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Performance anxiety is a type of anxiety that can occur before or during a performance, such as a musical or athletic performance, or a public speaking engagement. It can manifest as physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, and nausea, as well as psychological symptoms such as negative thoughts and self-doubt.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are two forms of therapy that have been shown to be effective in treating performance anxiety. Both therapies focus on identifying and changing the negative thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to performance anxiety.

CBT for performance anxiety focuses on identifying and changing negative thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that can contribute to performance anxiety. This includes teaching the person to challenge thoughts such as "I'll fail" or "I'm not good enough" and replacing them with more positive and realistic thoughts. Additionally, CBT also includes teaching coping skills and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, which can help to reduce physical symptoms of anxiety.

ACT for performance anxiety focuses on acceptance and mindfulness as a way to change the relationship with negative thoughts and emotions. It teaches individuals to accept the thoughts and feelings without judgment and to focus on the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. It also teaches to identify and pursue personal values in order to increase satisfaction and fulfillment in life.

Research has shown that both CBT and ACT are effective in treating performance anxiety. A study found that CBT was effective in reducing symptoms of performance anxiety in professional musicians (Harms, 2010). Another study found that ACT was effective in reducing symptoms of performance anxiety in professional athletes (Murrant, 2013).

It's important to note that professional performing artists may have unique needs and challenges related to their performance anxiety, therefore it is recommended to seek a therapist who is familiar with the specific demands and stresses that come with professional performing.

CBT and ACT are both safe and effective treatments for performance anxiety, and can be used alone or in combination with other interventions. If you are experiencing symptoms of performance anxiety, it is important to talk to a qualified mental health professional to determine the best course of treatment for you.


Harms, C., & Sobell, L. C. (2010). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for musicians with performance anxiety. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 22(1), 106-116.

Murrant, L., & Prapavessis, H. (2013). The effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy in the treatment of performance anxiety in elite athletes. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 7(3), 288-310.

Performance and Audition Anxiety: Service
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