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Participants feedback

How does it feel to go to the group for the first time? What happens during a session? Can the group help? 
The written feedback below may help answer some of your questions.
Most of these messages are taken from the SASH section of the discussion board on the SA-UK website.

" I thoroughly enjoyed last night's meeting and i felt my intial feelings of being hopeful were well founded as the evening progressed. I'd like to say thanks for hosting the evening since i felt it was very productive for everybody there. And the pub session was afterwards was also enjoyable since i got to know a few people better."

Andy - email received January 2012

"Hi everyone. Would like to let you all know that the the London Social Anxiety Self-Help Group (known as the SASH Group) is a very enjoyable group meeting, they meet on mondays at 6:30pm near Old Street. I have been going for a few weeks now and would recommend the group. Its a very good way to help you overcome your social anxiety, so take a chance you have nothing to loose." 

Posted on website May 2011

"Hi, I have attended SASH a few times and would recommend it to anyone who is devoid of social interaction, there is no pressure, it's a calm relaxing environment. I've talked to more people in a single SASH meet than I'd otherwise would do in a typical month, something I find very helpful."

Posted on website October 2010


last Monday I was at the SASH meeting for the first time and I was pleased at how refreshed and motivated I felt when I left. 
I want to thank everyone: Stefano for leading the group with confidence and support; the people to whom I confided a tiny bit of my fears, who in turn did the same to me; the ones that found the courage to stand up and perform in front of the others, which they did it in a superbly entertaining way; and all the others who simply with their presence helped in making the meeting a very positive experience.
Thanks and I look forward to go back this Monday."
Posted on website March 2010

"Hello every one!

I have been attending the SA self-hep meetings for the past 6 months and thought to share with you my experiences with the group. Meeting people with SA and sharing with them my life-long struggle with the disorder was an amazing experience for me. At first i was frightened to attend these meetings as i had never attended meetings of this kind in my life before. I thought in order to conquer my SA i have to do something about it and face my fears. So i psyched myself up and attended my first meeting back last summer. It was the best decision i’ve ever made. Contrary to my irrational fears and negative anticipations the meeting was one of the best experiences of my life. I had the opportunity to meet people whose ‘patterns of thinking’ are similar to mine and shared with them my experiences with SA. I must admit it was nerve racking at first but with time it became less intimidating. Although i am fully aware that the journey to recovery paved with obstacles, i can already feel some improvements. The insights i am gaining into many aspects of SA and the relaxation techniques I‘ve learned from the group are helping me cope with my day-today social situations. I recommend anyone suffering from social anxiety to attend these meetings. Good luck"
Email received February 2010


This Monday I attended the Social anxiety self help group for the second time and I am more than happy with the experience. In my opinion this groups give people the oportunity to materialize all that information that we get from books, therapists, etc. This is a great oportunity to challenge, in a safe enviroment, all those unhealthy thoughts that we have fostered for so long, and to create new experiences that overrun those missconceptions from the past. 

I personaly haven’t felt this comfortable in a group of people for a long time, I don’t feel threaten or intimidated in any way, and only for that it’s just worth chcking it out. 

I think Stefano is doing a great job; he is guiding the group through all these incredibly simple but effective exercises with respect, support and regard towards everyone.

It’s a go-go for me. "

Posted on website February 2010

"Helloo everyone

Just wanted to say that I went to a SASH group meet and it was very inspiring to be around such nice people sharing their experiences of social anxiety. It was a very supportive, comfortable, interesting, confidence-boosting environment..I got to talk (it was nerve wrecking as well that pass quickly since everyone is in the same boat) to people about my personal journey in having social anxiety for many years and the ways I am practising to try and get better on daily basis which was very therapeutic for me since those people undestands what I am going through..also some people were sharing tips in what made them conquer their pannic which was very helpful since I get them sometimes too...

I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to feel more positive about dealing with social anxiety because it does really help to be part of this non-judgmental, fun, supportive group. Wonderful people!!

I was very nervous about going there but now I am looking forward to it!!
Hope to see you there."

Posted January 2010

"Hi Everyone

I've been to the SASH event several times now. I just wanted to recommend it to anyone who has social anxiety. I have found it extremely useful in helping to decrease my anxiety. 

It's an extremly comfortable setting (everyone sits on a big pillow), no one is forced to do anything, theres no pressure. The evening starts off with an ice breaker (nothing too intense) and its then followed by one to one activities. Later on Stefano encourages people to share their thoughts and experiences with the group but again you don't have to if you don't want to. 

