Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia): Information, tips and help in Berlin & online

Hypnotherapy and Hypnobalancing™ in Berlin

Help with a social phobia

It is understandable when people feel observed in certain social situations and a certain nervousness sets in. However, those who suffer from a social phobia (sociophobia, social phobia) experience severe anxiety at such moments or even at the very thought of it.

What is a social phobia (sociophobia), what is it all about, and what helps?

Social Anxiety Disorder


It is understandable when people feel observed in certain social situations and a certain nervousness sets in. However, those who suffer from a social phobia (sociophobia, social phobia) experience severe anxiety at such moments or even at the very thought of it.

Social phobias manifest themselves in many ways and are thus not always easy to recognize. They range from fears related to specific situations such as public speaking to generalized social fears in a variety of social situations and social relationships.




What is a social phobia?


A social phobia (also called sociophobia) is a distressing, persistent, unrealistic, intense, or limiting fear that occurs in social situations, that is when the sufferer is the center of attention.

Social phobia can arise from an exaggerated reaction to actual experiences or objects. Often, in a social phobia, unpleasant emotions or an avoidance reaction occur for the first time without clear notice. In situations producing anxiety, fears such as the inability to do something otherwise possible, failure, or embarrassment occur.

Affected individuals usually know that their fears are unreasonable and unfounded, but are unable to control or manage their behavior, which leads to avoidance of certain situations.




Typical situations


Typical social situations include:

  • Speaking in front of others
  • Speaking in public
  • Making phone calls
  • Participating in activities with other people
  • Job interviews
  • Being introduced to other people
  • Performing under observation




Symptoms of a social phobia


Social phobias come in a variety of forms. They range from fears related to specific situations such as public speaking to generalized social fears in a variety of social situations and social relationships. This variety sometimes makes it difficult to recognize a social phobia. The essential characteristic of social phobias is the belief that one’s behavior or physical symptoms will be judged as embarrassing by other people.

Fears may focus primarily on one’s own behavior being judged as embarrassing, strange, ridiculous, or a failure, or on blushing, sweating, shaking, or stuttering. Affected individuals may be massively limited by fundamental insecurity about themselves in contact with other people and a negative self-image. Other people affected, however, may be extremely socially competent in most areas of life.

Anxiety can be triggered both in situations where one’s actions might be performed, observed, and evaluated in the presence of others, and in situations where one’s behavior and the reactions of others are interrelated.

As a result of intense anxiety, affected individuals experience a variety of physical symptoms that are characteristic of an elevated level of autonomic nervous system arousal. These can correspond to the symptoms of panic disorder; palpitations, nausea, muscle tension, the experience of loss of control, and also take the course of a panic attack.

Typical are symptoms that are also perceptible to other people; trembling, sweating, and blushing. Affected people experience these symptoms as very severe. They assume that others around them will notice these symptoms and judge them as signs of weakness. This belief manifests itself primarily in feelings of fear and shame, physical tension, and marked avoidance behavior of situations in which confrontation with this negative evaluation is feared. Although the actual extent is usually much lower, often it is not even noticed or negatively evaluated by the environment at all, this does not change the self-perception. Negative perception and interpretation increase the stress reaction and start an unpleasant cycle.


Typical symptoms are:

  • Tension
  • Blushing
  • Stuttering or speech inhibition
  • Trembling
  • Headache or stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Palpitations
  • Feeling of anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Breathing difficulties


Often, social phobias lead to private and professional problems. In many cases, depression is an accompanying symptom, and alcohol is often abused to reduce the perception of the unpleasant symptoms.




Social phobia and anxious introspection


Typical for patients with social phobia is an excessive preoccupation with their own person and the effect they have on other people. This has an impact on social situations.

Social phobics believe that other people are also constantly observing their suspected deficits and their physical reactions, which are harmless in themselves but perceptible to others.

