Conquering Terror by Feeling Terrified: How I Used Person-Centered Psychotherapy to Overcome My Terror of Performing


Gaeffke, J.


It took a long time of tireless searching to realize that freeing painful repressed memories would also free me from my fear of the stage. I began therapy in 2003 with Armin Klein and continued with his wife Grace in 2011, after Armin passed away. Armin and Grace Klein aretherapists who embody Carl Rogers’ person-centered values (Rogers,1995). When I combined psychotherapeutic tools with Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” I found my own strategies to uncovertraumatic memories of my earliest years. How I have remembered what I felt as an unborn child, infant, and child is difficult to explain logically. My stage-fright disappeared when I realized that when I stepped on stage I re-experienced exactly how terrified I felt of being born to my mother. At that very instant I also lost forever my terror of every person I met. Before therapy, I was a person who stumbled frightened and blindly through life. By remembering extremely early trauma, I am now a person who feels within a huge radiant sun that sheds warm brilliant light even on the darkest corners of existence.

Keywords: Stage fright, child abuse, Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” Person Centered Therapy, Spina Bifida.