When Perfectionism Drives Public Speaking Anxiety Disorder
“Al”, a trainer in the banking industry, often facilitated group training with 100s of individuals at a time. Bill was a high tier military professional and security consultant. Kate was a top lawyer in an international media conglomerate. Tom was a sr. vice president in an international construction company. Robert was head of sales for a major network. Carol was a top manager for high net worth investors.
The real names of these patients are not being used. These individuals have all achieved substantially high levels of success in their respective fields. All of these individuals experienced fear of public speaking which became an anxiety disorder.
All of these individuals were frequently engaged in group presentations. In fact, many were quite accomplished at public speaking. Here are the clinical issues they had in common:
- The fear of panic and anxiety during a presentation became obsessive. “Obsessive” worry is the critical concept here.
- The anxiety, embarrassment, and shame of being noticeably nervous and losing control caused avoidance of challenging public speaking scenarios.
- Perfectionist characteristics became toxic due to an overly developed internal “critical script”.
- An emotional nurturing deficit was present due to unresolved emotionality stemming from past events/issues (although this content was not necessarily understood at conscious levels).
- All were skilled in detachment-disconnecting from thoughts and emotion as a “defense mechanism”.
- They all learned to master the psycho-physiology of performance via The Berent Treatment Method.