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Virtual Applause: Overcoming Performance Anxiety in the Digital Age with CBT and ACT

Introduction


As the world continues to adapt to digital platforms, performers are facing a new set of challenges: online auditions, virtual rehearsals, and live-streamed performances. While the convenience of these formats offers increased opportunities for artists, they also bring about unique stressors and potential performance anxiety. In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of online therapy, specifically cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), in helping performers overcome performance anxiety in the digital realm.



The Digital Stage: Performance Anxiety in the Online World


Performers have long grappled with performance anxiety, also known as stage fright. The rapid shift to online platforms due to the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this anxiety for many (Braciszewski et al., 2020). In this new landscape, performers must navigate unfamiliar territory, such as coping with technological challenges, adapting to a lack of audience feedback, and managing self-presentation in a virtual setting.



CBT and ACT: Effective Approaches for Performance Anxiety


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) are evidence-based approaches that have demonstrated effectiveness in managing anxiety and stress-related disorders, including performance anxiety (Hofmann et al., 2012; A-Tjak et al., 2015). CBT helps individuals identify and challenge maladaptive thoughts and behaviors, while ACT focuses on psychological flexibility, mindfulness, and value-driven action.

By incorporating these therapeutic techniques, performers can develop the necessary skills to cope with the unique challenges of online auditions and performances. These skills may include managing negative self-talk, improving focus and concentration, and fostering a non-judgmental attitude towards their performance.



Online Therapy: A Versatile Solution for Performers


Online therapy offers numerous benefits for performers, including convenience, flexibility, and the ability to access mental health support from anywhere. With many performers constantly on the move or juggling multiple commitments, online therapy provides an ideal solution for fitting therapy sessions into a busy schedule (Andersson et al., 2014).

Furthermore, online therapy has been shown to be just as effective as in-person therapy for a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety and stress-related disorders (Carlbring et al., 2018). By offering CBT and ACT through digital platforms, performers can access the tools and strategies they need to overcome performance anxiety in the online world.



Conclusion


The digital age has brought about new opportunities and challenges for performers, making it essential to adapt and develop coping strategies for performance anxiety in online settings. By utilizing online therapy and evidence-based approaches such as CBT and ACT, performers can build resilience, foster self-compassion, and confidently navigate the virtual stage.



References:


A-Tjak, J. G., Davis, M. L., Morina, N., Powers, M. B., Smits, J. A., & Emmelkamp, P. M. (2015). A meta-analysis of the efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy for clinically relevant mental and physical health problems. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 84(1), 30-36.


Andersson, G., Cuijpers, P., Carlbring, P., Riper, H., & Hedman, E. (2014). Guided Internet-based vs. face-to-face cognitive behavior therapy for psychiatric and somatic disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. World Psychiatry, 13(3), 288-295.


Braciszewski, J. M., Moore, R. S., & Rosenberg, H. (2020). Performance anxiety and substance use among musicians during the COVID-19 pandemic: A pilot study. Psychology of Music, 48(5), 703-713.


Carlbring, P., Andersson, G., Cuijpers, P., Riper, H., & Hedman-Lagerlöf, E. (2018). Internet-based vs. face-to-face cognitive behavior therapy for psychiatric and somatic disorders: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 47(1), 1-18.


Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427-440.

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