What is Glossophobia?
Glossophobia is the medical term given when you have an excessive or irrational fear of public speaking. If you have glossophobia, speaking in front of many people will probably trigger feelings of discomfort and anxiety for you. However, you may experience fear of public speaking in smaller settings, such as in meetings, classrooms, or at family engagements. The fear of public speaking is considered a social phobia or social anxiety disorder. It can be particularly debilitating because compromised social skills can negatively impact your relationships, occupation, and education. Therefore, if you have glossophobia, you must seek help so that you can tackle your fears and seize control of your life.
What Causes Fear of Public Speaking?
Many people find public speaking stressful or overwhelming, but if you have glossophobia, you may experience anxiety before, during, or even at the prospect of speaking publicly. Often the fear of public speaking is caused by many different factors, including:
- A past negative experience of public speaking: Perhaps you have been laughed at or ridiculed during a speech, or maybe you have thrown up after a presentation in the past. These distressing experiences could negatively impact how you perceive public speaking. You may have internalised these bad experiences, which could trigger the development of your public speaking phobia.
- Brain physiology: Sometimes, the cause of your phobia can be explained by your brain physiology. There is a part of the brain called the amygdala, which manages your fear response. If this part of the brain goes into overdrive, your anxiety will be heightened.
- Parental influence: If your parents have a phobia of public speaking and display high anxiety levels when speaking, you may develop the phobia, too, as your exposure level will be extremely low. This is a prevalent cause in children, but it can affect many adults as well.
- Temperament: Do you consider yourself to be more of an introvert? Well, you may be more prone to glossophobia because your nature is quiet, reserved, and tentative, and you can find social engagements particularly exhausting.
- Specific situational triggers: Many people who have glossophobia find that their anxiety is particularly heightened by certain situational triggers, such as: going to parties, attending the first day of school, starting a new job, and going to family engagements where they will be expected to converse with other people.
Additionally, your fear of public speaking could be triggered by certain other phobias and anxiety disorders, such as:
- Underlying fear: Sometimes, your public speaking anxiety could be triggered by a strong underlying fear, such as the fear of being judged, embarrassed, or rejected. Additionally, many people feel nauseous when preparing for or during a public speech. Therefore, if you have emetophobia, otherwise known as the fear of vomiting, watching other people vomit, or feeling sick, you may simultaneously develop the fear of public speaking.
- Social anxiety disorder: Many people who have social anxiety disorder will find public speaking particularly stressful because they must confidently and eloquently speak to an audience.
What are the Symptoms of Glossophobia?
If you have glossophobia, you will often experience persistent and intense anxiety when you have to speak in public or even at the prospect of delivering a speech. You may also experience anticipatory anxiety, which is when you feel overwhelmed or stressed long before you’re due to speak publicly. Additionally, you may feel apprehensive, irritable, overly emotional, overwhelmed, embarrassed, humiliated, or stressed, and you may feel like you want to escape. However, glossophobia can also manifest with physical symptoms, including:
- Selective mutism, or feeling as if you cannot speak;
- Chest pain, Feeling tight chested, choking sensations, or shortness of breath;
- Difficulty concentrating, clouded thinking or disorientation;
- Muscle spasms or muscle tension;
- Flushed skin, or feeling overly hot;
- Feeling nauseous or vomiting;
- Diarrhoea or constipation;
- Increased heart rate or heart palpitations;
- Increased blood pressure;
- Trembling or shaking;
In extreme cases, you may experience a panic attack, which is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers physical and psychological symptoms, such as heart palpitations, feeling like you’re hallucinating, having a heart attack, or even dying.
What Treatments are Available for Glossophobia?
Glossophobia can be particularly debilitating if you ignore it, as it can hold you back in life. However, you can use many different forms of treatment to cure your fear of public speaking. Hypnotherapy is a particularly accessible, effective and efficient complementary treatment for glossophobia, as it has little side effects and treats the underlying psychological cause of your anxieties so that they do not re-emerge later in life. However, patients often use this therapy alongside another form of treatment, including:
Talking treatments: talking treatments, such as counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness, have been effective at treating dental phobias as they teach you sustainable coping methods that make your fear of the dentist more tolerable. However, one limitation of cognitive behavioural therapy is that often therapists will utilise exposure therapy by bringing the object that you fear into your sessions, which some patients find particularly anxiety-inducing. Therefore, if you believe that you would not benefit from exposure therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy probably isn’t for you.
Medication: Sometimes, medications, including antidepressants, tranquillisers, or beta-blockers, are prescribed short-term to treat the severe effects of glossophobia, such as anxiety. However, medication isn’t usually recommended for treating phobias because it tends to have side effects, such as nausea, dry mouth, headaches, sleeping problems, gastronomical issues, and sexual problems.
Herbal remedies: Often, people who have glossophobia will use herbal and other natural calming remedies, such as lavender or herbal teas, to ease their fear of public speaking. These can usually be purchased from your local pharmacist or natural health outlet. Herbal remedies are a brilliant option if you want an all-natural remedy. However, if you have severe public speaking anxiety and suffer from panic attacks, herbal remedies may not be strong enough for you.