However, the constant anxious introspection increases the tension of the autonomic nervous system, which increases the fear of being considered nervous and being rejected. Social withdrawal and the attempt to behave as inconspicuously as possible prevent positive experiences. Thus, they do not experience that their fellow human beings do not observe or criticize them to the feared extent, and often even appreciate them despite their imagined weaknesses.




Safety behavior in social phobia


People with social phobia typically develop safety behaviors. Safety behaviors are behaviors that individuals use to avoid attracting negative attention, ridicule, or embarrassment. However, it often reinforces anxiety.

Safety behaviors prevent individuals from experiencing how they might experience situations without them. Refraining from safety behaviors allows people to experience how, for example, visible blushing does not occur and conversations can proceed without irritation.

Safety behaviors reinforce self-awareness in social situations. The anxious effort to make a good impression increases self-observation and thereby increases negative self-attention. Reduced outward attention makes it more difficult to notice what is actually happening in the situation. Increased self-attention creates the impression of being the center of attention for others, and that other person must notice the anxiety symptoms.



The comorbidity rate is high. Most of the time, social phobia co-exists with other disorders. In particular, lifetime depression is high, as well as other anxiety disorders. Many clients also have a panic disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder oObsessive-Compulsive Behavior.

In practice, there is a problematic relationship between social phobia and alcoholism. The social phobia most often predates the onset of alcohol problems. Many social phobia sufferers use alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate their distressing anxiety symptoms.

Is social anxiety (Social phobia) simply shyness?





Shyness refers to a tendency to withdraw from people, particularly unfamiliar people. It is a normal personality trait. This means that everyone has some degree of shyness. Some people have a lot of shyness, some have a little, and most have an amount somewhere in between.

Shyness can interfere with interpersonal or professional goals.




Social anxiety


Social anxiety (social phobia) is in its mildest form simply shyness, but when it gets more disabling it becomes what we call a social phobia. It can be generalized, which means that we get extremely anxious in many situations where there might be people around, or it can be specific when it only applies to a certain situation like public speaking or eating out.

Everyone feels shy or anxious in certain social environments, but for some people, it can be a little more extreme. When this is the case, it has a very debilitating effect on life quality. Then it stops us doing the things we would like to. For example, it may affect our confidence to go to work or to make friends and enjoy our lives.

Unhelpful thoughts and predictions make it more difficult to overcome anxiety. Those thoughts also typically play a damaging role just prior to people entering social environments, as they predict they will perform poorly. Similarly, unhelpful thoughts influence people during social situations, as they assume they are not coming across well. To make matters worse, after social situations, people often analyze their performance and assume they have performed poorly. When considering these factors, it is easy to see how unhelpful thoughts stop people overcoming their social anxiety.

Socially anxious people tend to avoid social contact whenever possible. If they cannot avoid it, they tend to try and escape it as quickly as possible. Although this is a very understandable way of coping with social anxiety, it is actually one of the main reasons that people find it hard to overcome. This is because by avoiding social situations, people stop themselves having positive experiences that could disprove some of their unhelpful thoughts. Furthermore, the longer someone avoids a social situation, the more daunting it becomes, and it is increasingly difficult to face.

Social anxiety is a serious problem. No matter what you’re living with, social anxiety can make it much harder to enjoy the activities that lead to happiness and contentment, and that’s why it’s important that you learn how to cure social anxiety.

I’ve worked with many people suffering from social anxiety. Hypnotherapy with Hypnobalancing™ is an effective tool for combatting social anxiety disorder.

Help with a social phobia


Social phobias do not go away on their own, and withdrawal is not a real solution. Get help and don’t wait unnecessarily.

Many proven therapeutic techniques are intensified by hypnosis. Beneficial mental states can be experienced through trance, and previously unused resources are activated. The more anxious control is discarded, the more inner security is experienced. But this is only possible to a limited extent with conscious will.

Through 6-phase Hypnobalancing™ hypnotherapy, underlying conflicts can be resolved. In trance, the causes can be identified, and by releasing unconscious conflicts of the past, perception, thinking, and acting in the present are altered. The use of Hypnobalancing™ promotes helpful states that increase self-awareness and confidence.

