Sabrina is a 22-year-old fresh graduate who began working at a Big 4 company. During her first few weeks of work, she was commended for her high work ethic and attention to detail.
Though many have labeled her “shy”, her coworkers did not realize the extent of her social impairment until she gave a presentation. When providing an overview of her quarterly performance, Sabrina felt all eyes on her. She thought that she would surely embarrass herself and that this would make others evaluate her negatively. Perceiving everyone was judging her, she felt her heart racing and began experiencing shortness of breath. Her extreme fear of judgment impaired her performance, leading audience members to question her presentation’s content.
To make matters worse, she began avoiding future presentations. Consequently, this stagnated her career and prevented her from receiving promotions. Following this negative experience, her fear intensified and arose in nearly all social situations. This caused Sabrina a great deal of distress. She intensely feared situations in which she might have to socialize with others and was terrified at the prospect of being trapped in a situation that required her to engage in small-talk. Moreover, Sabrina began avoiding any social interactions she could. She has also got in the habit of rehearsing her comments several times to herself before speaking to others.