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Treating Music Performance Anxiety (MPA) with Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT)



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In this Webinar, you'll learn how ACC/ACT can be used to treat MPA, and how singing teachers can make use of it within their practice. Several exercises aiming to improve key ACT processes will be included, such as mindfulness, acceptance, and cognitive diffusion. Attendees will also learn how to detect problematic cases of MPA and how to navigate ethical hurdles that arise when doing this type of work.

Thus far, treatments for music performance anxiety (MPA) have focused primarily on interventions administered by psychologists and mental health clinicians with training and education in psychotherapy. While these interventions are promising or even efficacious, many musicians prefer not to work with a psychotherapist due to stigma and lack of time/access. Student musicians are particularly vulnerable to developing MPA, and while they may prefer consulting with their teachers about MPA over psychotherapists, many teachers feel unqualified to help.

Newer research conducted at the Voice Study Centre, UK, has demonstrated that non-clinical professionals like singing teachers can achieve similar outcomes in treating student and professional musicians with MPA as those achieved by a clinical psychologist with expertise in treating MPA (e.g., Mahony, Juncos, & Winter, 2022; Shaw, Juncos, & Winter, 2020). In each of these studies, the teachers received a brief training in Acceptance and Commitment Coaching (ACC), a non-clinical version of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). As a clinical psychotherapy, ACT is efficacious in treating Social Anxiety Disorder, of which MPA is an example, and as a non-clinical intervention, ACT is efficacious in enhancing performance with athletes, students, and at the work-place.

About Dr Juncos

David G. Juncos, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist, author, & performance coach based in Philadelphia, PA. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from La Salle University in 2015.

He has over 17 years’ experience in treating a variety of clinical problems, including anxiety, mood, and substance use disorders. He specializes in the treatment of music performance anxiety (MPA) and has presented internationally on his research in using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to treat MPA and enhance music performance.

He is on faculty with the Voice Study Centre, a UK-based provider of postgraduate study in Voice Pedagogy and Performance Coaching for Performing Artists. There he provides lectures and tutorials on MPA, ACT, Motivational Interviewing, achieving peak performance, and statistics/research design, and he trains music teachers in ACT coaching to help them manage students’ MPA and other performance-related problems.

He recently co-authored his first book, entitled ACT for Musicians: A Guide for Using Acceptance and Commitment Training to Enhance Performance, Overcome Performance Anxiety, and Improve Well-Being. He is an amateur songwriter and has performed both as a solo artist and in bands throughout the Philadelphia area as a vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist.

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