . . . . You'll want to check out this site for sure. It provides an excellent overview of social anxiety and the steps it takes to overcome it, as well as overviews and strategies for addressing other anxieties including: fear of flying and simple phobias, and Generalized Anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress and Obsessive-Compulsive disorders.

Are Doctors Too Quick To Medicate Social Phobics?  Deciding whether or not to take medication to ease your anxiety can be difficult and, in theory, should depend on the nature of the anxiety you're experiencing. In this article printed in the Seattle Times newspaper, reporter Kyung M. Song raises concerns about the potential for over prescribing when the unpleasantness that typically accompanies shyness becomes confused with the more intense and pervasive anxiety associated with social phobia.

Blushing & Sweating  I've linked you to a the Blushing & Sweating page of the Shyness & Social Anxiety website, a place where you're likely to want to spend a lot more time. I like this page because it breaks down some of the options for treating symptoms that many people associate with social anxiety or that are just plain annoying, even if you're not particularly anxious. As usual, if you plan to pursue any of these treatments, it's a good idea to do your homework and check out their effectiveness and their safety--particularly the ones that involve medical treatments.

Shy and Free  While this award winning personal growth site could be for anyone, it is described as a site for people who have already worked on their shyness (be it in the form of social anxiety, insecurity or quietness).  While it includes references to more traditional resources and a wonderful annotated bibliography, the site describes it's content as being based on "direct experience [that] is not from any particular philosophy, psychology, religion, or spirituality."  It's a great place for people to go and think about things in ways that may help them get unstuck. 

The Shy People's Dictionary.  I've including this short amusing link as an example of how we shy people manage to redefine the English language in relationship to our shyness.   Not really just a "FAQ" page (standing for frequently asked questions), ShyFAQ represents the rebirth of one of the oldest resources for learning about shyness on the internet . . . the newsgroup.  The site explores common questions about shyness and how to deal with it. 

Shyness Home Page    Provides links to sites that address shyness and/or social anxiety.  Sites include reading lists, treatment programs and, for those of you willing to help further our understanding of shyness, links to surveys  gathering information about shyness.  Even if you don't submit your responses, the surveys can be an interesting way to reflect on your own shyness. 

Shyness: The New Solution   One of the more renowned researchers in the field of shyness, Barnardo Carducci, summarizes his views on the subject in article in the January 2000 edition of Psychology Today.  Note--the article is presented by Psychology Today which is a great resource in itself.  Simply enter the word shy, or any other keyword of interest, and see where it takes you.

Shyness Research Institute  Located at Indiana Southwest University, the Shyness Research Institute is headed by Bernardo Carducci, Ph.D. (see above link: Shyness: The New Solution). Check out the FAQ section to learn more about shyness and what you can do to overcome it.  You may also want to check out his book, Shyness: A Bold New Approach (see Recommended Readings).  If you have time, please consider filling out the shyness survey form included under the You Can Help section.  It's surveys such as this one that help further our understanding of shyness and what we can do about it.

Uncommon Knowledge  I've linked you to the Tips to Avoid Blushing page of this site, which in addition to providing tips on things like blushing, shyness, self-esteem and confidence, provides a free self-confidence training program and an additional program available for purchase.  I have no idea how good either of these programs are, but it is on my "to do list" to give them a try.  Free is a good price and if it can help, that's great.  Should any of you try their program, please drop me a line and tell me what you think email me.

WebMD  At times it's hard to understand where shyness stops and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) begins In this article, Gina Shaw helps shed some light on what can be a confusing subject and, as usual, the WebMD site offers a wealth of related links for folks who want to explore the subject in more depth.

Shyness in Children & Teens. . . . . . . . 

A word of caution for parents with children surfing the net using the words "shy" or "shyness."  Much to my horror and disgust, these words led me to a number of pornographic and other adult sites, including chatroom sites, which many parents will find unsuitable for their children.  To my knowledge none of the sites and/or links from the sites listed in this section (i.e., Shyness & Children) pose a threat, but it is always, it's prudent to supervise your children's use of the computer.  Also, since inadvertently bumping into these sites, I have been plagued with pornographic spam on my computer.  I'm not sure of the exact connection.  However, it's something to consider, should you do similar surfing on your own.

Also, talk to ten different people and you will get ten different opinions on how to parent a shy child.  As always, it is a good idea to get more than one opinion before planning a course of action and, when it doubt, seek professional help.

