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Apr 29, 2024

Featured photo is Dr. Jacob Towery

Report on the 2nd Annual

Social Anxiety Marathon

Finding Humans Less Scary 2.0

Led by Jacob Towery, MD  (above) and  

Michael Luo, MD (below)

Today, Drs. Jacob Towery and Michael Luo report on the second annual “Finding Humans Less Scary” 2-day marathon in March of this year.

As you all know, I am partial to offering valuable experiences for therapists and the general public for free, and my website ( and life are focused pretty strongly on this goal, although I realize it isn’t always possible since we all have to support ourselves and our families. That’s why Rhonda and I are so proud of our colleagues, Jacob and Michel, who have now completed their second annual social anxiety marathon, which was open to therapists and the general public alike—in fact anyone struggling with shyness, public speaking anxiety, and other forms of social anxiety.

And the total cost of admission both years had been a simple, $20 tax-deductible contribution to one of the charities listed on the FHLS website. That’s pretty darn cool, since the leaders are among the world’s top experts in the treatment of social anxiety, and there were, in addition, numerous highly trained TEAM therapists providing small group supervision and mentoring as well!

They described a number of highlights from the event, including group exercises, both within the auditorium and also outside, on the streets of Palo Alto, doing exercises designed to help participants overcome fears and build feelings of confidence and self-esteem, including, but not limited to:

  • Smile and Hello Practice
  • Talk Show Host
  • Rejection Practice
  • Shame Attacking Exercises
  • Feared Fantasy
  • The Vulnerability Ladder
  • Primary vs Secondary Characteristics
  • Self-Compassion
  • Enthusiastic Verbal Consent
  • Internalizing a Compliment
  • Flirtation Training
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis of Maintaining Social Anxiety
  • Exposure (public speaking on stage)

And many more

Michael explained that the program was sold out, and that participants came from a wide variety of backgrounds, and many had life-change experiences. Many provided testimonials on what the experience meant to them, including:

“I grew as a person and experienced a dramatic increase in vulnerability and genuineness in my interactions with others.”

“My son attended Jacob Towery's two-day social anxiety workshop, Finding Humans Less Scary, and found it life changing. He asked me to come along for moral support, which meant I witnessed the transformation in real time. I have never seen anything like it in my life! Quite literally, one person went into the conference room that morning and a different person came out at the end of the day. He was elated. He met amazing people and had transformational conversations. He walked down the street hooting like a bird. He looked and acted like he had thrown off some old moldy coat.

“Day two seemed to deepen and solidify the gains. On our drive home he taught me what he had learned (I got some trickle down wisdom!) and he was able to trace how the roots of his social anxiety got started and grew. He reflected on the fact that some people in the room were nearly 70, and that he felt lucky to be learning this stuff at 23.

“I can highly recommend this experience to other people who are struggling with social anxiety and want to try a novel approach to breaking the pattern.”

I’m of the belief that, in a sense, we’re all one. That means that you can’t bring joy to another person without bringing joy to yourself. And Jacob and Michael both seemed to be on a high from their efforts to touch so many people.

If you’re also excited, make sure you register next year well ahead of time so you, too, can have this life-transforming experience, which is (almost) totally free!

Thank you for listening today!

Rhonda and David