Malintis has developed a virtual reality treatment for stage and speech anxiety. These fears are also known as glossophobia, lalophobia, or stage fright. There are subtle differences between the different definitions, but they are very similar. It’s a social fear that becomes active when you have to perform in front of a group of people. It’s not abnormal to feel a little anxiety in such circumstances, but we speak of an actual fear or phobia, when this anxiety gets out of control and proportions. Even the thought of having to perform on stage can cause symptoms such as moist hands, a faster heart beat, or nausea.
We can find it scary to get the attention from so many people, and even more when the entire focus is solely on you. These people can judge you, have opinions about you, or they could get bored of you. The worst part of stage anxiety is the fear of failure. You can find it a terrifying idea to make some sort of terrible mistake while so many people are watching. The circle is complete, once you are afraid that because of this anxiety, you will actually make those mistakes. All of this, despite the fact that a typical audience isn’t half as critical as you imagine them to be. You are your own worst critic.
“What will they think of me once I mess up..?”
Treating speech anxiety in VR can be a fun challenge!
We have now included a VR treatment for speech anxiety in our therapeutic VR library called Vrerience. Just like many of our VR simulations, we also managed to make the treatment of speech anxiety a fun one. You stand in front of a virtual audience to practice your upcoming presentation or performance, while all their eyes are fixated on you. The therapist can enable a game element, where a light indicates the quality of your performance.
A dull, red light indicates that you need to perform with more energy and confidence
A bright, green lamp indicates that you’re shining!
Your therapist isn’t just sitting around, waiting for you to finish doing your thing. The therapist can track on their screen what you are doing well, and what leaves room for improvement. You’ll get a positive kind of attention from the audience when you perform with a healthy, straight posture, you make eye contact with the people in front of you, you’re speaking loud and clear, and your non-verbal language looks pleasant and professional. The sensors in the VR headset and the controllers keep track of all this information, and sends it directly to the pc of the therapist. The therapist can use this information to give you proper motivation and coaching. A confident presentation style isn’t just to impress an audience, it also helps you to actually feel more confident in front of a large group.
Vrerience is available on Steam, and is meant for professional use. This doesn’t mean that we don’t like it if anyone takes a peek to see what it looks like! You can find more about Vrerience here. If you are interested in receiving a VR treatment yourself, you can always contact us for a free of charge intake appointment.