Limiting conditioning can be dissolved in trance to promote new beneficial thought patterns. You focus more and more on the solution rather than the problem. A change in focus alone often improves the situation. And easy-to-learn techniques further expand personal influence.

Especially the deep trance of Deep Hypnobalancing™ has a positive effect on the self-organizing abilities of body and mind. Patients more often report feeling tidier and at ease overall.

The number of sessions required varies as much as clients’ personalities and experiences. On average, 5 to 10 sessions are required for treatment.

How to decide to ask for help?


Are you thinking about whether you need professional help to recover? You may feel that you should be able to handle things on your own, or that talking to someone means you are not a strong person. You might be worried that talking about your issue during treatment could make your symptoms worse. It is important to get all those obstacles out of the way.




When asking for help


It is good to know that it is important to help yourself. It’s also important to know when you need to reach out for some help. Therapy can be a good opportunity to learn both aspects of emotional strength, autonomy, and reliance on those you trust.

An experienced therapist will let you choose the pace of your therapy and won't force you to discuss things you're not ready for. Emotional strength involves learning on your own and knowing how and when support is helpful.




How do the symptoms influence your life?


One of the best ways to figure out if assistance is good for you is to consider how much the symptoms you are experiencing interfere with your daily life. Do you have limitations in your personal life, or at work? Are you able to focus? Is it easy for you to build and maintain fulfilling relationships with people? Do you enjoy your life? Is there a feeling in you that your life could be more fulfilling?




Who can assist you?


Are you considering getting my assistance? The easiest way for you to find out is if you know someone I've been able to help. Then you will know firsthand what to expect. If that is not the case, you will find on this website some information that will make it easier for you to get an impression of me. Trust is important, and that's why I aim for transparency.

Your therapist


For about two decades, I am specialized in the field of fears and anxiety disorders. I spend about 20 hours a week helping people to free themselves from their limitations and thereby gain a better quality of life. If you want to know how it all started and what you should know about me, please read my profile. And yes, therapy is a very personal matter: Because it is a very intensive collaboration, I reveal some details about myself. So you can get a first impression of me. Trust is important and that is why I focus on transparency.

The sessions are conducted either in German or English.

Appointment booking


Please read the important information before making an appointment with me, including the contraindications for psychotherapy with hypnotherapy. I have answered frequently asked questions for you. For the success of your therapy, this information is of crucial importance. If this attracts you, then you can find out about booking your appointment here. The better you are informed, the faster we can focus on you and your wishes.

To make an appointment, you can preferably contact me by e-mail ( or by using the contact form (privacy policy) as well as by phone 01577 704 53 56 or 030 - 864 213 69. You will then receive a confirmation of your reservation by e-mail. In this reply, you will find the details for the first session. This usually happens within 24 hours. If you do not receive a reply, it could be because an email has ended up in the spam filter. In such a case, please call me.

There are only a few practice hours available, and they want to be used well. The fee for individual session hours is therefore always to be paid in full by bank transfer, with payment received at least 7 days before the session.

Why at least 7 days in advance? I would like to do it differently, but this is the best practice. Appointments that have not been confirmed with payment received seven days in advance are noticeably more likely to be canceled. And the repeated callbacks take up a lot of time. Because of this, I'm currently faced with the decision of whether and how to either significantly adjust fees to absorb this or to consistently organize in a way that is fair to all parties. Because of this, I am also offering options in terms of shifting appointments with the fees.

There is a maximum of 20 hours a week available for psychotherapy, and any canceled appointment means patients are unable to benefit from psychotherapy help. I understand that it would be more convenient for you otherwise, but this solution is the fairest for all involved.

You can use real-time bank transfer (costs 25 Ct. at Sparkasse Berlin, for example) for time-sensitive appointments, and the transfer takes a few minutes, or we can make an appointment with appropriate advance preparation. If this is not an option for you, please let me know immediately so that I can assign your appointment. Otherwise, I appreciate your understanding and look forward to intensive cooperation.

