The course is accesessed via www.aboutsocialanxiety.com– Social anxiety masterclass. The cost is currently $164.40 which equates to approximately £135.00 in the UK. There is an orange button to “Enroll now”. Payment is via Paypal or debit/credit card.
The first section of the course is a video introduction and guide to the course format i.e there will be a video and workbook for each module. A mention of the bonus materials i.e CBT guide. An invite to join the Facebook group – Arlin mentions that this is the best way to interact with her as well as others on the course. She also provides and email address she can becontacted directly.
The introductory page and video explains a bit about Arlin’s experience with SA – in particular public speaking phobia but the course is intended for all types of socal anxiety. The idea of the course is to help you come up with a plan to manage your anxiety rather than a claim for the course to ‘cure’.
Module 1: Understanding your SA- this section requires you to look at your symptoms (physical, cognitive, behavioural). To look at any ‘areas of concern’ i.e work situation, friendships, family, sleeping, habits etc. Liebowitz social anxiety scale – free online test – take this at the start so that it can be compared with a score at the end of the course. Looks into potential causes of SA i.e genetics, environment, brain biology. Goal setting – pick 5 goals you’d like to achieve by the end of the course. The workbook breaks each of these areas up and offers more questions to look into each point. At the end of every workbook there is a chance to reflect on what you have learnt which I like, as often with these things you just want to steam through and get to the end and find the solution.
This module also has a bonus page on safety behaviours and unhelpful thinking styles i.e catastrophizing etc.
Module 2: Treatment plan- this section raises the point of whether or not you’d like to get a diagnosis and how this can be useful i.e accommodations at work/school. Talks about types of treatments available, discusses the medication available and whether or not this might be right for the individual (NB Arlin is Canadian and lives in Canada). A section on therapy and types CBT, ACT, psychoanalysis, online vs in-person etc. Things you can change in your lifestyle and how you can self-help i.e habits and courses. The workbook includes a flow chart to see what your next move should be i.e go to your doctor or finding a therapist. The workbook also encourages you to set up a monthly plan and use a habit tracker. This module also offers some links to apps, books, self-help ideas.
Module 3: Building confidence and self esteem- What is self confidence – inner and outer confidence and how this can show up in different forms for everyone. Recommends looking into Chris MacLeod’s work www.suceedsocially.com. Looks at what might cause low self esteem (trauma, genes, media messages etc). The workbook provides a link to a free online test (Rosenbergs self esteem test). You are asked to write down your strengths and weaknesses and a list of your values. For both the inner and outer confidence section you are asked to choose 3 ways you might improve this for yourself in the next 90 days. Again there is the chance to set goals and reflect as well as a list of resources.
Module 4: Creating the social life you want- Looking at your social life in the form of a wheel divided into sections such as ‘close friends’, ‘extended family’, ‘significant other’, ‘friends from hobbies’ etc. You are asked to rate how well you score this area of your life and what your ideal score would be- the aim is to give you areas you might like to focus on. There are suggestions for meeting new people and for making plans. Again there is a section for goal setting and the chance to reflect. There is some bonus reading material on dating life, work and building an online report.
Warning One thing that I will say is some of these things are not do able for people with severe social anxiety, Arlin does highlight this and say go back to module one if you feel that this is out of your reach as this module is more for people who feel ‘better’. As the early section of this programme is understanding social anxiety and then looking into treatment- I do think that buying this as a product if I was in a really difficult period of SA I would find it quite upsetting that I would be unable to complete a big chunk of the course until I had perhaps signed up to therapy / getting medication which in itself could take a very long time.
Final thoughts and next steps- In this section you’re asked to reassess Liebowitz scale, wheel of social life and Rosenberg scale – every 90 days. Arlin talks a lot about gradual growth and not expecting huge changes and speaks of this again in the final thoughts in relation to goal setting.
The additional resources which come with the course are some handy bonuses! A CBT workbook, Mindfulness workbook, social skills workbook, self confidence journal and a workbook for performance anxiety and a link to using progressive muscle relaxation.
All in all its a useful programme, I like the way each module has a video and then quite a detailed workbook with prompts and questions designed to make you think about specifics relating to your anxiety. I’ve mentioned before I like that there is a section to reflect in each module and I also think that the goal setting makes it feel more like a course/ programme – which I think is a good thing. The worksheets look professional and the site is easy to use. I do personally think that the masterclass is very expensive- I know a lot of work will have gone into creating it and time has been spent on the videos being recorded etc. However, lots of the information given in the course is already available in free or lower cost resources. Having said that I hadn’t properly come across progressive muscle relaxation for performance anxiety before – so it is good to have lots of suggestions and resources in one place.