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Nowadays, the psychological and behavioral problems are common. A person who experiences such problems faces challenges in his/her daily life pursuits, social performance, and interactions with other people. The societal norms and standards of behavior put pressure on the human psychological state and well-being. When a person fails to meet high demands of the society, can’t comply with all the rules and requirements, or experiences conflicts and abuse in childhood, the different forms of anxiety occur.
No matter what causes provoke the disorder development, the psychological therapy addresses all the multiple issues of human behavior and psychological problems: from the slightest to the most severe ones. The given research is devoted to the investigation of social phobia and its impacts on the performance in the various aspects of life. The main question of the research is as following: how does the social phobia affect the individual’s social functioning and quality of life?
Nowadays, social phobia is one of the most prevalent psychological disorders, and the public and clinical attention to the issue is continuously growing. Nevertheless, the analysis of the previous literature has demonstrated that the investigation of the disorder’s causes and the potential methods of treatment are insufficient. The evaluation of the problems relevant to the topic is based on the review of the claims and findings in the peer-reviewed articles by Wong, Sarver, Beidel, Kessler, Marteinsdottir, Svensson, Svedberg, Anderberg, Knorring.
“Social phobia is characterized by extreme fear in social or performance situations in which the individual may be exposed to embarrassment or scrutiny by others, which creates occupational, social and academic impairment” (Wong, Sarver, & Beidel, 2011, p. 50). The scholars dispute about the causes of the social anxiety disorder occurrence, and the different research findings emphasize the distinct causal factors and implications. According to Marteinsdottir et al. (2007), one of the impacts on the development of social phobia in individual can be caused by the negative life events (p. 207). The experienced assaults, verbal and physical aggression, familial conflicts, a lack of close relationships with parents and other adults in childhood, etc. are considered the risk factors for the disorder in a person.
Social phobia interferes with the social functioning of the individuals. The main characteristics of the social anxiety include “excessive fears about social situations that lead to either avoidance of these situations or to extreme distress when in these situations” (Kessler, 2003, p. 20). As the result, the quality of life declines. The people with social phobia experience challenges in the social and personal relationship, low working and educational productivity, financial constraints and dependency.
Despite the evident negative effects on the individual’s psychological well-being caused by the social anxiety, the rates of the disorder treatment stay lower comparing to the other mental problems. There are two basic explanations for this found in the recent research. Firstly, people with social phobia “by the very nature of their disorder, are often more embarrassed than other people about seeking professional help for emotional problems” (Kessler, 2003, p. 24). And secondly, the majority of individuals with this form of anxiety do not regard their problems as the psychological ones and prefer to see them as the social problems.
For the achievement of the positive outcomes in restoring of social phobia, the specialists suggest to include the assessments of the life quality and life events in the psychological treatment procedures (Wong, Sarver, & Beidel, 2011, p. 55; Marteinsdottir et al., 2007, p. 211). As a frequent result of social phobia, the secondary disorders and comorbid states, such as depression, occur in the individual. And the secondary disorders should be treated separately from social phobia.
The findings of the located research papers make it clear that social anxiety is a complex issue, and its treatment requires the thorough examination of the individual’s experience and life conditions. Since the issue is complicated in its nature, the profound knowledge and competence of the clinical specialist play the essential role in the resolving of disorder in patients.
The articles take different perspectives on the investigation of social phobia, but it is possible to say that the ideas claimed in the articles can be regarded as the credible and reliable sources for the current research. The main themes included in the research questions include the definition of social phobia and its causes, the impacts on quality of life and social performance, and, as a consequence, the potential methods of treatment. And the reviewed articles are comprised of the sufficient information to address all the themes relevant to the research objective.
The researchers agree in defining the social phobia as “a disabling…, lifelong disorder… characterized by fear of humiliation in social performance and/or interactional situations” (Marteinsdottir et al., 2007, p. 207). The main arguments in the articles concerned with the negative impacts of the mental disorder on the individual’s quality of life, ability to interrelate with other members of society, life satisfaction, professional and academic achievements, etc. (Wong, Sarver, & Beidel, 2011, p. 50). These claims provide the sufficient and comprehensive information for answering the formulated question.
However, there is a number of controversies in an attempt to establish the reasons for the disorder occurrence. It is observed that social phobia commences development in childhood and adolescence, and the experienced psychological traumas can be regarded as one of the risk factors for the disorder (Kessler, 2004, p. 19; Marteinsdottir et al., 2007, p. 207).
The controversies of the findings in the studies can be explained by the different methods and tools applied in the works. At the same time, the differences let to take a look at the issue from the different sides, and in a certain sense, they constitute the holistic picture of the problem. The differences in research findings also make it clear that the issue is multidimensional in its nature, and the further research of social phobia can assist in the elaboration of the effective methods of treatment.
