Project Title

Dismantling an Energy Psychology Technique for Communication Apprehension: A Randomized Mixed Methods Trial

Department

Communication

Abstract

Public speaking is often cited as a top fear among college students (Dyer & Davidson, 2012). For several decades, scholars have examined the causes, outcomes, and treatment of public speaking anxiety, or communication apprehension (CA). Reducing CA in university public speaking classes has been traditionally achieved by strategies such as skills training, rehearsal, preparation, and repeated performance. Yet, some highly anxious speakers require more intensive interventions. Recently, Energy Psychology (EP) protocols such as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Primordial Energy Activation and Transcendence (PEAT) have significantly reduced CA after brief interventions. Other studies have investigated the therapeutic effects of the various components of selected EP protocols through dismantling studies. This study contributes to existing EP dismantling and CA studies by exploring the efficacy of two modified PEAT protocols. Participants (N = 51) were randomly placed into one of three groups: a modified PEAT acupressure group, a modified PEAT non-acupressure group, and a no-treatment control group. Mixed method analyses did not find a significant difference in CA scores (p < .05) or reported subjective experiences between groups at posttest, and highly anxious speakers benefitted more from the public speaking course than less anxious ones. The authors suggest that dismantling the original PEAT technique may have limited its efficacy and further study on PEAT for CA is required. However, qualitative findings indicated that students perceived the PEAT technique as beneficial in mitigating CA.

Presentation format

Poster

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Dismantling an Energy Psychology Technique for Communication Apprehension: A Randomized Mixed Methods Trial

Public speaking is often cited as a top fear among college students (Dyer & Davidson, 2012). For several decades, scholars have examined the causes, outcomes, and treatment of public speaking anxiety, or communication apprehension (CA). Reducing CA in university public speaking classes has been traditionally achieved by strategies such as skills training, rehearsal, preparation, and repeated performance. Yet, some highly anxious speakers require more intensive interventions. Recently, Energy Psychology (EP) protocols such as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Primordial Energy Activation and Transcendence (PEAT) have significantly reduced CA after brief interventions. Other studies have investigated the therapeutic effects of the various components of selected EP protocols through dismantling studies. This study contributes to existing EP dismantling and CA studies by exploring the efficacy of two modified PEAT protocols. Participants (N = 51) were randomly placed into one of three groups: a modified PEAT acupressure group, a modified PEAT non-acupressure group, and a no-treatment control group. Mixed method analyses did not find a significant difference in CA scores (p < .05) or reported subjective experiences between groups at posttest, and highly anxious speakers benefitted more from the public speaking course than less anxious ones. The authors suggest that dismantling the original PEAT technique may have limited its efficacy and further study on PEAT for CA is required. However, qualitative findings indicated that students perceived the PEAT technique as beneficial in mitigating CA.