Overcoming performance anxiety
You play the violin to a high standard. You practise diligently, playing with feeling and skill - in front of your teacher or alone in your own front room. Playing in front of an audience however, you freeze. Even the prospect of playing for a few friends is sufficient to set your heart racing with anxiety and fill your hands with cramp.
You are a driver with good road skills. Good enough to pass your driving test and yet, when it comes to it, you find your head running in sweat, your hands gripping the wheel. You are sure that you are going to fail - and fail you do.
You are good at your job. As the assistant manager of a sports centre, both colleagues and customers trust and respect you. You feel ready for promotion but the manager is going nowhere within the next few years. If you want to manage your own facility, you will need to apply for a new job in a different centre. The problem is, you hate interviews. Faced with the dreaded three-person panel, your armpits start leaking and your ears begin pounding. All that careful preparation is driven out of your mind by fear. So, you don't even apply for those good-looking roles. What would be the point?
You see yourself as a confident and conscientious person. As HR officer for a charity, you excel to such a degree that colleagues frequently request your assistance personally when facing the most challenging workplace issues. When your manager asks you to deliver a presentation on training day however, your stomach churns with anxiety. One-to-one situations are fine but a training day means a room filled with people. The second their heads turn your way, your mouth will dry, your voice shrink to a whisper. You hate public speaking.
The good news is that hypnotherapy can help in all of these (fictitious) case studies.
Hypnotherapy works by first stilling the conscious mind through relaxation (trance). Once the client is relaxed, the subconscious mind - which holds persistent, lurking fears - can be addressed. Positive suggestion: "You will breathe regularly and easily - before looking out at their faces – making them wait, taking your time – and speaking fluently, confidently and naturally" – is added, and reinforced through subsequent sessions. The client should also be given the opportunity to discuss progress with their therapist: What is working well, and what isn't?
If you identify with any of the case studies above, expertly-tailored therapy can help you. Hypnotherapy is particularly well suited to the treatment of performance anxiety. Sexual performance difficulties are also susceptible to hypnotherapy - providing that the underlying issues are primarily psychological rather than physiological.
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About Tom Bailey
Tom is a hypnotherapist and counsellor with his own private practice in Manchester. Specialisms include smoking cessation, overcoming performance anxiety and beating addictions - including the addiction to smartphones and the internet.