People who suffer from an unexplainable fear of speaking German often believe that they are the only one having these problems. But the fact is, there are many people out there who suffer from a so-called "foreign language anxiety". Here's what you can do:
You are not the only one feeling like this
Many people feel a sudden intense fear as soon as they are forced to speak a foreign language. This fear can build up over time. The stronger these panic attacks get, the more people will try to hide them. They believe it's something that shouldn't happen, as it's "only a foreign language" and there's nothing actually to be afraid of. Unfortunately, not many therapists have specialised in foreign language anxiety, so it can be difficult to find help. The fact that it's a taboo in connection with the lack of specialised therapists makes it very difficult for people who are affected by this kind of fear.
The reasons for foreign language anxiety
In my view, fear of speaking a foreign language is mainly caused by traumatic experiences during childhood or adolescence. These experiences do not have to be dramatic and often seem quite harmless from the outside. For example, a difficult experience with learning a language during schooldays can cause a severe fear of experiencing these negative feelings again. Children tend to supress negative emotions in order to cope with stress. Later in life, these buried emotions can come up and manifest themselves in the form of panic or anxiety. The foreign language merely serves as a kind of trigger, because when you speak a foreign language, your emotional structure is different. The mental defence mechanisms simply do not work as well as in your mother tongue.
How I can help
I am a therapist based in Hamburg, Germany and I'm trained in psychotherapy, art therapy and psychoanalysis. I work with people all over the world on the phone as well as in my practice in Hamburg. My work is focused on helping to overcome the fear of speaking a foreign language, especially English and German. As I am half English and half German, I speak both languages fluently. I also speak French. If you would like to book a free initial session, please feel free to contact me by phone (Tel: 0049-40-46090233) or send me an email. Looking forward to hearing from you!