There are also several self-help techniques that you can introduce in your life to ease your fear of public speaking, such as:
Know your topic: If you’re confident about your topic and know your material, you’ll be less likely to get nervous before your presentation and forget your information.
Be organised: Prepare for your presentation. Are you going to require any visual or audio aids, cue cards, or props? If you can prepare these ahead of time, you’ll be less anxious during your presentation. Also, if you’re going to have a question segment at the end of your presentation, consider what questions your audience may ask and prepare responses.
Practice deep breathing and mindfulness: If you can get your breathing under control before and during your presentation, you will feel the calming effects throughout.
Don’t worry about your audience: Your audience is attending the presentation, so they want to listen to you. Don’t worry about them. So long as you appear confident, they will be receptive to your information.
Practice makes perfect: If you practice your presentation, you’ll be more comfortable in your script and less likely to get nervous on the day. You could ask a close friend to listen to your presentation and give you feedback.
Listen to music: If it helps you relax, you can bring headphones to listen to music before your presentation.
Challenge your worries: Usually, glossophobia will be triggered by an underlying fear, such as embarrassment, rejection, or silence. Do not let those fears overcome you. Instead, directly challenge them and map out alternative coping methods to implement if your anxieties occur.
Congratulate yourself: Reward yourself when practising and after you have delivered your presentation. Positive affirmation will help you think about yourself and your presentation more positively and relieve some anxiety.
Why use Hypnotherapy for Glossophobia?
Essentially, glossophobia is a conditioned response, which means that when you encounter your phobia (giving a presentation or speech), your behaviour reinforces and strengthens it. However, hypnotherapy could help you break this cycle as it treats the underlying psychological cause of your public speaking phobia, which will ensure that it does not resurface later in life. At Focused Hypnosis, your hypnotherapist will use guided relaxation techniques to help you achieve hypnosis, where you will become totally relaxed and usually more susceptible to suggestion. Your hypnotherapist will work with you to disassociate public speaking with emotional distress and anxiety and help you deconstruct it so that it becomes more tolerable. Visit our other pages to discover how you can use hypnotherapy for phobias and how does hypnotherapy work.
Benefits of Using Hypnotherapy for Public Speaking / Anxiety
- Hypnotherapy sends you into a deeply relaxed state of mind and body, which will equip you with a calm mindset that will help you tackle your glossophobia;
- Hypnotherapy for dental phobias empowers you to take control of your life, as it offers you the tools to deconstruct your fear and think about it more positively so that it becomes more tolerable when you meet it in real life.
- Unlike many other forms of psychological treatment, hypnotherapy is self-led, as you can control the methods that your hypnotherapist will use, and you can bring yourself out of the hypnotic state whenever you want to.
- By learning how to control your public speaking phobia, your self-confidence and self-esteem could improve as you assert yourself when giving a presentation.
- Hypnotherapy allows you to directly influence your future, as it delves into your unconscious to treat the root cause of your public speaking phobia so that it does not re-emerge later in life.
- Hypnotherapy is all-natural and has little side-effects or complications.
- Hypnotherapy is cost-effective and a cheaper option for psychological treatment, as it only requires around six sessions. Please read our blog to find out how much does hypnotherapy cost.
- Hypnotherapy teaches you self-sufficient methods that can be practised and have effects that last for the rest of your life.
Potential Side Effects
When hypnosis is conducted by a trained hypnotherapist, therapist, or health care provider, it is generally considered a safe, complementary, and alternative psychological treatment. However, hypnosis can sometimes cause adverse reactions, such as:
- Anxiety or increased stress
- Creation of false memories
It is important to remember that all medical treatments cause side effects, and these are rare among hypnotherapy patients.
Additionally, hypnosis may not be appropriate for people with serious mental disorders, such as:
- Drug and alcohol abuse
What Happens During a Fear of Public Speaking Hypnotherapy Session?
At Focused Hypnosis, your first public speaking session will begin with your hypnotherapist explaining how hypnotherapy for phobias works. After that, you’ll agree on the methods that your hypnotherapist will use. When tackling phobias, some therapists use exposure therapy, which brings the thing or object that the patient fears into the room. However, many people find this anxiety-inducing, so if you believe that you would not benefit from this form of treatment, we will not use it.
Then, the hypnotherapist may:
- Use guided relaxation techniques to help you achieve hypnosis;
- Use your agreed method to achieve your goal. For example, advising you to think positively about yourself and your presentation and teaching you coping methods to boost your confidence.
- To conclude the session, your hypnotherapist will gradually bring you out of your trance-like state.
Does Hypnotherapy for Glossophobia Work?
Hypnosis can be an effective, efficient, and accessible form of treatment if you need help tackling glossophobia. However, hypnosis is not the right form of treatment for everyone. For example, if you are not open to hypnosis, you will not achieve a trance-like state. Also, for some serious mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, hypnosis can have detrimental effects as it can create false memories.