Brave Buddies Camp I don't have personal experience with this camp or most of the other treatment referrals on this list, for that matter, but I wanted to include it, because the concept is right on. Located in New York, the brochure for this one week camp targeting children with Selective Mutism reads like my wish list for helping children with a wide range of social anxiety related issues . . . behavioral and skills training, and a safe place to practice speaking up. The price is admittedly beyond many people's reach and the programs are probably not as long as I would like (i.e., either one day or one week), but the truth is, logistics prevent my training programs from being as long as I would like, so who am I to complain. In any case, read the brochure and think about what, if any, programs similar to this one may be available in your area. And, if you just happen to be in New York and try this program, please let me know how it goes for you and your child.

Center for Effective Parenting  A nice well organized description of shyness, how it impacts children and what you can do to both treat and prevent it.

Child Anxiety Network  I've linked you to the Social Phobia page of the Child Anxiety Network, but be sure to check out the rest of the site which provides a nice overview of the kinds of anxiety disorders your child might experience, as well as resources to help you help your child.

Helping Young Children Overcome Shyness  Clinical Psychologist and father of a "once shy" child, John Malouff, Ph.D., J.D.,  provides an overview of what it means to be a shy child, along with tips to help parents support their children through their shyness.  Particularly appealing is the extensive annotated bibliography, including lists of children's story books designed to help children overcome social anxiety.

How Children Can Overcome Shyness  This common sense article from Scouting Magazine provides practical advice for helping children overcome shyness and is well worth reading.

Kidscape  Kidscape is a non-profit UK-wide program dedicated to providing individuals and organizations with the practical skills and resources they need to help children safe from harm. As shy children often fall prey to the painful effects of bullying, I've linked you to the Kidscape download page filled with leaflets exploring a variety of things parents and teachers can do to help children navigate these difficult waters.  leaflet.

KidsHealth  Sponsored by the Nemours Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 1935 through the provision of Alfred I. duPont, KidsHealth offers educational information on a wide variety of health related topics with separate sections for parents, children and teens.  I've linked you directly to a section specifically designed for teens called "Putting Shyness In the Spotlight," but you can use this site to explore any number of health related issues.

KidSource  KidSource is the product of "a group of parents who want to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of parents and children."  It addresses everything from health and education issues to school safety and product recalls.  The article I've pointed you to, Working With Shy And Withdrawn Students by Jere Brody, may be of interest to parents looking for tips on how to work with their child's teacher at child.  Staffed by people who either raised a shy child or were shy themselves, this site offers a forum for kids to think about shyness and explore it a bit.  The site encourages children to face some of the more difficult topics that many of us think about, but would prefer not to discuss--like accepting our appearance, finding out who we are and doing things to make us interesting people (i.e., developing hobbies and learning social skills).  It has a good section on conversation starters and tips for keeping conversations going.  Separate pages are provided for kids, teens and parents. The authors make it clear they are not professionals.  The site provides links to other relevant web sites, as well.

Treatment Programs & Referral Services . . . . . .

Skip to referral listings.  As you begin your search for resources to help you conquer shyness, please know there is no such thing as one size fits all--one treatment program that works for everyone.  One reason is that many of us have different reasons for being shy.  However, there is one thing most shy people have in common---sooner or later, most of us struggle with a lack confidence in our social skills.  Why?  Because our shyness causes us to avoid precisely the kinds of situations that would help us learn to refine our skills.  Instead of getting better with time, we get worse through lack of practice.  Therefore, I strongly recommend that whatever program you choose include an element of social skills training or practice. Also highly recommended are Cognitive-Behavioral approaches that are designed to eliminate much of the negative self-talk that typically accompanies shyness. By systematically attacking invalid thought patterns and offering alternative ways to think and behave, Cognitive-Behavioral approaches provide a concrete structured road to change specifically tailored to your needs. Check out this NPR (National Public Radio) piece for an example of how Cognitive-Behavioral techniques can be applied to social anxiety. Don't worry if the piece sounds more challenging than you are ready to handle. The beauty of Cognitive-Behavioral programs is that they can be adapted to move at your own particular pace.

That aside here are some of the alternatives:

  • Individual Therapy  --  This is a great alternative for people who a) just need a little coaching to get them started, b) are too uncomfortable to begin their work in a group setting and want a safe place to get their feet wet, or c) people who have multiple concerns that challenge them in addition to their shyness (e.g., depression, divorce, childhood trauma).  But while individual therapy can be a tremendous asset to treatment, it is no substitute for actual interaction with other people.  Sooner or later your treatment program should require that you either practice your skills in the real world or participate in groups specifically designed to help you acquire them.

