Presenting problem: Panic Attacks and Public Speaking
Treatment modality: BWRT
Number of sessions: 2
T was a successful professional with only one obstacle between her and her dream job: the anxiety and panic attacks she experienced at public-speaking events.
During our consultation she explained there had always been a level of discomfort in speaking out, even when voicing her views in a circle of friends or work meetings, but now that her developing career demanded she speak in front of larger audiences, the uncomfortable feelings had elevated to such an extent that her heart would pound, leaving her shaky and breathless.
A recent invitation to deliver a speech at an important gathering of industry leaders, laden with the extra pressure of it carrying the potential to catapult her career into the premier league, had left T feeling excited and terrified in equal measures.
At our first session we worked with T’s unwanted responses to the environmental factors which triggered her anxiety, especially the sea of faces looking back at her. I also taught her a ‘takeaway technique’ to use at an upcoming meeting, should she need it.
In the process of learning this aid she described visualising a clock which had stopped at 5.15, precisely.
During a follow-up telephone conversation a week later, T said that although she felt better and spoke well at the most recent work meeting, there was still some discomfort and she remained anxious about the important conference later that month.
Exploring this further, T disclosed how she carried a heavy and prevailing sense of sadness, which had begun during her teenage years, brought about by the belief that she had somehow failed when rebelling against her mother’s emotional dependence on her.
T added that this weighty feeling of sadness had grown heavier after the difficult birth of her own daughter, a few years previously.
Talking about the trouble she’d experienced bonding with her new-born, which she interpreted as a huge personal failure, T had a sudden moment of clarity: her daughter had been whisked away to receive emergency medical treatment because she was not breathing at the time she was born: 5.15am.
Following these revelations, our second session focused on dissipating T’s burden of sadness and resolving the trauma of her daughter’s birth, replacing the enduring sense of failure with a feeling of winning confidence, along with building a belief that people would be interested in what she had to say.
Some weeks later, T rang to deliver the news that she’d successfully presented her speech at the conference without experiencing any of the old panic. She had felt confident and calm, in both mind and body, breathing easily as she stood up to the microphone.
But this wasn’t all.
The CEO of the company was at the presentation and T told me that she’d just accepted his subsequent offer of promotion, laughing excitedly as she spoke of the many public-speaking gigs – and the significant pay rise – her new role would bring.
Learn how Claire can help you with panic attacks and public speaking when you book your free consultation, today.