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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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Hi. In the last year, Iv developed a real anxiety problem

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Hi. In the last year, Iv developed a real anxiety problem when I am speaking to a person or people that I perceive as a authority figure. I first felt this during a Phone interview i did 10 months ago for a job i was applying for. As the interview began, I found myself with a dry mouth, difficulty talking ( couldn't get my words out, sounded like( felt like) I was going to cry), getting shaky and very uneasy. After a few moments and trying to answer a couple of questions, my anxiety began to pass, and i felt myself return to normal and was able to do the rest of the interview without a problem. Since then, I continue to feel the same symptoms anytime i try to speak and any authority, or when i try to voice my opinion or get my point across at any sort of meeting. Iv never had this problem before in my life. Why did this start, and how do i get it to stop?
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue. The one main hypothesis that comes to mind is that this could be something called social anxiety or social phobia. It involves: 1) someone who is predisposed to experiencing strong anxiety reactions to situations that for most people, wouldn't be nearly as anxiety-provoking; 2) learning or conditioning of the anxiety response to situational cues in the environment. So the cause is a combination of biological vulnerability or anxiety-prone 'temperament' and the right learning or conditioning experiences. The person basically learns to escape or avoid the trigger or cue situations that cause the anxiety to occur and they become less and less able to face the anxiety situation.

Because I suspect you are generally anxiety-prone, I would suggest an excellent form of therapy for this that really works quite well called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. It was developed at the University of Nevada by a clinical psychologist named XXXXX XXXXX. It is being specifically tested for a number of anxiety conditions e.g., obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety and general chronic anxiety conditions.

I'm going to pause here and solicit your reaction to this. Have you been in therapy before with a cognitive behavioral therapist or with one who does the (above) ACT therapy?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Iv never been in theorpy before, and iv never considerd myself an anxious person
If you have never felt you are anxiety prone, never have been an anxious person then this is quite a good thing because it suggests you wlll have an easier time solving this problem. If you want to get started on something by yourself, here is one workbook on this general topic that is pretty good----far cheaper than seeing a therapist for a single session. If you take the activities quite seriously, it will probably help. One thing I tend to do to coach people is have them PRACTICE in advance, in front of a stranger or authority figure, having an interview, giving a talk or presentation---going through two trial runs before the actual task with the authority figure. This nearly always instills a good deal of confidence. Incidentally, have you seen the movie, The King's Speech? Not applicable to you but same principles are involved i.e., lots of pre-practice and rehearsal helps the actual task when it comes.

Now some 'experts' might suggest you try a prescription of medication to take just before one of these critical events. I'd not recommend this because it can take the edge off of your mental sharpness, ability to really think on you feet, etc.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
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