Fear of public speaking is a phobia, 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. The best way to resolve the fear of public speaking is to use hypnosis to access the subconscious mind and to neutralise those triggers.
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. 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 far in advance of the event, leading to ever-present anxiety and stress.
What can help to overcome this fear? There are many ways it may be addressed. There are medical solutions, which help with the physical symptoms but not with the fear. Some medical solutions include taking medication, which may have strong side effects or become addictive. There are even more dangerous medical solutions, including a risky surgical procedure called ETS* to stop blushing.
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 formal situations, when the audience includes managers and colleagues from your company.
Hypnotherapy provides a fast solution, which completely dissolves this irrational fear. Even one hypnotherapy session with an experienced hypnotherapist will reduce the fear significantly. There are just a few more sessions required to change the fear into excitement and to build the self-confidence and self-esteem needed for optimal public performance.
The fear of public speaking, like any irrational fear, is usually caused by some past trauma, most often in early childhood. 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 three-year-old 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 childhood traumas?
Most of the early childhood trauma is not that traumatic when seen through adult eyes. This is why we usually 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 deep hypnosis. It is like being three 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 public speaking panics. Yet, it can all be done in one or two 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. 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, 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 excellence in a very short period of time.
Hypnotherapy is the best possible solution to resolve the panic of public speaking because it uses hypnosis. Not only do you dehypnotise yourself from illogical fears, but you also hypnotise yourself into confidence and good performance. It takes only a few 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 also disappear.
* ETS (Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy) is a controversial surgical procedure where certain portions of the sympathetic nerve trunk are destroyed. The procedure is now banned in many countries, including Sweden, where it was invented.
Joanna Malinowska is a professional hypnotherapist, counselor, self-hypnosis teacher and Family Constellations facilitator. Joanna Malinowska runs a busy hypnotherapy practise in Sydney CBD, Australia and she is assisting many clients to overcome their fear of public speaking.
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