From Fear to Fearless: How Hypnosis Helped Alan Conquer Public Speaking Anxiety

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Introduction:

Hello I’m Lara Cox Certified Hypnotherapist. Since Covid I’ve worked largely online but do still see clients for hypnotherapy at my home and even travel to deliver hypnosis sessions sometimes.

In this blog I’d like to reflect to the personal journey of one of my past clients. I do have permission to refer to his experiences but have changed his name and some of the details to protect client confidentiality.

Chapter 1:

Alan came to me initially for what he described as social anxiety in the workplace, but it soon transpired that what Alan was describing as social anxiety was really a reaction to an early trauma in one of his first significant career placements. When Alan got his first job in a large insurance firm in the city he was excited and confident. In his own words he always described himself a bit of a ‘jack the lad’. However, when a relationship with his female boss, a woman who was only five years his senior (but his boss nevertheless) broke down he felt vulnerable to her criticisms, which were directed at his presentations at work.

Alan said whilst public speaking had never been something he excelled at or needed to do, he’d always felt comfortable in his skin and confident when talking to others. Social anxiety was not a phrase he’d even heard of. However, with his boss being critical, he began to find himself stuttering and stumbling when speaking to others and by the time he called me, he said it had got to the point that if he had speak to a group at work, he wouldn’t sleep the night before. He was imagining the worst case scenarios. Speaking at work had become a phobia. He was especially nervous of being overheard talking to anyone on the phone if his boss should be anywhere near.

It is an often cited fact that public speaking anxiety is one of the most common fears and that’s why many hypnotherapists specialise in hypnosis for public speaking. However, in Alan’s case his public speaking anxiety was a response to a particular incident at work and whilst there may have been some historical insecurities around presenting at the work place, Alan’s situation was largely a response to a personal trauma within an intimate relationship. Quite often it is the breakdown of our most intimate relationships which impact our confidence to perform the most overtly. Thankfully someone I’d previously worked with in hypnosis to stop smoking referred Alan to me and we began a hypnotherapy programme to improve his confidence to speak at work.

In the next few chapters, I’ll break down how Alan was able to use hypnosis to overcome his insecurity around public speaking and learn the art of stepping into resourceful sates so he could transform his fear into fearlessness.

Chapter 2: Alan’s Journey with Hypnosis

Having had a referral to me as a hypnotherapist with a background in performance and ideally positioned to offer support using hypnosis for public speaking, Alan and I began work. Programmes for confidence to speak in pubic work best as programmes of four or six with there being a focus at the end of a presentation or performance. I used the first two sessions with Alan to clear his trauma which was focussed around certain event with his previous boss. This involves taking the client back with new resources and enabling them to recode the experiences and diffused the automatic triggers that have been created.

A useful way to imagine it, is by picturing a bomb being disabled. Trauma often creates explosions in our sensory filters and hypnosis is an effective way of reconfiguring that neural circuitry.

Chapter 3: Building Resourceful States

With the negative charges disabled we could use the subsequent hypnosis sessions to improve Alan’s confidence so he could speak and present to a group. In my hypnotherapy practice for public speaking I used a combination of NLP, direct suggestion and metaphor. The unconscious mind works powerfully when given the right images and beliefs to do so. Using hypnosis for trance Alan worked on building resourceful states within himself. In a trance he was able to visualize himself delivering powerful and engaging presentations with confidence and ease and because this is done in a hypnotic trance the unconscious mind believes this is something that Alan has done.  Through guided imagery and positive affirmations, Alan rewired his subconscious mind to associate public speaking with feelings of excitement and success.

Chapter 4: Overcoming the Initial Event

With each hypnosis session, Alan gained more control over his fear. He learned to reframe the initial incident with his boss and by the end of our six week programme could see that the experience had been an opportunity for growth. He was able to work on his response to his ex-boss so that her criticisms and reactions were not experienced personally and did not impact his performance negatively at work. By the end of our programme he was calm at the thought of speaking to a group at work and was applying for a promotion outside of his company.  Through hypnosis, he developed a sense of forgiveness towards himself and the situation, allowing him to move forward with renewed confidence.

Chapter 5: Transforming Fear into Fearlessness

I didn’t hear from Alan until about six months after he’d finished the programme and was by that time working for a different company. Alan tells me that hypnosis changed his mindset and outlook completely. The fear of failure that once held him back was replaced by an excitement. He’d even experienced fearlessness. He now regularly volunteered for speaking opportunities and actively searched for ways he could gradually expose himself to larger audiences. With each successful presentation, his confidence grew stronger, reinforcing the positive changes brought about by hypnosis.

Conclusion:

Hypnosis proved to be a transformative tool for Alan in conquering his public speaking anxiety. Through addressing the initial incident and building resourceful states, he was able to regain his confidence and overcome his fear. Alan’s journey serves as an inspiration for anyone struggling with public speaking anxiety, highlighting the potential of hypnosis to bring about positive life changes. If you find yourself in a similar situation, remember that with the right mindset and the help of hypnosis, you too can go from fear to fearless in the world of public speaking.