The Local Phoenix Group is held on Saturdays. New members attend the group, starting at 9:00am, and returning members attend the group starting at 12:00 pm. Although the groups are scheduled to end at 2pm, sometimes we go longer due to amount of therapy that needs to be done. Activities for the week are planned before the end of the meeting.
All groups are open and friendly. Only people with social anxiety are members. We will move along in an easy, step by step manner, with no pressure being put on you. You do not need to say or do anything until you feel ready to participate. It is much easier to participate in the group than you think. We do not want you to have or to reinforce anxiety. We will come at the problem completely differently than you've ever done before. We will take one little step a time -- one that will cause only the smallest amount of nervousness -- and gradually move up from there. The small, or incremental, steps help you make forward progress much faster than you think.
Doing the therapy, cognitive and behavioral, and hanging out with other group members will change your life completely. The brain does learn new rational thoughts and habits, and you learn to reduce and keep reducing anxiety, day by day. We want to stay consistent with our persistence in doing the therapy every day. It's not hard to do at all -- most people say it's fairly easy, in fact.
Morning Session 9:00am – 10:30am
Discussion of the cognitive/rational therapy solutions. No one is singled out, called on, or made the center of attention. Remember that Dr. Richards had a strong case of social anxiety, so he understands that you do not wish to be asked questions, or introduce yourself, etc. right away. You move along at your own pace. We do not pressure you to do things. The motivation to get better must come from you. You speak when you want to speak, and there is no pressure to say anything until you feel ready to do so. Please ask any and all questions you want, but you will never be pressured to respond.
Morning Behavioral Session 10:30-11:30 am
Lunch Break 11:30am – 12noon
Bring a sack lunch and eat at the institute, or you can get food from restaraunts and delicatessens, all of which are within one mile of the Social Anxiety Institute. You can eat anywhere you'd like, both inside or outside the therapy house.
Afternoon Behavioral Session 12noon – 2:00pm
This is the behavioral portion of therapy, when we put what we’re learning (cognitively) together with our actions (behaviors). We do this systematically and methodically, always working one step at a time. We are always focused on solutions: what you can do today to help you overcome social anxiety. No pressure is ever used. You will never be made the center of attention so that, rationally, you will not need to feel self-conscious. You have to volunteer to do something (you will see all of this happening before you decide to do it) before you do it. We always start at square one --where it doesn't cause anxiety -- and work our way up gently. You are the person in charge of this. The rule is to take one (but only one) step at a time. If you stick with it, you will see progress as you continue along. A little bit of progress at a time.
Getting over social anxiety completely is the goal of the Social Anxiety Institute and all its programs.
Planning Next Week's Activities 1:45-2:00pm
Group members talk about and decide what evening activities they want to participate in. The nightly behavioral activities are part of the CBT program and cannot be ignored.