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How  CBT  Can  Help  With  Public  Speaking  Anxiety    

Insights  from  Harley  Street  psychologist,  Dr  Vanessa  Ruspoli  



Does  your  anxiety  about  speaking  in  public  inhibit  you  in  your  work  and  personal  life,  and  make  you  

adapt  your  behaviour  to  avoid  certain  feared  situation  and  feel  safer?  Public  speaking  anxiety  is  the  

most  common  form  of  social  phobia.  Most  people  are  nervous  about  of  some  forms  of  public  speaking,  

from  giving  a  presentation  at  work  to  talking  to  a  group  of  our  colleagues  or  friends.  This  fear  may  limit  

you  in  your  personal  life  to  the  extent  that  you  find  you  are  nit  living  life  to  the  full  or  giving  your  best.      




Fear  of  Public  Speaking  


some  kind  of  social  speaking,  like  speaking  at  meetings  or  interviews.  

Public  speaking  anxiety  is  the  most  common  form  of  social  phobia,  and  most  of  us  have  a  fear  of  


with  the  use  of  CBT,  a  type  of  very  fast  intervention  therapy.    

Even  chatting  to  a  group  of  colleagues  or  peers  can  cause  social  anxiety,  but  it  is  very  treatable  

Dr  Vanessa  Ruspoli  |  Harley  Street  Psychology  |  www.dr-­‐  |  (+44)  7747-­‐  777361  




may  often  find  yourself  in  situations  where  you  are  prevented  from  giving  your  best.    

This  fear  may  make  you  limit  yourself  in  your  personal  life  with  avoidant  behaviours,  and  you  


through  learning  and  doing,  so  you  will  no  longer  experience  symptoms  such  as  trembling,  sweating  and  


Cognitive  Behavioural  Therapy  will  help  you  to  understand  and  manage  your  situational  anxiety  


muscle  tension  and  panic.  Your  mind  may  even  go  blank,  or  you  can  start  talking  too  fast.  

Other  symptoms  include  a  shaky  voice,  abnormal  breathing,  a  dry  mouth,  nausea,  blushing,  


focus  on  extreme  emotional  upset,  fight  or  flight  response  and  avoidant  behaviour.    

If  you  believe  you  have  many  of  these  symptoms,  you  are  a  perfect  candidate  for  CBT.  It  will  





How  does  CBT  help?    


be  seen  as  threat,  causing  a  panicky  physiological  response,  otherwise  known  as  fight  or  flight.    

Social  phobias  or  anxiety  come  from  a  distorted  ‘irrational’  perception  of  a  situation,  which  can  


becomes  the  threat,  and  you  start  to  be  fearful  of  it  as  well.    

This  fight  or  flight  response  is  because  of  the  perception  of  the  threat,  but  then  this  response  

Dr  Vanessa  Ruspoli  |  Harley  Street  Psychology  |  www.dr-­‐  |  (+44)  7747-­‐  777361  




are  caused  by  an  overload  of  oxygen,  so  this  exercise  will  calm  the  body  down.    

Remember  to  use  deep  breathing  when  experiencing  fight  or  flight,  as  many  of  the  symptoms  


so  try  to  relax  with  the  use  of  imagery  to  regain  your  confidence  in  social  situations.  

Mindfulness  and  visualisation  can  help  to  distract  and  calm  us  down  when  experiencing  anxiety,  


Your  body  will  have  a  great  physical  response,  releasing  chemicals  that  reduce  stress  hormones.    

Try  to  practice  regular  relaxation  by  setting  regular  routines  where  you  do  something  relaxing.  


but  they  are  actually  using  emotional  reasoning  and  memories  to  figure  out  what  they  should  be  

threatened  by.    

Sufferers  believe  the  way  they  are  explaining  everything  to  themselves  is  completely  rational,  


but  there  is  a  way  you  can  rewire  and  change  this  fear  conditioning  quite  easily.    

Sufferers  will  piece  together  evidence,  experiences  and  feelings  that  aren’t  true,  to  be  afraid  of,  


minimising  the  strength  of  your  emotional  response,  ideally  eliminating  the  fear  altogether.  

CBT  can  help  you  handle  situational  anxiety,  either  by  controlling  it  so  it  is  manageable,  or  by  


response,  such  as  having  butterflies  or  experiencing  a  mild  adrenaline  rush  like  many  public  speakers.    

CBT  will  challenge  the  irrational  thinking  so  that  you  have  a  proportional  and  manageable  


change  your  mind  to  change  your  mood,  and  remember  that  feelings  aren’t  facts.    

In  order  for  CBT  to  be  successful,  and  to  eliminate  your  public  speaking  anxiety,  you  have  to  



Dr  Vanessa  Ruspoli  |  Harley  Street  Psychology  |  www.dr-­‐  |  (+44)  7747-­‐  777361  



The  Outcome  


speaking  won’t  be  seen  as  scary  or  threatening  anymore,  completely  changing  your  outlook  on  things.    

Through  CBT  you  will  develop  new  skills  in  self-­‐management,  and  your  entire  view  on  public  


opening  new  doors  for  you  to  develop  in  your  professional  and  personal  life.    

You  might  even  see  public  speaking  as  an  opportunity  or  a  challenge  that  is  exciting  to  you,  


if  you  goal  is  just  to  manage  social  speaking  situations  better  through  coping  skills.  

All  of  this  can  be  achieved  through  the  use  of  CBT.  Improvement  is  completely  attainable,  even  


how  it  can  help  you,  please  get  in  touch  with  me.    

If  you  feel  you  are  not  coping  with  speaking  anxiety,  or  would  like  to  know  more  about  CBT  and  


Dr  Vanessa  Ruspoli  is  a  chartered  counseling  psychologist  offering  therapy  for  a  range  of  conditions  and  

issues,  including  self  esteem,  depression  and  CBT  for  fear  of  public  speaking.  She  has  worked  with  

cognitive  behavioral  therapy  for  a  number  of  years  at  her  Harley  Street  psychology  practice  in  Central  

London’s  prestigious,  historic  medical  district.  

Dr  Vanessa  Ruspoli  |  Harley  Street  Psychology  |  www.dr-­‐  |  (+44)  7747-­‐  777361