If it hadn’t been for a hypnotherapy session when she was 17, Jade Williams, aka Sunday Girl, now 22, wouldn’t have conquered her fear of singing in public.
A phobia of singing in public is no different from any other form of social phobia, like making presentations at work, speaking in public, reading in front of people or even getting married. The problem is generally, but not always, being the centre of attention. The belief is that they will be judged, and of course judged negatively. This is a form of social phobia.
One of the most common reasons for this sort of anxiety being created is being made to read in school, either in the class or sometimes in assembly. These types of events, for some people, can end in disaster where they stumble over their words or clam up, which inevitably leads to ridicule by their peers but often by their teacher amazingly! For the child they learn an important lesson. “Don’t stick your head above the parapet”. In other words don’t do anything in public where you can embarrass yourself in public. So to facilitate this, the subconscious mind uses the fight or flight response that we call anxiety to ensure that those sort of situations are avoided. This behaviour grows as you get older, adding more and more to the list of things/situations that need to be avoided.
Apparently after her hypnotherapy treatment, Jade said, ‘Afterwards I sang in a local choir to test whether I’d been cured. It was amazing, like a weight had been lifted.’ This sort of change often appears miraculous, however, usually it is achieved by changing a few beliefs held deep in the subconscious and it is done relatively quickly, in the main just a few sessions. This is why we call hypnotherapy “brief therapy”. Most simple issues can be dealt with in 4 to 6 sessions, sometimes a lot less.
There are many different ways hypnotherapy can help in these situations. For example, by using hypnotherapy we help the subconscious mind to learn a different behaviour where we link pleasure to the idea of putting yourself out there, or let the subconscious understand that this sort of belief, whilst learnt as a child, is inappropriate as an adult. At The Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy we don’t have a set formula to deal with this sort of issue. Each client is different and we have to deal with what emerges.
Paul Howard is an anxiety specialist and has been helping clients with anxiety for over ten years. He has trained many hypnotherapists around the country to treat agoraphobia and social phobia effectively. He works at The Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy in Wallington, Surrey, UK. He can be contacted via the website at www.sich.co.uk. He is also director for The National Council for Hypnotherapy.