The Social Fitness Model views capabilities in demanding social situations as analogous to capabilities in demanding physical situations: one needs to get and remain fit if one expects to be able to function. Social fitness is achieved through practice.
As with physical exercise, there are many ways to exercise socially, and many different kinds of situations in which to practice and find enjoyment. Because shyness is conceptualized as a common emotional state as well as a psychological trait, problematic shyness and social anxiety are neither viewed as a debilitating conditions nor as pathology. They are states of mental and emotional fitness that are not optimal in a particular situation. A person may change behavior, thinking patterns, and attitudes, become more skilled at emotion regulation or simply choose a more appropriate social niche in order to attain a state of improved conditioning. With effort and practice, most people can attain an adaptive state of social fitness the same way that most people can attain an adaptive state of physical fitness.
The Social Fitness Training Manuals, by Dr. Lynne Henderson, are now in print.
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