  • Group Therapy  --  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, group therapy is just what it sounds like--therapy that takes place in a group setting.  Therapy groups can be ongoing (lasting for years with members coming and going over time) or they can be time-limited (lasting for a predetermined number of weeks or months).  Groups can be generic (with no particular theme) or they can be tailored to meet a specific need (e.g., men's groups, women's groups, recovering alcoholics, social anxiety, parenting).  Some groups are led by a professional facilitator (typically a therapist), while other "self-help" groups are facilitated by the community of people who attend.  Because groups provide an opportunity to interact, shy people can benefit from any and all of these kinds of groups providing the group is a good fit--that is, providing the group offers a safe environment where you are comfortable enough to take risks, the group is has the ability to challenge you in constructive ways and the group offers you an opportunity to build on your social skills.  Please note, that the best group can flounder with a bad facilitator and the best facilitator can be rendered useless when deliberately undermined by a group.  When selecting groups, always inquire about the group's composition (who is currently in the group and the kinds of issues they're working on), as well as about the background and skills of the facilitator.

  • Medication Management  --  Many people struggling with anxiety disorders benefit from medication to help them cope with their symptoms.  The extent to which medication could be helpful depends on a variety of factors including: 1) the extent to which your struggle with anxiety is biologically driven (i.e., the extent to which your condition is inherited or the result of traumatic experiences that impact your reflex actions), 2) the extent to which you current symptoms interfere with your ability to function effectively, and 3) the number of stressors currently impacting you in your life today.  
     --  If you are particularly anxious, medications may to give you the courage you need to start a treatment program.  And while some people benefit from taking medications on an ongoing basis throughout their life, other people find they become less important as they conquer their fears and build their social skills repertoire.  Many people who are only slightly to moderately anxious prefer to pursue treatment with no medications at all.  The choice is up to you. 
     --  Finally, if it turns out you do would like to consider medications, it helps to know where to go.  There are at least  three groups of people who most commonly prescribe this type of medication: 1) primary care doctors, 2) nurses who are specially trained to prescribe medications, and  3)  psychiatrists.  While the former two groups are your least costly alternatives, psychiatrists and some specially trained nurse practitioners are your best bet when dealing with more complicated pictures  (i.e., situations where there is a family history of mood or anxiety disorders, people with a history of chemical dependency/abuse, etc).  When in doubt, start with your primary care doctor or counselor, if you are in therapy, and explain your concerns to see what s/he recommends.

    Social Skills Classes  --  This is a category we all can benefit from and you don't have to be shy.  Social skills classes provide an opportunity to both acquire and refine our social skills.  Affordable quality classes can often be found through continuing education programs at universities and community colleges, as well as through free standing adult education programs that can be found in most metropolitan areas.  People in the Seattle/Bellevue area can check my course listing at

  • Shyness, Social Phobia & Social Anxiety Group Programs  --  For the truly shy, these programs are your best bet because they provide a comprehensive package tailored to meet your specific needs.  These programs typically include components addressing anxiety, social skills, self-talk and self-esteem in a setting that provides an opportunity to practice your skills with other people.  But amazingly, given the prevalence of shyness in this country, programs such as these are few and far between--usually based at a university or established by private practitioner, such as myself, who saw a need and wanted to do something to fill it.  As you will see, the list of programs is very small.  But don't despair, I will be updating the list on a regular basis.  So if you don't see something in your area, please check back.  You can also help by letting me know about  programs not presently included on the list.

  • Self-help Groups & Programs -- Not everyone can afford the luxury of professional services to help them overcome their shyness and quite frankly, professional services aren't always a necessary way to go.  Like anything, it depends.  It depends on the nature of the problems you're struggling with.  Is it just shyness or is there a component of depression?  Do you have an anger problem?  Many shy people do.  Were you hurt in some way as a child?  All of these things and more can be a factor in determining if self-help groups alone will be sufficient to meet your needs.  If they are, and in many cases they can be, by all means go for it.

In an effort to help you with your search, consider the following:

  • Group composition.  Like all groups, self-help groups are only as good as their group members choose to make them.  However, differences in group members' level of commitment, intensity and nature of struggles, knowledge of the subject at hand and ability to be patient and  supportive under stress are particularly critical in self-help groups because these groups are less likely to have a neutral independent leader whose sole purpose is to maintain a constructive therapeutic focus in the group.  

  • Stability of Group.  Some self-help groups have a stable core group of people who attend on a weekly basis, but unlike traditional fee for service therapy groups, many self-help groups have a rapid turnover and you may not see the same people regularly from group to group.  When we're learning new social skills a little turnover can be good, because it forces us to interact with people we don't know.  On the other hand, too much turnover can be threatening, because it doesn't give us an opportunity to establish the kind of trust we need to take bigger risks.  The key is to find the kind of group that feels best to you.

