Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Fear of speaking in public

The fear of public speaking is probably the most common phobia I deal with in my practice. Statistics for the United Kingdom show it to be even more common than the fear of death; which I suppose goes to show many people would rather die than to have to speak in public! 

The phobia generally has two aspects; a crippling panic when actually performing is just one part. Additionally and even worse for many people is the dread that goes beforehand. People with this phobia can spend days imagining the event, (usually going badly), over and over again, leading to high stress levels and loss of sleep. It can be quite debilitating and exhausting. Many famous figures throughout history have been victims, including movie stars like Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant. Even the "father of psycho-analysis", Sigmund Freud himself was a sufferer. 

Unfortunately for Dr Freud, he was not around in the 1970's to see the discoveries being made in the field of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), which have transformed the treatment of many phobias. Nowadays, NLP practitioners are able to teach people the skills needed to be calm and confident in front of an audience, and perhaps even more important, how to avoid worrying about the speaking engagement beforehand and actually look forward to it!

If you want to find out more, drop me a line via my website or pick up the phone and call 021 487 6072. One or two sessions is usually all it takes.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis, or "trance", is a very normal and natural state of consciousness, one we all experience from time to time in which the mind remains clear, alert and focused on something. Have you ever "become really absorbed" while watching TV? Or driven to work on "auto pilot?" That is a form of trance. It is not the same as sleep. It is not an unconscious state.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, hypnosis is not something that is done to you, rather it is something you do to yourself. Indeed all hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis - a skill you will learn during therapy. The job of the "hypnotist" is merely to guide the client into that particular state of awareness that is a trance state.

Sometimes people ask if they've really been hypnotised, just because it feels so normal and they were maybe expecting something very strange. The zombie like states seen in movies and on TV shows are pure fantasy. Unfortunately much of this popular perception of hypnosis is reinforced by what appears to happen in stage hypnosis shows, but the reality is far less dramatic than Hollywood likes to portray it!

Stage hypnotism is a totally different scenario, an entertainment setting where the vast majority of people in the audience have already "bought into" the idea that silly things are going to happen. Stage hypnotists pick their "victims" with great care. They have no interest in the shy, quiet types, they want the extroverts, and they also want people who are quite convinced of their "magic" powers, using so-called "suggestibility tests" to reinforce the belief. Curiously, people are still willing to believe in this even if the performer, like Derren Brown, is open enough to admit that his "mind control" power doesn't exist and that he is only using a combination of illusion, misdirection and showmanship!

Mind control by stage hypnotists is no more real than a magician "sawing a woman in half".

021 487 6072