Hypnosis for Fear of Public Speaking
Fear of public speaking is, as any sufferer knows, an illogical state of mind, when we are overwhelmed by completely irrational fears. The fear of public speaking is, in fact, a trance-like hypnotic state, brought on by subconscious triggers. Hypnosis for public speaking is the best way to resolve the fear of public speaking because it accesses the subconscious mind and to neutralise those triggers where they were created and are activated.
Logically, the fear of public speaking does not make much sense. You may be well-prepared, an expert in the field, and there is no “real” threat whatsoever. But the body reacts with complete panic. You know the symptoms of the fear: Your heart races, you cannot breathe or you hyperventilate, your hands shake or become damp, you start sweating or blushing, the tone of your voice changes, and your mind goes blank. Sometimes it happens suddenly without any warning, but most often nervousness grows prior to the event, leading to ever-present anxiety and stress, ruining days or even weeks in advance.
Below is a short video that I created about hypnosis for the fear of public speaking. Please forgive the video quality!
What can help to overcome this fear of public speaking?
There are many ways it may be addressed. There are medical solutions, Beta Blockers and the like, which help with the physical symptoms but not with the fear. Most of the clients I see for fear of public speaking either are or have taken some form of medication but aren’t satisfied with the results of that approach.
Steve overcame his fear of public speaking with me over the past summer and you can see him talk about his experience here.
There are also psychological solutions, which while not risky, are not very helpful, because talking about illogical fears and reasoning about them does not help in resolving subconscious fears. With time, it may help, but the process is very slow.
There are also many practical courses and coaching schools, where a supportive environment helps students to progress gradually and build confidence through practice. This usually works very well, but again, it is slow, and may take years. Very often, the fear comes back in real life situations, when the audience includes managers and colleagues from your company or larger numbers of people, or whatever your triggers are. The mind knows the difference between a friendly and supportive small group of people whose opinion of you doesn’t matter in any significant way in your life, and a situation where your professional reputation is on the line, of course.
In contrast to these approaches, hypnotherapy provides a fast solution. Just a few sessions required to release the fear and to build the self-confidence and self-esteem needed for optimal public performance.
Fear of public speaking: irrational – but it doesn’t feel that way
The fear of public speaking, like any irrational fear, is usually caused by some past trauma, most often in early childhood, although I’ve seen what we call the “Initial Sensitizing Event” happen at all ages, even up into and past college. Middle and high school experiences are the worst offenders, though, and that’s because of what we’re going through psychologically at that time in our lives. We’re overly concerned about what our peers think of us at that age, aren’t we? The memory of panic created by trauma is stored at the subconscious level as an essential survival strategy, an instant arousal of the body to fight or take flight. There is no time to think when there is a real danger; the body needs to act quickly to survive. The mind becomes blank, and you are like a terrified child.
Every time a similar situation arises, it triggers automatically the same response and strengthens it. It becomes neurologically wired in your mind and in your body as it gets stronger. Even thinking about public speaking triggers butterflies in the stomach, elevated heart rate, sweaty hands, or a hot feeling in your face. After a few terrifying episodes, you start believing that you cannot speak in public and you hypnotise yourself into even more anxiety by negative self-talk.
How specifically does hypnotherapy help to dissolve those early traumas?
Most of the trauma experienced by our younger selves is not that traumatic when seen through adult eyes. This is why we often do not remember those first incidents that triggered the fear. However, our mind is like a vast computer and every moment of our life is stored and can be revisited when in hypnosis. It is like being seven years old again and experiencing the fearful situation, but at the same time having the resources and mind of an adult, not a helpless child. This allows for reasoning and leaving the fears in the past.
There are many ways the experienced hypnotherapist can assist with dissolving the triggers from the past, and the procedure differs depending on the situation and level of distress. It is important not only to let go of the fears from childhood but also to desensitise the most recent negative experiences with public speaking. Yet, it can all be done in just a handful of hypnotic sessions.
A similar technique allows you to bring to mind and focus on positive memories from the past, times when you were confident and you spoke freely, times when it was “OK to just be yourself.” It is easy to build on these experiences once there is nothing to trigger irrational fears.
The next step is to connect the same triggers with the positive experience and to build confidence and self-esteem for public speaking on every level, conscious and subconscious. At these levels, when the original fears are resolved, the psychological approach of connecting with logic and changing negative self-talk works. The coaching approach is also very effective, now that it feels good to have the real-life experience of speaking in public.
This phase of building confidence, coaching, and replacing negative self-talk with a positive approach can be accelerated in hypnosis. You can experience a positive future public event in hypnotic trance, something we call “mental rehearsal,” and learn how to coach yourself in hypnosis, watch yourself speaking, and keep improving. The hypnotic state allows you to build on this positive experience to create routine and comfort in a very short period of time.
Hypnotherapy is the best possible solution to resolve the panic of public speaking because it uses hypnosis and reaches the root of the fear. Not only do you dehypnotise yourself from illogical fears, but you also hypnotise yourself into confidence and good performance. It takes only a handful of sessions, and usually much more than the fear of public speaking is resolved. When you build strong self-confidence and self-esteem, general anxiety and social phobia are also positively reduced and those feelings are also changed for the better.