  • Shyness Focus.  Look for programs that focus on shyness or social skills.  More and more self-help shyness and social skills programs are beginning to show up on the internet.  Avoid exclusive participation in programs that only involve internet exposure, because after all, it is our nonverbal skills---our body language---that constitute a large part of the social experience.  And while we can gather information and learn new skills on the internet, there is no substitute for real live practice with another human being.  Look for programs that actually exist in vivo out in your community.  And while these programs may not be available in everyone's community, it may be worth your while to check and see what, if any programs, may be near you.  

  • Amount of Structure.  As shy people, we tend to avoid the kind structure we need so desperately to make progress in our lives---mostly because it usually means we will be asked to participate and that's something, as shy people, we may feel too uncomfortable to do.  Nonetheless, programs that provide structure--either in the form of emotional support that encourages us to take increasingly bigger risks in our life, or in the form of  programmed activities that lead us step by step toward our goals---tend to be more effective for shy people than unstructured programs.  

For additional tips and questions you may want to ask prospective therapists, please see the screening list provided by the Social Anxiety Institute.  While I agree with the list for the most part, I am saddened by the fact that few programs and/or therapists are likely to live up to their screening criteria.  If you are fortunate enough to live in a location that offers programs such as these, by all means take advantage of them.  If, however, like so many of us you are forced to settle for whatever programs are available in your community, use these tips in as a guideline to help you narrow your search.

Referral Services . . .

American Psychological Association   For information on resources in your community click referrals.  For general information on a variety of mental health related topics, click here.

National Anxiety Foundation  Provides nationwide listings of professionals specializing in anxiety disorders.  Because the list is not certified and providers sign up by filling out an application and paying a fee, this list should be considered a starting place and, as always, providers should be carefully interviewed.

Psychology Today  If you're not sure where to start and just want to get a feel for the different kinds of therapists and services available in your area, you may want to check out Psychology Today's referral service. The service allows you to search by zip code and offers short profiles of therapists in and/or, hopefully, near you. If you're looking for someone to help you with shyness and/or social anxiety, be sure to check "Anxiety or Fears" in the "I'm looking for help with (optional):" drop-down menu box below the zip code search. My bias would be to encourage you to look for therapists with a Cognitive-Behavioral and skills-training focus, but that's me. You may need to dig a bit to find what you're looking for. As far as I can tell, the positions of the listings change from time to time, so just because someone's profile is further back in the pack, doesn't necessary mean they're less qualified. What you're looking for is someone who's a good fit for you. It's worth the extra time to dig a bit and call around to interview people.

Treatment Programs . . .

I offer the list below as one place to start looking for help.  As with any search for therapeutic services, be sure to inquire about each provider's qualifications and interview them to make sure their services meet your needs. 

Adult Anxiety Clinic of Temple  The Adult Anxiety Clinic of Temple is a treatment, research and training clinic. Affiliated with the Temple University Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program.  Their mission is to provide effective treatment for adults with anxiety disorders. The Clinic is partly funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and conducts research aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of treatments of social and generalized anxiety

Berent Associates Center For Shyness & Social Therapy  A "Diplomate" in clinical social work, Jonathon Berent established the Center For Shyness & Social Therapy in Great Neck, New York where he specializes in the treatment of shyness, social anxiety, social phobia and related problems.  His website is rich with tips for handling social anxiety and panic, as well as lists books and tapes he has developed which are available for purchase.

The Child and Adolescent Fear and Anxiety Treatment Program  Affiliated with Boston University, this program provides "comprehensive evaluations and cognitive-behavioral treatment for children and adolescents between the ages of 7 and 17" who struggle with fear, anxiety and shyness related disorders.

The Child Anxiety Network Directory of Providers This page provides a list of professionals treating children with anxiety disorders.  It includes contact information for providers in several states in the United States, along with one resource in Australia and another in Mexico.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Youth Shyness Program  A study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health evaluating the effectiveness of treatment approaches for highly anxious youth between the ages of 8 to 15.  The study is evaluating the effectiveness of two approaches to treatment: Social Effectiveness Therapy and medication---fluoxetine.  Children not qualifying for the study will be referred to other therapists in the community.

Drexel University Anxiety Treatment and Research Program  Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel University offers free treatment programs for adults (ages 18-60) suffering from social phobia. 

John Montopoli, LMFT   A Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto California, John offers cognitive-behaviorally oriented treatment groups for folks struggling with shyness and social anxiety.

Macquarie University Anxiety Research Unit  Located in Sydney Australia and directed by internationally renown social anxiety author and researcher, Ronald Rapee (see Recommended Readings page of this site), the Anxiety Research Unit offers free services to participants in ongoing research programs as well as fee-based services for individuals seeking help, but preferring not to participate in research studies.