According to Granello (2001), “comprehensive literature reviews involve more than simply a recitation of information gleaned from other sources” (p. 293). The researcher needs to evaluate and assess the material provided by the other authors. The research implies the cognition and rational thinking through which a scholar attempts to support his/her own ideas and theories. The literature review is meant to assist in verification of the original and authentic conclusions. In case the researcher excludes the rationale from the work, the research paper cannot become credible and valuable. The literature review thus should be regarded as a part of the research, but the primary practitioner-scholar efforts must be directed to the original tasks fulfillment and writing and authenticity of writing.
The research conduction is one of the principle aspects of the professional practice of psychology. Therefore, a practitioner-scholar should know all the rules and standards needed for the conduction of the research. The reviews of the previous prominent works in psychology are of great use because by the evaluation of other authors’ ideas and concepts one proves the relevance of his/her ideas to the subject and the field in the whole. The compliance with the ethics in writing is important as well. By referencing the sources and citing the authors according to the APA style formatting the scholar shows respect to the colleagues and at the same time demonstrates his/her own professionalism.
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The ideal vision of the professional in psychology necessarily includes the individual’s ability in the scholastic research writing. One of the main practitioner-scholar skills is the ability to implement the theoretic knowledge in the professional practice. Research serves as a mean for the determination of the appropriate methods for the patients’ treatment, the investigation of the psychological problems and their causes, etc. All these goals help the psychologist to elevate the level of professionalism and make the valuable contribution to the field.
The practitioner-scholar model in education and work is based on the values of psychology as the science and it offers “an integrated approach to knowledge” (Meara et al., 1988, p. 368). Along with the skills of the high-quality research paper writing, a practitioner-scholar in psychology has to be able to integrate the theoretic knowledge in practice when counseling the patients or simply being involved in the professional discussion.
First of all, the specialist in psychology needs to pay a lot of attention to the building of professional knowledge through learning, communication, training, and personal experience. The profound knowledge lays the foundation for the professional competence. However, merely the conversance with the theories isn’t sufficient, and it should be complemented by other skills such as the critical thinking capabilities and the communicational skills.
The right balance between the theory and practice is critical to the success in specialization. The skills of critical thinking and evaluation can help to achieve the necessary balance. The ability to analyze the abundant information helps in detection of psychological disorder symptoms and the following establishment of the patient’s diagnosis. Moreover, the development of the analytical capabilities increases the flexibility of the mind and helps to see the problems from the various perspectives.
The interviews with the experienced specialists help to develop the skills of the communication at the professional level. The interviews provide the opportunity for the graduates to apply their knowledge in discussion and provoke the cognitive processes. Due to the relative level of the students’ experience, the professional conversations with the psychologists and scholars have the multiple positive impacts on their development that consequently will reflect in their working performance and outcomes.
Professional Requirements in Psychology
As in many other customer-oriented and academic professions, work in psychology should be verified by legal documents such as licenses, accreditations, and certificates. The practice of psychology is regulated both on the national and the regional states. And in some cases, psychologists can become confused when facing the controversial legal and ethical requirements. However, in case a critical question arise, it is possible to address for legal advice and consultation to the local state board (American Psychological Association, 2003, p. 596).
The psychological organizations in different states can have different standards and norms of professional conduct. However, the “Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct” elaborated by the American Psychological Organization (APA), is regarded as one of the main sources that provides the legal and ethical regulations needed in the profession. The Ethics Code covers all the necessary information for the psychological practice. The ethical and the legal duties are described there.
For example, one of the most evident legal and ethical duties of any psychologist is the maintenance of confidentiality. The concept of confidentiality determines the professional relationships with clients, and it is commonly regarded as the act of the personal information preservation. Although the difference between laws and ethics takes place, “in the process of making decisions regarding their professional behavior, psychologist must consider this Ethics Code in addition to applicable laws and psychology board regulations” (American Psychological Association, 2002, p. 1062).
For obtaining the independent practice license, a psychologist needs to meet several requirements. The requirements may vary depending on the state, but usually, the applicants need to pass the oral examination, to show the doctoral degree, and prove that he/she has a few years of the supervised practice experience. The licenses are issued by the state licensing boards authorized by the government.
American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57, 1060-1073.
American Psychological Association. (2003). Legal issues in the professional practice of psychology. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 34(6), 595-600.
Granello, D. H. (2001). Promoting cognitive complexity in graduate written work: Using Bloom’s taxonomy as a pedagogical tool to improve literature reviews. Counselor Education & Supervision, 40(4), 292–307.
Kessler, R. C. (2003). The impairments caused by social phobia in the general population: Implications for intervention. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 108(417), 19–27.
Marteinsdottir, I., Svensson, A., Svedberg, M., Anderberg, U. A., & Knorring, L. (2007). The role of life events in social phobia. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 61, 207-212.
Meara, N. M., Schmidt, L. D., Carrington, C. H., Davis, K. L., Dixon, D. N., Fretz, B. R., Myers, R. A., Ridley, C. R., & Suinn, R. M. (1988). Training and accreditation in counseling psychology. The Counseling Psychologist, 16, 366-384.
Wong, N., Sarver, D., & Beidel, D. (2011). Quality of life impairments among adults with social phobia: The impact of subtype. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 26, 50-57.