The group consists of a mix of people. Everyone there is very understanding. Stefano is also very good, his calm demeanour helps you to relax. He's very understanding since he himself is/was a sufferer of social anxiety."

Posted October 2009

"The first time I went to the SASH Group I almost didn't make it through the door because the fear + adrenalin was unbearable, but I took the chance. 
I arrived slightly late and the class had already started. I didn't feel self-conscious because no one stopped what they were doing and put their attention on me. I just sat down and joined in, which was throwing a ball randomly to someone while saying your name. 
At the end of the class I felt good as I found it beneficial. For example one of the tasks was 'eye contact' (which I struggle with).
Yesterday was my second visit and i was a little apprehensive but I relaxed as soon as the session began. 
Its comforting to know that Stefano has experienced Social Anxiety and that he is there to help. 
I would rather go to the SASH Group than go see a top psychologist because I feel that Stefano can empathise. 
It has been an amazing experience for me to be in a room full of people with SA because irrationally my mind told me I was on my own. 
Everyone that I spoke to was very friendly which put me at ease and I am now looking forward to the next meeting."
Email received April 2009

"Tonight I feel like I’ve made a very important first step towards overcoming social anxiety. As I left SASH I felt happier than I have done in a long time…like I’ve achieved something that I can be proud of. And also I feel like I’m no longer ‘the only one’ who has this problem…there are other people out there who are just like me and it’s so good to no longer feel like an alien, and to have a safe environment in order to talk about social anxiety and share experiences of it. I already cannot wait for next Monday’s group!"
Received October 2008

"Went to the SASH meeting last night. Gained some valuable insights into safety behaviours and how they can help me (in the long term) and not just hinder me. The meeting is so well run, making you feel able and brave enough to come forward."

Received October 2008

"I feel that the group is a good way if not the only way to meet people with SA as extreme as my own. The group is well led by Stefano who makes sure that nobody is put out of their depth without wanting to do so themselves. My personal struggle with SA has been long lasting and as a result the work needed to overcome such ingrained habits does get me down. The meetings have helped me mainly because they are generally attended by people who appear (from the outside) to be completely normal conpetent people. This slowly makes one realise that this problem doesnt define you as a person or dominate other peoples perception of you. I have a long way to go but i think the groups do provide a platform from which to achieve my goals."

T. Received April 2008

"With regards to the last meet, i thought it was a valuable for me to attend and i am glad that i did. The hardest part of it was the journey there with all of the apprehension and anxiety, but once i was there, i began to feel a lot more relaxed and i really think this helped me in beginning to understand social anxiety. It was nice to meet other people who also suffer from this, and i thought the one to one conversations helped me as i feel i began to understand and develop conversation skills with each one. I hope this is the start of a journey for me towards overcoming social anxiety. I thought the stories at the end from some of the attendees were especially inspirational.”

L. Received April 2008

" Thank you to Stefano and all participants for another very helpful meeting on Monday night. It is so liberating to speak to people who suffer from the same thing, and to be able to discuss it in a way you can't with others. Makes me feel that I'm not all alone and strange. The meetings are well lead and I feel comfortable that I'm not going to be singled out, but also safe enough to speak to the group at times. It's uplifting!. C. "

Received April 2008

"Just wanted to say it was a really satisfying and rewarding experience. I was a bit concerned how I would handle last Mondays group session as I didn't attend the one before so was a little anxious on the way to the group. As soon as I got there my anxiety started to ease as I began chatting to people in the waiting room so felt a little warmed up before the group introductions. I have been a couple of times now and felt this was the most interactive I have been due to the nature of the exercises which took part. When asked to write down the things you would like to do if you had overcome sa I wrote down quite a long list but felt I discussed them ok with the person I paired up with and also hope that person felt the same with me. Next came the scary part when the group was asked to share one thing on that list with everyone else, I felt oh no I had such a long list I didn't no what to chose which would feel ok sharing but also the fear of speaking aloud to the group was off putting as well. By now you could hear the distance echo of a drumbeat witch resembled that of a heart beating faster and faster which I thought even though it was quite nerve racking leading up to speak I also found it very amusing which calmed my anxiety. After saying my thing to the group I felt not such a rush of adrenaline but a little burst of excitement and job well done. The numbers game near the end I found was a nice touch to relax us even more. It was just really positive outcome for myself personally and am sure for many others who attended."

Received March 2008 

"Having attended I was a little nervous at the start but I found the whole team spirit supportive and uplifting."