Maryland Center for Anxiety Disorders  A research facility funded by (among other organizations) the National Institute of Mental Health, the Maryland Center of Anxiety Disorders offers specialized behavior therapy for children and adults suffering from a variety of anxiety disorders.  Because it is a research facility, some services are free.

Nancy Wesson, Ph.D.   A Licensed Clinical Psychologist practicing in Mountain View, California.  Dr. Wesson offers both psychotherapy and skill building seminars dealing with shyness.  In addition, her website offers a number of articles, tips and exercises designed to help lead people through their shyness.

NYU Child Study Center  The NYU Child Study Center offers diagnostic evaluation, medication, and cognitive-behavioral treatment programs for children, adolescents, and young adults suffering from anxiety and mood disorders. Children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 25 are eligible, in addition to programs for preschool and kindergarten children.

Ohio State University Anxiety and Stress Disorders Clinic  This clinic offers treatment for a variety of anxiety related disorders, including social phobia, and offers a cognitive-behavioral perspective.

Renee Gilbert, Ph.D.  That's me. This is my private practice website where you'll find background information about me, my private psychotherapy practice in Bellevue, Washington, and listings of social skills, shyness, and relationship skills classes I teach through my practice and/or local educational facilities in the area. While dates and times are subject to change, current course listings classes include . . .

        Shake Your Shyness: Workshop Series  To Be Announced
Shake Your Shyness: Weekend Intensive Workshop  To Be Announced
        Shy Parents, Shy Children: Parenting Workshop  Stay tuned for online version of this and other programs
        Learn to Schmooze  Fall 2017
        Schmoozing For The Holidays  To Be Announced
        Begin & Continue Conversations  Winter 2018
        Body Language Boot Camp  Winter 2018
        Say It Right!  July 2017
        Goal-Oriented Communication To Be Announced
        Finding the "Right" Partner  To Be Announced
        The Art of Romance  To Be Announced
        Capture the Magic of the Holidays  December 2017
        Why New Year's Resolutions Fail and What you Can Do About It  
January 2018

I also offer private online Social Skills Coaching and Consultation for people who are unable to travel to the Seattle-Bellevue area.
These appointments are available on a limited basis. Click here for more information.

Richard Preuit, M.A., MLFT  Located in Arcadia, California, Richard Preiuit offers Cognitive-Behavioral Social Anxiety Groups, as well as individual therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder.

Shake Your Shyness Classes & Workshops   This is the direct link to shyness classes I  (Renée Gilbert, Ph.D.) teach throughout the Seattle-Bellevue Metropolitan Area.  Hit the "home" link and it will take you to the home page for  which directs you to a broad range of classes I teach.

The Shyness Clinic  A pioneer among programs for the treatment of shyness, The Shyness Clinic was first established at Stanford University in 1970, later moving off campus in the in the community of Palo Alto, California.  It offers a wide selection of treatment alternatives from intensive weekend programs to ongoing treatment using the "social fitness model" of treatment. 

Shyness Clinic - Walter Friedman M.A.   Established in 1992 and inspired by the Palo Alto Shyness Clinic described above, Walter Friedman's Shyness Clinic has branches in San Francisco and London, U.K..  It is based on a cognitive-behavioral model, with weekly groups offering a place to understand shyness and learn new strategies for dealing it.  Participants are expected to do homework assignments between groups.  This site describes structured cognitive-behavioral social-anxiety groups offered by Richard A. Preuit, M.A., LMFT (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist) located in Arcadia, California.

Social Anxiety Treatment Australia  If you live in Australia, or even if you don't, this site provides excellent descriptions of symptoms frequently associated with being anxious in social situations, explanations of treatment alternatives and links to Australian treatment professionals organized by region.

Sydney Anxiety Group Treatment Program  Social anxiety is only one of the anxiety related disorders this cognitive-behaviorally oriented program located in Australia treats and, while I don't personally know any of the people listed on their Advisory Board, it includes an impressive list of experts, including Professor Ron Rapee who has written one of the better books detailing strategies for challenging the dysfunctional ways we think about our shyness (see Overcoming Shyness and Social Phobia on the Recommended Readings page.)

University of Central Florida Anxiety Disorders Clinic  Originally, I'd linked you to a page listing research studies that offer free services for both children and adults dealing with shyness or social anxiety. Unfortunately, as links and research projects change, I haven't been able to find any currently running programs, but I encourage you to look or contact the UCF Clinic for more information. In the meantime the current link will take to an overview of their clinic. Chose the "Treatment" Option on the top of this page for information on the kind of services the clinic provides.



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