Michelle Massi, LMFT, Talks All Things Social Anxiety

We are thrilled to share with you an episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast that focuses entirely on managing Social Anxiety.  There have been so many requests and suggestions about this.  I’m also very excited to share with you the wonderful Michelle Massi (formally Michelle Otelsberg).

Don’t miss this podcast episode!

You can listen to the episode for FREE on iTunes HERE

You can listen to the episode for FREE on Stitcher HERE

You can listen to the episode for FREE streaming HERE

As a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT), Michelle Massi specializes in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Anxiety.  Michelle has a private practice in Westwood and Encino (both in Los Angeles), and works at the UCLA Adult OCD Intensive Outpatient Program.  Michelle does individual therapy, as well as group therapy, and has much experience treating OCD, Panic Disorder, TICS, Social Anxiety, Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior’s (BFRBs), and other anxiety-related disorders.

Michelle and I address all things Social Anxiety in this podcast episode!  As Michelle discusses, Social Anxiety involves someone struggling in social settings (either one-on-one or in large groups).  She addresses the misnomer that social anxiety manifests in large groups: it can happen in one-on-one conversations and relationships as well.  Those experiencing social anxiety are often worried about doing something stupid, embarrassing themselves, or not saying the right thing.  Physical symptoms emerge as well, such as heart racing, sweating, etc. There is also a lot of avoidance with social anxiety, which involves not participating in things that could possibly embarrass the person struggling.

is not a one-size-fits-all approach, or a cookie cutter description, of Social Anxiety and how it presents.

Michelle and I talk about perfectionism and how it relates to social anxiety.  Those struggling with social anxiety may presume that if they make a mistake, their friends will stop being hanging out with them.  However, I talk about my relief in someone making a mistake because it shows me that I do not have to be perfect either!

We address the use of Exposure & Response Prevention, Cognitive Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). 

To have a client understand exposures and be willing to carry them out, Michelle talks about the process she takes with clients: psychoeducation about how the brain/body works and why they are reacting, the false alarms they get, showing clients what exposures look like, modeling her own thoughts and behaviors, and cognitive reframing.

Some examples of exposures for Social Anxiety include: looking weird and taking selfies in public, going into a restaurant and taking a long time to order, asking someone a really dumb question, and asking someone on the UCLA campus how to get to USC.

Visit the below for further information about Michelle Massi, the UCLA OCD Intensive Outpatient Program, and Anxiety Therapy LA:

UCLA OCD Program: https://www.semel.ucla.edu/ocd-itp

Anxiety Therapy LA: Anxietytherapyla.com

Instagram: @anxietytherapyla


About Kimberley Quinlan

Kimberley Quinlan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Eating Disorders, Panic Disorder and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s).  Kimberley is highly trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with a heavy emphasis on Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), and has been practicing meditation and mindfulness for many years.  Kimberley has a special interest in the integration of mindfulness principles with CBT for OCD, Anxiety Disorders, and Eating Disorders.  Kimberley has experience treating adults, adolescents, and children, and tailors each program to suit the age and cognitive development of each client.  Kimberley has a private practice in Calabasas and Westlake Village. 

For more information, you can find Kimberley at the following:

Website: https://kimberleyquinlan-lmft.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kimberleyquinlan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberleyQuinlanCBTschool/