How can slow talk help if social anxiety has already shut me down?


i just finished the audio part of session 2. i haven’t read all the handouts yet but i’m already wondering if slow talk will actually be effective for me.

in the most intense of my social anxiety experiences i feel almost the opposite of what he’s describing. instead of having fast, nervous, thoughts, it’s like my brain is shutting down. like my anxiety has gotten so high that i can’t even comprehend it anymore. all my thoughts leave me and i have nothing to say or even think about. this doesn’t happen every time i feel socially anxious, only when it’s at its peak.

i don’t see how slow talk would help me in this type of situation. would it? or should i just wait to reach another strategy in the therapy that will be more useful?


Slow talk is just one tool in the toolbox. Right now concentrate on practising the technique in situations where you feel little or no anxiety.


Some people do feel this way, most likely because anxiety is so high that the high amount of nervousness makes it seem as if nothing – no activity – is going on at all. It feels like your mind goes blank.

While slow talk is one of the first strategies mentioned, it is the “slow” part that is important. Slowing down or calming yourself down is really what this is all about. Especially for people who respond like you do. Instead of shutting down because of anxiety, see if you can relax, loosen your muscles, tell yourself to take it easy, and take a nice deep breath. This will take some practice for you to feel the effects, but the FIRST thing we must always do in treating anxiety is to learn to calm ourselves down, relax ourselves, give ourselves some time, and stay away from pressure.

The specific “slow talk” strategy comes in when you have calmed yourself down enough so that you can, by taking your time, respond to other people calmly. Instead of giving into anxiety and the mental blockage it can cause, slow down, calm down, take it easy, relax, and take your time. When you calm yourself down and give yourself some time, you will be able to think more rationally and clearly.

But first, work on the calming down and relaxing… Don’t stress on the slow talk, just keep moving along so that you can see that the “slowing down” or “calming down” is just a theme in learning to overcome social anxiety. You can slow yourself down and calm yourself down. It does take practice and time, but it is well worth it. Take it easy, relax, slow everything down, and realize the situation is not a life-and-death situation. It doesn’t need to be so exaggerated. :smiley:


I am only on chapter 5 and unaware of other tools but for me SLOW TALK is incredible

I use it to calm down AFTER a period of anxiety when I still have the symptoms

After 20 mins of following slow talk - the headaches, thin voice, etc have gone.

I have also started using slow talk much more at work - it has started happening automatically. Getting good results when I use it in these situations


I’ve had the exact same thoughts as the OP. I do find relief in using slow talk, but my most common response in a socially anxious situation is just to shut down. It’s like a defense mechanism, if I can’t physically escape I kind of automatically tune out. I’ll be trying to focus on what a person is saying or what I’d like to say in return, but I can barely even recall what someone just said to me, I’m so zoned out in anxiety land. So it seems counterintuitive that slow talk would help, if anxiety has caused your thinking to slow down to a grinding halt and it feels like you’re completely blank. I’m sure practicing the technique more will have it make more sense, and feel more natural. But just wanted to say I’ve had the same thoughts.


If you’re still at the point where you have trouble reading the handouts out loud in slow talk when you’re alone in your apartment (which is fine; I was at that point at first too), then it’s probably too early to start trying to use slow talk in situations where you’re experiencing anxiety. It may take several weeks before you’re at the point where you can use slow talk with people you’re relatively comfortable with, but if you consistently practice the therapy you will get there.


Dr. Richards,

Just curious your thoughts on Beta-Blockers like propranolol. I have taken this medication off and on for 20 years, usually only when I have to give a presentation or speak. It seems to really calm down my racing heart. I am just like ak8 in the post above. If I am called on to speak out of the blue, my heart races so fast so quick that there is NOTHING i can do in such situations. Over the years I have tried the deep breathing, the refocusing on something else in the room, the repeating a mantra “I am fine, I am calming myself, it’s just adrenaline” and unfortunately, none of them can calm my anxiety. And this can go on for over an hour if I cannot “escape” the situation. However, the propranolol helps me not to be so “flooded” so sometimes I take a small dose if I even think that I might have to speak.
Would love to hear your thoughts.:)))



Kelly, typically the use of propranolol is so good (i.e., strong) that cognitive-behavioral therapy cannot be practiced and learned. I always advise clients not to use propranolol in therapy. There are other anti-anxiety agents that work maybe less well (but more effectively long-term) that allow you to develop mastery over the strategy you’re trying to learn. Research, in fact, indicates propranolol blocks cognitive learning so we don’t allow people on propranolol to come to our programs, knowing they will not make genuine progress.

Other anti-anxiety agents, which do not block out all anxiety, are much preferred. Lorazepam, a short-acting agent, in particular, is good for people who have not had prior addictions. Most of our program participants in the past ten years have not been on any medications. I don’t know what caused the shift, but in 2008 (approximately) clients coming in no longer were on, or asked about, medications. I’m not sure what this means at this time. Anyway, weaning yourself off propranolol and substituting something less strong would be a good choice when trying to “get” the cognitive therapy down. I think it will all be easier if you have a chance to work on it in an environment that is more natural.

I have a private message for you. Can you send me an appropriate email address? Thank you :smiley:

– Dr. R


I sent you my e-mail.

Please let me know if you received it.

Thank You,



Dr. Richards,

So love your work! Sure you have helped and are helping thousands​:heart:️:rainbow::blush:


I also use propranolol and buspiron almost regularly when going out in public, social gatherings, family functions, etc.
The medications have become part of my life as much as I hate to admit. I hate that I have to depend on meds to get me by, but I’ve never had another outlet. I’ve taken them now for 10 years, but don’t feel they work as well as they once did. I’ve become desperate in the search of how to fix myself and is how I’ve discovered this website. I’ve just started lesson 3 when I read you discourage the use of meds when going through the lessons. Please let me know your thoughts on how I can move forward or if I should even attempt the lessons.