Moving To San Diego For Social Anxiety Therapy
First of all, welcome. It usually takes a lot of courage to consider moving to another state and city to receive adequate therapy that should be available across the world.
If you have social anxiety, are motivated to overcome it, and choose to become a part of our active SA groups, all of us will be happy to welcome and work with you.
Here is some practical information concerning the move:
In the past, we discouraged people from moving here because, in an ideal world, it would be better to participate in a local, active and structured CBT group that is specific to social anxiety in your own home town. However, as countless individuals have pointed out, there are almost no programs of this kind anywhere in the world.
My e-mail box is full of messages like "I can't get help anywhere...what is my life going to be like?", "Someone has to help me!", "If so many people have social anxiety, WHY isn't there any help for this?", "I don't care if I have to move six thousand miles away, if there's a chance I'll get better I will make the move." "I need to do this now before I get any older. My first priority in life has to be to stop living with all this horrible anxiety!" (These are all actual message headers.)
Because we have received many hundreds of messages like this in the past, we are no longer discouraging people from moving here.
About four dozen people have already moved here in the past few years. We have checked in with them at intervals about their decision to move here and their response has been more than encouraging.
We don't want people moving here to participate in the therapy unless they are ready to take part in the program. We also don't want there to be any surprises waiting for you. The more you know and understand before you come -- the better the transition will be. Moving across country is never an easy decision, and it is important to check in with us first if you are considering being a part of our active therapy group.
Please do not move here for the program unless you have been accepted into it first.
Some people have met me in Phoenix or through my travels, conferences, talks, and speeches. It is easier to know how someone is doing if I have met them and know them personally.
Others have flown or drove into town for their initial appointments ahead of moving here. This allows for the diagnostic appointment, which is an ethical requirement, to occur before the move, preventing any kind of problem with acceptance into the program.
Yet others have emailed me for a while, submitted their completed application, and talked with me over Skype or another IM. Doing this ahead of time is important. You must have a DSM-IV-defined case of social anxiety to be accepted into the group. It is possible that someone may think they have social anxiety and then find out that they don't meet the diagnostic criteria. So, please don't move here to take part in therapy unless you have taken the appropriate steps first.
Typically, new group members familiarize themselves thoroughly with the information on the website, and people who consider moving here have been working on the audio therapy series. In fact, most of them have said they would not have moved here had it not been for what they heard on the audio therapy series... and for the progress they had already made doing the cognitive therapy contained in the series.
They feel they have made some progress already, and feel that they can make more progress by actively participating in the social anxiety groups.
If a person is motivated to overcome social anxiety and there is no active, structured group that is running for social anxiety in his/her vicinity, then we understand a person's desire to move to take part in a very active CBT program.
PLEASE NOTE AGAIN: We would not want anyone to come to Phoenix without APPLYING for admission first. Other mental health care conditions also need to be ruled out -- we need to be completely sure you have social anxiety before you can be admitted to the group.
The primary therapy group is held all day on Saturday at the present time and you can read all the details and dates about the local group therapy here.
In addition to the regular, basic therapy, when people want to work on more difficult issues, we run an additional behavioral group, usually on a week night, to handle the exercises we do not have time to do during the Saturday program.
The group has regular social activities (almost every single day), meets together for doing social experiments when you're ready, and has an active email list. You will not need to be alone and solitary again if you are a member of this therapy group -- there is always something going on therapy-wise and socially.
Sitting around isolated in your apartment all week long waiting for the Saturday group will not work. We need to make sure you can find some kind of employment to keep you busy and allow you to work on the cognitive-behavioral therapy. There is no way to improve if you are not busy and open to making progress.
Service-oriented jobs are usually available. Professional jobs typically take longer to find. Please check all this out via the internet on job sites.
It helps to think out and plan your job prospects before you come. You can do a lot on the internet. The service oriented jobs are usually available most easily. Some people do move more into permanent positions and many of them have chosen to stay here longer than they planned. (Just wanted to report on what has actually happened to the people who have moved here in the past).
Many people have the idea that you can completely overcome social anxiety in just three months. That is simply not true. You can make some good solid progress that you will notice in that time. You will be in the process of thinking, believing, and feeling differently about yourself and about life. But, the human brain cannot make these huge changes in such a short time frame.
We would not want people expecting that by participating in the therapy for this length of time they will be anxiety-free. Instead, we must be more rational and we want people to stay in the program until they know they are so much better that they can continue to improve if they go home.
Many people are worried about costs... SAI accepts insurance and has a sliding fee scale for those without insurance. We will need proof of financial need, but do not let finances keep you from thinking you can't participate in therapy.
Also, keep in mind that therapy costs occur only in your first all-day Saturday group. After this first group, as you participate in any future behavioral groups, the charge is much less than standard, plus a sliding fee scale exists.
Most who have moved here have been younger single people, for obvious reasons. We encourage people to roommate together with other group members rather than being alone. If you do live alone, it is important to stay as active as possible -- there are always other group members ready to go places or do things with you.
We hope to have residential facilities in the future, but we do not have accommodations at this time on site. Therefore, we cannot guarantee you a roommate. Sometimes people arrive at the same time or a local person has a vacancy, and we will try to help you as much as we can. However, we have no facilities of our own and can't guarantee a roommate will be available.
ALL INFORMATION ON THE PROGRAM AT THE SOCIAL ANXIETY INSTITUTE is on this page.
For additional considerations, please APPLY to the program if you are considering moving here for the therapy.