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  DR. Michael Shery, clinical psycholoGY

  2615 Three Oaks Rd, Ste. 2A, 

  Cary, Illinois 60013  847 275 8236 (24 Hrs);




“Since 1976, state-of-the-art counseling which treats the problem, not just the symptom…”





               Doctoral degree: University of Southern California, 1975






        Referrals accepted from Alexian Brothers, Good Shepherd, Centegra, Loyola, Northwestern University, University of Chicago and the Mayo Clinic hospitals and physicians.



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Do you Avoid People: Go From "Fearful" to "Formidable" in Just Days!


Two types of people are very frustrating and puzzling to their significant others, those with Avoidant Personalities and those with Schizoid personalities.

Avoidant Personality

Those who suffer from the Avoidant Personality Disorder feel insecure, impotent, helpless, and deficient in self-esteem. As a result, they are withdrawn and socially detached or distant.

They are very self-conscious about their perceived shortcomings and are hypersensitive and hypervigilant for signs of rejection or disapproval. In extreme cases, even the slightest, most benign and well intentioned criticism or disagreement can be perceived as embarrassing, abusive or rejecting.

Therefore, in order to avoid such perceived rejection, the Avoidant personality tries, as much as possible, to avoid social and other situations that require close contact with others. That would include any number of situations that are part and parcel of everyday life, such as attending weddings, inviting people to dinner or other social events or attending college classes or seminars, to name just a few.

Not surprisingly, Avoidant types find it almost impossible to engage in intimate relationships. They often test the possibility of a relationship by tip-toeing into it and scrupulously assessing whether the other person will accept them close to, or totally unconditionally.

They desperately require ongoing reassurance to enable them to feel attractive, validated, significant etc. People often view those with Avoidant personalities as shy, timid, withdrawn, quiet, tentative, distant, tense, insecure, inhibited and sometimes, even "stuck-up" because of the interactive "distance" they maintain.

Avoidant types typically have vigilant interactive styles and are very careful and self-protective when with others, causing others to have troubling doubts about them! They believe, in the background, if not in the forefront of their minds, not only that they are socially and interpersonally incompetent, but that others simply do not like them.

They entertain these assumptions so strongly that they may construe a genuinely positive message from someone as negative in some way. For instance, they may view an honest offer of help conveyed by someone as just a form of deception or manipulation.

When in the presence of others, Avoidant types are generally withdrawn and very tentative. When unavoidably involved socially, they communicate an empty-sounding humility and and a very "under-stated" persona.

To the Avoidant, this strategy makes the occurrence of criticism or disagreement from others less likely.

Schizoid personalities.

Schizoid types are similar to Avoidants in interpersonal distancing, but for a different reason. The reason relates to the their experience of pleasure, reward and satisfaction.

You see they have none; they have a very difficult time feeling good or pleasure about much of anything. Enjoyment or real satisfaction is hardly ever seen on their faces.

The term for the inability to experience pleasure is "anhedonia." Those who know schizoid people see them as distant, disinterested, unengaged and "just going through the motions."

Sounds like depression or Avoidant personality, doesn't it, but it is not. Schizoid types appear merely indifferent and totally uncaring regarding the impact of social interaction, engagement and relationships.

They have a very restricted range of emotions, rarely express any feelings and are simply unable to feel "intimacy" with anyone. Because of this, the schizoid's significant other, if he has one, often feels lonely and "empty."

They are even indifferent to sex, rarely showing any interest. This causes more problems for any significant others because they do not feel valued or attractive.

It is a very emotionally impoverished personality type; they create the impression of being distant, indifferent, flat, uncaring and emotionally stunted. Close family or social groups give them no feelings of intimacy, closeness or satisfaction.

They would rather do things by themselves and are very solitary in their lifestyle. Vocationally, they tend to work in occupations that are cut-and-dried. You know what they say about accountants and engineers!

They are relatively rigid and lack cognitive flexibility in the way they deal with issues. Faced with changes that require this flexibility, their coping skills may manifest signs of deterioration and they may act-out.

They portray the impression of not caring what others think and they appear to adhere to mindless routine. They do not respond effectively to social stimuli, social triggers or interactions. They are not "deep" and often have little, of any consequence, to say.

What about Professional Help?

Professional help usually involves:

1. Individual counseling or psychotherapy. The purpose of counseling is to understand yourself and your situation clearer.

You get objective feedback, support and guidance from a professional with experience in treating abuse in relationships.

2. Group therapy. Attending therapy in a group setting desensitizes you to your anxiety and teaches you how to communicate better in an environment which is, itself, social.

You get objective feedback, support and guidance, not only from a professional, but from your peers experiencing similar problems as you. Money should not deter you because both types of counseling can be received from private practitioners and non-profit sliding scale community agencies.

3. Cognitive therapy-oriented self-therapy kits (STKs) and articles and books.

If going to counseling seems initially like too big a step, reading articles and books, attending seminars and using cognitive therapy-oriented self-therapy or home therapy kits (STKs) can help. STKs are self-help programs that use cognitive therapy to tutor you, step-by-step on how to deal with your social engagement anxiety.

As opposed to books and articles, they teach assertive social skills using cognitive therapy in a multimedia format: CDs, DVDs, MP3s, e-books, workbooks, audios, videos etc. Cognitive-behavioral tutoring on how to become engaged in relationships can be very helpful.

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About The Author

Dr. Mike Shery is a licensed clinical psychologist and is affiliated with almost all health plans, including:  ValueOptions, Medicare, Cigna, Coventry, Cigna Behavioral Health, United Health Care, Aetna-Allied, First Health, Healthstar, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, ComPsych, Magellan Health, Meridian, HFN, Tricare, Humana, most union local plans, most school district plans, Unicare, ChoiceCare, CAPP, Multiplan, Mental Health Network, Managed Health Network, United Behavioral Health, PPONext, Private Health Care Systems, Humana-Military and Beech Street .


He has practiced clinical psychology for approximately 30 years and is board certified as a specialist in professional counseling by the International Academy of Behavioral Medicine, Counseling and Psychotherapy. He is the director of Affiliated Counseling and Referral Services and is a member of the American Counseling Association.


The office is located in Cary, IL and in select cases phone consultations are available for those who don’t live locally> Telephone Counseling.

To make an appointment> New Patient Registration or to learn more about the psychological services he provides call him at 1-847-275-8236 (24 Hrs).


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