Can't read handouts out loud


I live in a dorm, and I feel very self conscious about reading the handout out loud, because I think students in the next dorm can hear me, so I try to read them as low as possible like whispering, what are your thoughts?


I would have been very self-conscious to do the therapy in a shared living space like that. So, you’re not alone there.

I think you are reading the handouts to yourself in slow talk, so, first, good job.

I do feel there is a benefit to speak them out louder - at a normal voice level. And this is just my opinion. Why? 1. Most of us probably need to speak up anyway. When we do speak in situations, a lot of us probably falter and lose our voice or we speak too quietly. A lot of exercises here in the group involve voice projection. So, in a way, this is practice for us being able to speak at a more normal volume level while being relaxed. It will help down the road. 2. I wonder if saying louder to yourself makes the feeling stronger. That’s my experience.

Can you consider that it’s rational to speak something outloud, as if and when one studies a foreign language? Can you make a sound barrier of some kind that won’t distract you but make it harder for outsiders to hear you speaking? Like some kind of instrumental music? Can you find another place on campus which allows you to do the therapy more privately? Can you use a private place to record yourself at a louder level and listen to that when you feel self conscious?

… I consulted Dr. Richards about your question. I also wanted to know if my gut feeling about speaking it out in a louder normal voice is perhaps better. His answer (as I try to summarize it best): Yes, it would be better to do your slow talk and practice out loud in a normal voice, one that we want to be able to use in the real world. Also maybe you can build up to that, so don’t get down on yourself for this. Step by step in all things and no pressure. Speaking louder does tie into the feeling of it, and later this goes with the idea in the therapy of being an active “actor” in your world, asserting yourself into “the conversation” of any situation in a normal way.

On my suggestion of recording and listening to yourself, Dr. Richards had this to say: This is a good additional activity in therapy, but the act of listening by its nature is passive, whereas the act of talking… “I DESERVE…”, etc., is active/assertive. And the act of saying it does connect more with the physical feeling of it.

So, you’re doing a good job. Keep it up. Try to find somewhere where you can feel more comfortable to do this if it’s not your dorm. And try to work it up at the pace appropriate for you there.


Thank you for your help, but I don’t think I can continue with the therapy. Apparently my neighbor who lives in the next dorm hears me talking and thinks I play video games, he asked me if I did, and I lied to him and told him that I do. I feel embarrassed what if hears what I’m saying?! I don’t know what to do. I have no place to do the therapy, I think I’m just gonna stop


I understand the feeling - ultimately it’s self-consciousness. So I would then suggest to do what you can. Don’t worry about what you can’t do - focus on what you can do. Can you find someplace safe to record your voice at other times and use that to listen to in your room? If that is your only option, it’s still an option for now. At least doing something, not giving up… You are still so young from my perspective and the ability to get better at a younger age is great for so many reasons. For all of us it is a matter of taking advantage of the present moment, living now, not being imprisoned by this forever. I just hope you can find some workaround. Can you find the student health center and meet a therapist there privately? If so, perhaps you don’t need meetings with the therapist, but you might explain the situation, that you are working on a therapy program but you don’t have any place to be private. Perhaps they could provide a private office there for your use? I don’t know, but that is what a health services center should try to help you with - support and understanding. I also know it is hard to admit that to anyone else, but perhaps admiting this to a professional who is also bound ethically to keep your information confidential - perhaps this can give you some assurance or confidence to look for help in finding a place that is suitable for you.

Do what you feel is right for you, Jerry. All the best to you. I can tell you from my experience… if I could get back the 22 years of my life that social anxiety took away, if I could have enjoyed even one day of university without anxiety, if I could have my twenties back with a healthier, free mind, I would say yes. That would be priceless. Before therapy I could never have imagined telling ANYONE about being embarrassed all the time - not even counselors. But after therapy, it’s not a big deal. I know it is a big deal for you and most of us before therapy - we can’t really change that or put the cart in front of the horse - but maybe just knowing that later you might not worry so much about being honest in your life, with other people, with family, friends, and strangers even - honesty is a strength, not a weakness. And this disorder called social anxiety is not some weakness or flaw in your either - not to feel ashamed about. I know we do now, but you’re not alone. There are thousands of people in this community alone that understand you, that are just like you, that have the same feelings as you do. You are actually doing the brave thing by trying to heal yourself.

Take care.


Oh yeah same problem except it’s with family. I thought it would be a good experiment for me to try it out anyway because it’s similar to making phone calls from my room when my family is home. So I thought to myself, TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE! So I started to use my voice recorder on my laptop to record myself as I read the sessions out loud. I feel better about recording myself instead of just reading into thin air. At least I have it for future listening opportunities to fall in love with my own voice so I can like my voice and allow myself to speak out loud when I’m around a group of people.

Now at first it was hard, as anything, because family was home and there I was in my room reading and recording myself reading out loud. At first I noticed I wanted to be as close to the laptop so I could talk soft and limit the amount of noise of my voice coming out from under my door. LOL! But within a few moments, I become more and more comfortable with recording myself out loud with family like in the next room right next to mine! Now I feel much better to take it to the next level, doing phone calls while family is at home. I was literally thinking about being able to talk on the phone in my room if family is home, regardless. Ahh, this therapy is so good when it bleeds over from one situation to another, what a domino effect!


Yes, you can whisper. It’s your room, it’s your business what you do in there. I started from whispering too, but more like “out loud” whispering. You don’t have to worry much because the more and more you read the therapy, the more louder your voice will get. It has that power to put you in control of the situation. The students in the other dorm, ahah ahahah, surely they don’t mind what you’re doing as long as you don’t turn up loud obnoxious music all night long. Nothing to worry about.


Under these circumstances, whispering is fine. Even just reading SILENTLY is fine because it is certainly better than not doing the therapy at all. You can reinforce some of the therapy in your car OR when you’re alone in a park OR when everyone else is gone, etc. Don’t let self-consciousness win. Read silently to yourself if need be. That is a step in the right direction. :smiley: