Posted by: Casllab | 2009-03-16


After I found that there was a name for the condition I have (glossophobia - fear of public speaking) I figured there must be treatment for it. In the past 3 years I' ve seen 2 psycholgists / hypnotherapist who have tried various methods and been on medication (cilift) for some time, none of which has helped. This means I' ve spent a lot of money - my medical aid doesn' t cover these - and am no better off that I was in the beginning.

I have since stopped taking the cilift.

My job often entaills meetings that i keep avoiding as I just cannot face the fear. I was also given tranqs by my GP to take before the meeting and even if I take two, the fear seems to override them.

I' m at a loss as to what to do, I' ve been trying for so long to overcome my phobia but at the moment it seems like a losing battle. I know this is a completely unrealistic fear but I can' t control how my mind reacts in a given situation.

What else can I do?

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Our expert says:
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Some people with little better to do with themselves, at times devise a long list of names for various fears, but the names are useless, except when it helps someone to feel better for realizing that their problem is a recognized one. Basically, a phobia is a phobia, and the treatment is much the same --- medications, especially some otherwise usually used to treat depression, and Cogitive-Behaviour Therapy. Obviously, treatment focusses on the specific thing you fel fearful of, but otherwise the same METHODS work in all phobias. CBT especially fousses on what you ask for ---techniques for regaining logical control of your mind in this respect. Analytical, lie down and tell me aboujt your child-hood type counselling is worse than useless.
Why I don't like the term "Glossophobia", is that it splinters off one specific part of the problem in a way that isn't very helpful --- almost always, fear of public speaking is part of a more general Social Anxiety Disorder --- usually the person ALSO feels anxious in any situation in which they might be evaluated by others, in a range of social settings. I never recommend hypnotherapy for such problems, with good reason, though teaching a person something akin to self-hypnosis so that they acn relax usefull when they need to, may be PART of a useful approach. CBT, done properly, and finding the right medication, usually works. And any competent medial aid ought to cover Phobic Anxiety Disorders --- indeed, this is another reason for using a diagnostic term that is broad and widely used rather than a more specific one, as Phobic Anxiety Disorder or Social Anxiety Disorder may be listed by the MedicalAid as coverable, and glossophobia almos certainly wouldn't be listed.
The trouble wih tranq's is that they can produce depndency, and that one may need a gradually increasing dose to achieve the same results.

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