What does hypnotherapy cost?


Here are some organizational details. Please read them before the appointment reservation. People often ask, "How much does hypnotherapy cost?" What is meant by this are the presumed total costs, which result from the fee and the duration of the psychotherapy with hypnotherapy.




Fee for psychotherapy


The fee per session hour of psychotherapy (60 minutes) for appointments from Monday to Thursday from 10:00 to 18:00:

The fees for psychotherapy are exempt from VAT according to § 4 No. 14 a) UStG.

The first session usually lasts 90 minutes. Outside the mentioned business hours (Monday and Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.) I add a 35 % surcharge. The minimum duration of a session is 60 minutes, billing beyond that in 30-minute units. The minimum duration of a session is 60 minutes, billing beyond that in 30-minute units.

The fees do not include travel, accommodation, and allowance costs, which will be charged to the client. For traveling on my behalf: The costs for the journey will be charged according to time and effort. Within Berlin, at least an hourly fee is charged. Relevant is the individual agreement.

Postponement of meetings: For hourly fees A. and B. sessions that last up to 120 minutes can be once rescheduled up to 72 hours in advance (only weekdays count Monday till Friday, no holidays), longer sessions, or more than 120 minutes within 7 days at least 14 days in advance. Otherwise, they will be charged in full.

You can't come to my practice? Switch to a session with video or use your telephone.

Method of payment: The fee must always be paid in full by bank transfer 7 days before the session. I will send you details by mail so that you are well-informed.

Right of rescission: If registration by consumers for an event is made by telephone, letter, e-mail, or online form, the provisions of the Distance Selling Act shall apply. If the intended start of the event at the time of registration is within the withdrawal period according to the Fernabsatzgesetz (Distance Selling Act), the registration is considered a request to start the service within the withdrawal period. You have the right to revoke a service order/date without giving reasons. This is possible within 14 days of the order by telephone and in writing.



Cost coverage by health insurance companies and other insurers


Usually, the fee is not paid by national health insurance companies. Please contact your insurance company to find out about their policy details. Please discuss this with your insurer in advance. You will receive an invoice from me with classification according to ICD-10. Should applications etc. be necessary, we can do this together during the meetings.




Therapy duration


The first therapy session lasts 90 minutes, subsequent sessions can also be 60 minutes long. The number of sessions required is as varied as the personalities and situations of the clients. For anxiety disorders, I usually see clients for 3 to 8 sessions. Frequently, this question can be estimated by the clients themselves after the second session. I will then also give you an estimation based on previous experience.

Just ask me personally.


Let's talk. Please read the privacy policy. If you are interested, you can contact me for questions and appointments via this contact form or by e-mail (, phone 030/86421369, and mobile phone 01577/7045356. The best time to contact me by telephone is Monday to Thursday between 9.00 am and 6.00 pm. During sessions, there is an answering machine. Leave a message and your phone number in Germany, and I'll call you back as soon as possible. Make sure I understand what you are asking for.

You can find answers to frequently asked questions, such as fees, on the home page. There are also lots of articles and details about me (profile) to help you get an idea of who I am. This will also make it easier for you to decide if I am the right therapist for you and your problem.




I have read and accept the privacy policy.


In the address bar of your browser, the URL should begin with "". This indicates a secure connection (SSL). Whether you enter your real name is up to you.

You are not in Berlin or prefer an alternative instead of coming to me?


You are not in Berlin or do not want or cannot come to the practice for other reasons? Then it is worth reading the following information about the options:


a. Travel to Berlin


For clients traveling to Berlin, there is the possibility, if booked in advance, to hold 2 sessions on the same day. It should be discussed in advance by telephone whether this is a recommendable option, as it requires appropriate prerequisites. Any sources of additional pressure should be avoided in the interest of the therapeutic success.