Posted on website March 2008

"Well I went to my first meeting and it was horrible getting there, all the way on the tube and up the street, but I took a deep breath and went in.... and it was great. Thank you, Stefano, for conducting this group, it is a very compassionate thing to do. For everyone else, these meetings are great, they consist of very gentle and non-confrontational exercises that are very useful. I can see that they will help me uncover new tools and strategies and that the meetings will be a safe and warm place to practise them.

Posted on website February 2008 Even though I said I regreted going up at the start, I felt a lot better afterwards. After the meeting I felt a lot less anxious than I would have being if I hadn't went up. I also have felt a lot less anxious today. Hope it lasts. I also thought everybody at the group was very helpful L. Received February 2008

Thanks Stefano - found it a fascinating and positive experience."

Jules Posted on website February 2008

"The first time I came to the group was over a year ago. At the time I had been very anxious and very resistant to being with other people who were also anxious. However, that first session had a huge impact on me and I instantly began to feel more comfortable in certain work situations and within groups. I was impressed by the compassionate and non-threatening approach and how Stefano has created a very safe and friendly environment in which to explore anxiety or to simply observe. Since then I have decided to explore my anxiety further through therapy and this has helped enormously. Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is particularly good for this type of anxiety. Coming back to the Monday evening meeting a year later I'm still very inspired by the simple and effective excersises and the use of relaxation. Despite my initial resistant it's been fascinating and useful to talk to other people about their experiences with anxiety. I find this group to be unique and welcoming where there is no pressure only gentle encouragement and support.

Thanks and Happy New Year!"

Received January 2008

“Just wanted to say to people who are thinking of coming to this but are too nervous - I was nervous but decided to go anyway - and was really glad - its a pressure free environment, you dont have to do anything, at no point do you have to stand up and introduce yourself (one of my personal worst nightmares!!), there is a chance at the end to stand up and speak but only if you want to, I havent yet but hope to soon... so come along - its a safe environment to explore your anxiety and a positive way to make steps to getting it under control.”

Posted on website 22nd December 2007

"Hi All and Stefano, I attended about 10 sessions in 2006/07 prior to moving back home overseas. I cannot recommend the group enough as a useful component in tackling social anxiety symptoms. A major feature of my SA symptomatology is the belief that I’m putting on a “face” to the world. For a start, the class gave me a time and place each week where – unlike other settings, such as work – there was little trying to pretend that I wasn’t anxious socially; after all, by definition of the group’s name and purpose, that’s why I was there! So that first step of just showing up with that understanding and acceptance takes a large weight off the shoulders and allows a bit more breathing room for a more open and honest exploration about this usually shameful-feeling topic. When it’s in the open, it’s easier to start to see the irrationality and absurdity of trying to hide it in the first place. Secondly, I found the class exercises to be very beneficial. Stefano has a large repertoire of exercises and he employs a combination throughout each class which focuses primarily on relaxation, self-reflection, and, I think most importantly, ample conversational exposure (which is something you rarely get time out to “practice” and analyze in a supportive environment in the “real” world; indeed, for me, dialogue usually feels like the front lines). After two-and-a-half hours, I usually found my “wall” had pretty much dissipated and conversation flowed quite naturally. However, to get any benefit from the class, one needs to feel comfortable. Stefano has had personal experience of social anxiety and is understanding, sensitive, empathetic, and highly skilled at leading the class. He is never one to judge what someone says or how they feel and he seeks to empower rather than proclaiming to have the answers himself. He is an inspiration to us who are still deeper in social anxiety. Class members all have different profiles and degrees of social anxiety symptoms and, as such, different people feel comfortable doing different exercises and at different rates. There is no pressure to do anything and I felt that, each class, people quickly came to the understanding that they were “in this together” which led to a certain camaraderie; I found it a safe, comfortable, and empowering place to walk away from and know it will be there again next week. Good luck to all”

Jonathan Received October 2007

“Hey Stefano! I thought I would offer you some feedback on the sash sessions I have been to. I have been to two sessions spread over the last couple of months. What attracted me to the group was that I read on the website that there was zero pressure to participate in any activities and nobody is ever put on the the spot. Sure enough when I turned up and walked in - 1 hour late - to find people sitting in a circle on cushions, I did not have to speak but was just invited to join them. Actually Stephano, who leads the group, said to me 'All we need from you is your name'. So I just said my name! This session was an amazing experience for me because I discovered that other people with social anxiety are extremely friendly and considerate, and very good to talk to. Just by going to the session you are achieving something by putting yourself in a challenging situation. Partly because of this sense of acheivement and partly because of what I learned and experienced, I left both sessions feeling calm and relaxed, and more socially confident than I arrived. Most importantly I enjoyed myself, at least at some points, particularly the optional visit to the pub afterwards!"”

