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.

Blushing: When a Common Reaction Becomes a Problem  This short informative article by Alexander Gerlach describes the physiology and psychology of blushing, along with a brief review of the kinds of treatment alternatives available.  Be sure to scroll down past the advertisements to get to the article.

Coming To You Direct   This article published in U.S. News & World Report addresses the promotion of drugs to treat social discomfort by labeling symptoms many of us feel in the normal course of life as an indication of a deeper problem--i.e. social phobia (see also the article above "Are Doctors Too Quick to Medicate Social Phobics?"). To see where you fall on the shyness to social phobia scale, check out this questionnaire published in a separate article entitled "Social Anxiety" also published in U.S. News & World Report. This scale is NOT A PSYCHOLOGICAL TEST and should not be used to diagnosis yourself. I linked you to it as a way to help you  think about the range of reactions we can have to social situations. The questionnaire is at the end of the article, but I encourage you to go back to the beginning and read it from end to end.

Encyclopedia of Mental Health    Excellent article on shyness written by Lynn Henderson and Phillip Zimbardo, foremost researchers and founders of the Stanford Shyness Clinic.  The article covers everything from definitions and symptoms of shyness to the origins of shyness and its prevalence in other parts of the world.

Resources for Shy People  Hosted by Gordon Irlam, a once "incredibly" but now only "somewhat shy" person by his own admission, this site is just what it says it is---a place where we can learn of valuable resources to help us overcome our shyness offered by someone who knows both what it feels like to be shy and what it takes to overcome shyness.

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.

Understanding and Overcoming Shyness  Written by Karen Pain, Ph.D. and presented by Caltech Counseling Center, this article provides a nice overview of shyness, its variations and how being shy can be distinguished from being an introvert.  It's well worth a look.

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.

Family Village - Social Skills   Great site linking parents of children with learning disabilities, or children who have difficulty recognizing social cues in other children, to other sites offering solid advise on things you can do to help your child become more socially savvy.  Teachers working with these children will find this site helpful, as well.

Helping 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.  In addition to the bullying literature presented here, you may want to take a look at the Assertiveness Training For Children 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.

NLD (Nonverbal Learning Disorder) On The Web  Invariably when I teach parenting classes on the topic of shyness, one or more parents describe behaviors that sound very much like learning disabilities--only in these disabilities are in the social realm.  The inability to read social cues correctly can set a host of other social disappointments in motion.  This site describes both the range and the nature of nonverbal learning disabilities and provides an extensive list of links to related programs and treatment resources.  While many of the children they describe come to the attention of treatment professionals because they become unruly in the classroom, shy children often struggle with the same concerns---it's just that they turn their disappointments inward.

Shy Tutors With Tails Okay, so this may seem like a strange way to coax children out of their shells, but growing doesn't always have to be hard. Researchers at University of California-Davis veterinary school found that children who read to dogs increased their fluency by 12 and 30 percent in at least one program with some parents finding their children read to their dogs at home. What does this have to do with shyness, you ask? Nothing for some kids, but if your child is withdrawn and his/her teacher complains the s/he's unwilling to read aloud in class, it (or something like it) may be worth considering to help your child along the way.  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.

Shyness in Children, Teens, & Adults  Written by MoonDragon Midwife, a fellow shy person, this article is packed with practical ways to think about your child's shyness and how to help.  What's more, it captures the experience of being a shy child that sometimes can only be understood by people who have been there.  I particularly like her annotated list of reading material for children.  Do take a look.

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:

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

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 2016
        Schmoozing For The Holidays  To Be Announced
        Begin & Continue Conversations  Winter 2017
        Body Language Boot Camp  May 18, 2016
        Say It Right!  July 13, 2016
        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 2016
        Why New Year's Resolutions Fail and What you Can Do About It  
January 2016

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  I've linked you to a page describing research studies that offer free services for both children and adults dealing with shyness or social anxiety.



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