Social anxiety can really impact your basic enjoyment of life, and getting over it is easier said than done, especially when therapists can cost upwards of thousands. But there is hope. Using cognitive behavioural therapy, Joyable is a new app that promises to help you overcome your social anxiety. We chatted with Peter Shalek, co-founder and CEO of Joyable.

SDTC: Why has social anxiety become such a prominent problem for more and more people? 

We believe technology can drive increased social anxiety in a couple ways:

Lack of practice: Social interactions become easier and more natural with repetition. When you haven’t spoken to someone on the phone in months, it feels more awkward than if you speak with them weekly. The challenge is that technology allows us to avoid certain interactions, making things that once felt natural feel increasingly uncomfortable. For example, a number of our clients report anxiety when they have to make phone calls. When phone calls were required on a daily basis – to connect with friends, make appointments, or order pizza – they were less daunting to most. Today, that is much harder. I have friends who will order dinner from a place they like less just because they can do it online, rather than by phone.
Feelings of social inadequacy: Social media breeds feelings of inadequacy, which is one of the underlying factors of social anxiety. For most, social media platforms like Facebook capture the happy moments in people’s lives. As a result, the world we see online is an idealized version; most often, we don’t see the difficulties people experience. The result is that people increasingly hold themselves to unrealistic expectations with social interactions. When they have a terse or awkward interaction with someone, they don’t realize that’s normal in day-to-day life.

How does Joyable work?

Our coaches are trained in cognitive behavioural therapy techniques and provide support, accountability, and motivation for clients as they progress through our program. Coaches interact with clients via phone, text, email, or instant message – whichever way the client prefers.

What is the time investment people have to put into CBT in order to get something out of it?

Our program is twelve weeks on average, but many people start to see the benefit much sooner. Research shows that it’s the number of activities clients complete, not the amount of time, that drives anxiety reduction. Each activity takes about ten minutes to complete and we recommend completing activities every few days. See here for more on our outcomes.

Curious? Try it here; they have a money-back guarantee.