Wow! This is the first time I saw this page as I am usually busy answering direct questions on some of the other threads. Hopefully, some of you have been able to meet or contact each other already.
To get a group started, you need someone to be a leader and be in charge. You also should try to not allow anyone into the group unless they specifically have social anxiety disorder as defined by the DSM-5. Following along with the series, so that everyone is on the same page, organizes the group more productively. Remember the groups are proactive groups. You are not there to complain or share your problems. All of us already understand how awful social anxiety is and how it has ruined our lives.
The purpose of any group should be learning how to get better. So, the focus should be on solutions, as the audio/video series is. Reviewing cognitive lessons will help everyone to be able to think more RATIONALLY about life. It takes a while, after you start thinking rationally, for feelings to change, BUT THEY DO. So, reinforce what is rational and talk about what is irrational and why, and then emphasize irrationality is ANTs-like thinking and we need to gently refute it until it goes away altogether, AND IT WILL.
I know the behavioral part of getting better is the hardest part because everyone lives so far away from each other, and there usually is no psychologist, therapist, or leader to run a successful group. I don't know how to change this. I have tried for years to get other professionals to really understand social anxiety, but most have only a limited, definitional understanding. Finding a group leader who has had social anxiety and has overcome it is the best bet.
In addition, even though I realize how hard this is, we are having more and more people move to Phoenix temporarily to go through the groups. This has been a successful endeavor, so we encourage you, if you can, to come to our groups so your life can be changed for good.
I understand how difficult it is to live every day with social anxiety, so PLEASE stick with the series, take the thirty minute a day approach, and reinforce to yourself what is rational and what is not. Social anxiety itself is irrational, but we continue to believe false negative things about ourselves that causes us to fear things and avoid them.
We must begin to think RATIONALLY and then ACT in accordance with what is rational and learn not to avoid situations. Acting in accordance with what is rational will allow you to overcome social anxiety. Simply going along with your (negative) emotions keeps you stuck in anxietyland forever.
Focus on the solutions to the problem, as detailed in the series, and you will get better.
I wish the very best for everyone who has posted on this thread.
--- Dr. Richards