Public Speaking Anxiety

Some people suffer from really stubborn cases of speaking anxiety, particularly those in which the speaker has had one or more or habitual traumatic experiences in front of audiences. These folks require more than mere cognitive restructuring, for their bodies literally experience a range of uncomfortable sensations at the very thought of speaking before an audience. In law school, these students are terrified to speak in class, freeze up when called upon, and cope by hiding in class as much as they can. They may experience sensations such as dry mouth, rapid heart rate, chest tightness or pain, butterflies in their stomachs, sweating, clenching, and many others. Similar reactions follow them throughout their careers. Those of us who suffer in this way can benefit from a powerful process called TIPI, a French acronym for “Technique for The Sensory Identification of Unconscious Fears.” Through a highly structured reliving of difficult emotional experiences in the safety of a practitioner’s office, our bodies get the message at the deepest level that there’s truly nothing to fear. Following a TIPI experience, generally in three sessions or fewer, my clients typically report being subjected to formerly anxiety-provoking situations and realize only after the fact that the anxiety was nowhere to be found.