Here you will find further information when considering to travel to me in Berlin.



b. Online sessions


At times a personal meeting is not possible. In such cases, a telephone session or a session with video support via the Internet is an alternative or supplement. I have been using this setting for many years, and many clients have achieved excellent results with it. These experiences make it easy to achieve very intensive sessions in this way as well. You are more flexible and can also use my support very promptly. There are currently reduced fees for such sessions.

You are also on the safe side regarding the coronavirus. By the way, this is also an option if you should be unexpectedly unable to attend a session personally.​

Preparation for the first session


With the confirmation of your appointment, you will receive recommendations on how to prepare for your first session with me. With your appointment confirmation, you will receive recommendations on how to prepare for your first session with me. You will also get an overview of what to consider regarding the Coronavirus during in-office appointments and how to prepare best for online sessions.​




The first session: Step by step 


The optimal prerequisites are set right at the beginning. In the first meeting, we create the basis for intensive cooperation. Step by step:




1. Preparation


The first session is generally 90 minutes so that there is enough time for an in-depth preliminary discussion, in which we can clarify questions. Then we begin with a detailed dialogue, with the anamnesis, in order to adapt the therapeutic plan individually to your personal needs. For this purpose, we define your goals and motives and discuss the steps.




2. First intervention


As soon as you are ready for it, we get to work. You set the pace. In the second part of the session, we figure out the easiest way to get you into a comfortable, relaxed hypnotic state. You will experience an introductory trance. This enables access to your unconscious and permits initial suggestions. How far we proceed with this in the first session will be determined by your reactions. Finally, I gently lead you out of the trance.




3. Evaluation, options, and outlook


Following the first trance, I will respond to your questions, and we will discuss how to proceed with your hypnotherapy. In most cases, you will receive recommendations you can apply to complement and enhance the work we do together, even beyond the sessions. It is crucial that you not only feel better in the session, but also have an improvement in your everyday life. The more effectively we work together, the sooner I make myself superfluous as your therapist. That's it!




When appropriate, I will teach you self-hypnosis to complement the hypnosis sessions. Self-hypnosis is a tool to control unconscious processes and thus mental states by yourself.

After you enjoyed positive trance experiences with my support, you can learn self-hypnosis very quickly. This helps you to progress self-determined. It accelerates the process, deepens, and consolidates what has been achieved in the therapy sessions. Your autonomy is thus fostered. A good therapist makes himself superfluous as soon as possible. Self-hypnosis is an excellent method of self-help that can be used beyond the actual issue.

Be sure to read the following notice


Before contacting me, please read the detailed information about fees, booking, contraindications to hypnotherapy and answers to other frequently asked questions (FAQ).

These pages are intended to provide information for those interested in psychotherapy using hypnotherapy. It is not intended to replace psychotherapy or personal consultation, examination or diagnosis by a licensed medical practitioner. I am not a medical doctor. I specialize in helping people with anxiety and anxiety disorders. The profession of a hypnotherapist (official license to practice psychotherapy according to the HPG) is fundamentally different from that of a medical doctor. Medical diagnoses are not made, nor are promises of healing made or medication prescribed. Hypnotherapy is not a substitute for medical or psychiatric intervention where this is required.

If you have any questions about psychotherapy with hypnosis, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to inform you.




Do you know my kind of fear?

Do you know my kind of fear?

Sometimes I get telephone calls or emails with the question if I have heard about this specific type of fear before. Most of the time I can say „Yes!“ and other times I am surprised. Truth is that the list of fears and phobias is endless.

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Is stage fright the same as social anxiety disorder?

Is stage fright the same as social anxiety disorder?

A bit of anxiety in front of an audience is a common experience but severe stage fright, also known as performance anxiety, can be diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder if a number of criteria are met. For example, in case you nearly always experience physical symptoms in the feared situation, and the fear severely impacts your daily functioning.

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Published: March 1, 2008
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: August 15, 2023
Translation: May 26, 2009
AN: #34336

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