What is Glossophobia?
Glossophobia - Fear of speaking in public or of trying to speak.
Treatment and Symptoms of Glossophobia
Social phobias form a group of common anxiety disorders that affect both men and women more or less equally. The most common age for social phobia to appear is between fifteen and twenty years. It can be defined as a clinically severe and irrational anxiety provoked by exposure to a range of social and / or 'performance' situations (for example when the person has a role or function to carry out in front of others). The anxiety frequently leads to avoidance of social situations. This can then result in loneliness, isolation and miser)" especially since the person is frequently aware of his loss and desires normal social contact.
It is likely that all but the most confident people have experienced a degree of social anxiety or 'nerves' at one stage or another, if only on some 'big' occasion when they have been in the limelight. Many readers will have had experience of the shaking paper notes and nervous voice of the brave person delivering a talk who is unaccustomed to public speaking.
However, many would be able to cope with such an occasion, even if not particularly enjoying it, and would be able to believe that they had the sympathy and interest of their audience. At a party, a person may feel uneasy, or be inclined to compare himself unfavourably with other guests whom he regards as being more attractive or charming than himself. However, such negative feelings would not normally prevent him from going to the party or from enjoying himself once there. The difference in social phobia is that it occurs at the extreme end of a scale which extends beyond reasonable social anxiety. A social phobic would either avoid such situations as those described above or could only endure them with great difficulty and with the accompaniment of highly unpleasant, distressing feelings and symptoms.
Treatment options for Glossophobia
In the past, classical treatments for social phobia encompassed psychotherapy and medication. More specifically, the type of psychotherapy used was the form of behaviour therapy called exposure therapy in which the social phobic is exposed in various ways to the phobic situation. This was often combined with social skills training on the assumption that part of the problem was that the phobic person was deficient in this area. Exposure and social skills training proved effective in helping some (but not all) sufferers but was superior to no treatment at all.
However, in modern treatment practice, there is far less emphasis on social skills training, although it may still be included as part of a therapy programme. This is due to the fact that a lack of social skills is not now generally regarded as being the primary problem in social phobia. Exposure therapy remains an important treatment tool although some therapists believe that its effectiveness is limited because they hold that it does not, in itself, bring about belief (cognitive) change.