Received July 2007

“All I can say is thank you to Stefano and the whole group, who made my first visit a real pleasure. I was nervous about going, as I had no idea what would be involved or even what would be expected of me. The great thing was that there was no pressure at all. It was just so gentle and non-threatening. I liked the way the session was structured, but in such an informal and relaxed way. Nobody was made to feel uncomfortable, but the opportunities were there to challenge ourselves if we wanted to, if we wanted to 'practice' things that would be too scarey to do in the outside world. And the activity of writing down what we would say to someone who we trusted and who could help us - well, that has really got me thinking. It was brilliant. I am so looking forward to the next session."
Frankie Received June 2007

“Today when I joined the meeting and I felt really tense, it is like this for me: some day I wake up and I know I will be anxious. Other days some event might trigger my anxiety … today my day was of the first type: anxious since leaving my bed. The first part of the meeting is usually about yourself, you do exercises that make you acknowledge your feeling. The second part was about playing some role in a 1 to 1 conversation… this time I talked with L. and she actually had a really good idea about the third part of the session: talking to the group. In previous meetings, both L. and I were about talking in front of the group (standing alone opposite to them). Anyway, no one of us did it. Today she had the great idea of being 2 persons in front of the group instead of a single person, this helped a lot in sharing the other people attention and in providing support each other… then being able to challenge our fears and stand there in front of them, being able to answer what they asked us. At the beginning I felt heartbeat rising but then after few minutes I start relaxing and (a little bit) enjoying that special moment, very rare in my every day life. It was really an amazing experience for me, it helped me fighting with the stay-on-your-own pattern I usually have in my mind. Thanks Stefano for the open space and for providing us a safe environment to challenge our fears. Thanks L. for the idea and the support.”
Posted 19 June 2007

“I have gone to two sessions now and yes I was nervous about going to the first one but when I arrived was relieved as Stefano makes you feel welcome and is friendly and does ice breakers at the beginning of the session to put everyone at ease. The general layout of the sessions are informal and there no pressure to take part in anything. There are various exercises that take place which change from week to week. As the exercises are different I believe that they are helpful as help people in different ways. It is great to meet others who are going through social anxiety as personally a lot of the time wonder if I am the only person who has social anxiety but the people who attend are friendly and are honest about their experiences and what they have found helpful. I definately reccomend others who have social anxiety to come along!'”

A. Posted 29 January 2007

“I made it to the SASH group on 18th September (failed first attempt!) I just wanted to echo others' views - the group and atmosphere was warm and very supportive and I found the activities interesting, challenging and even fun! This was the first time I have ever met others suffering from SA and I felt very touched as I listened to some of their stories. Stefano led the activities/group with skill and apparent ease and I was struck by his real warmth and care for individuals there. I encourage anyone who is struggling and feeling alone to contact Stefano and give the group a try - it was an uplifting experience for me.”
Jane Posted 22 September 2006

"I was at the last meeting on the 24th. I thoroughly enjoyed it and think it has boosted my confidence slightly already! The things i found particularly helpful were the relaxing and picturing ourselves going across the bridge excersise. This helped me to actually feel relaxed whilst lots of people were in the same room as me. I nearly forgot where i was! I liked the initial ice breaker where we had to say our name. I was really nervous to start with but as i said my name to the group more and more i began to calm down. For me personally i would really like to do more 'exposure' excersises. Whereby i experience what it feels like being 'on the spot, in front of the group. Maybe where the group askes questions to the person (like last time) or the person could be given a funny topic to do a short talk about! I noticed in the last session that at the beginning i was very nervous at the thought of talking to the group. But by the end when you asked if anyone wanted to sit there and be asked questions by the group i nearly felt able to do it!"
Received April 2006

"Hello I've been to the first three of these meetings and thought I would give you some feedback. Each session begins with a warm-up and introductory exercise. This is a good ice-breaker. We then have a series of diferent types of exercise, some physical, some focussing on our own mental states and some focusing on other people. There are visualisation exercises and some practical work. Personally, I find the practical the most rewarding, since I have tried forms of hypnosis in the past with little success. Different people seem to get benefits from different exercises. I have found these three sessions interesting and beneficial and would recommend them to everyone. The most daunting thing I've found about it so far was turning up for the first session! Once over that hurdle the rest is easy."

Daniel Posted 24 August 2004