Hypnosis for Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety is a common problem among both amateur and professional performers.

It occurs much more often among those who already tend to be anxious, and can best be understood as a kind of social phobia.

While some form of tension is important for a dynamic live performance, negative self talk and a sense of panic or impending disaster can spoil the experience for the performer and the audience.

A study of students an an American University School of music found that 21% reported “Marked distress”, while another 40% experienced “Moderate distress”.

Reported symptoms included flushing, quavering voice, nausea and dizziness.

Several studies have shown that hypnotherapy is an effective treatment.

A 1993 study using a two session hypnotherapy procedure that combined success imagery with rational-emotional therapy, (removing beliefs such as the notion that anything short of perfection is unacceptable), resulted in a marked reduciton, in most cases elimination of symptoms.

performance-anxiety-300x291A follow up study paired music students according to their scores on a performance anxiety questionaire and assigned one of each pair to hypnotherapy and the other to a control group.

Two sessions one week apart were used, involving pleasant visual imagery and verbal suggestions that linked these images to increased mental control.

The hypnotherapy group showed a significant reduction in performance anxiety when evaluated immediately after treatment and again six months after treatment, indicating that the benefits are long lasting.

Other studies have shown similar results in the fields of sports and public speaking.

If you suffer from performance anxiety but are concerned that medication may take the edge off your performance then you might like to try hypnotherapy, as it is a proven effective treatment with zero side effects.



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The Effectiveness of Hypnosis Intervention in Alleviating Postpartum Psychological Symptoms

This study shows how hypnosis can be very helpful in the treatment of PostPartum Depression.

Psychological symptoms, particularly postpartum depression, may impair women’s well-being after childbirth. Mind-body treatments such as hypnosis are available to help prepare women to maintain or improve their well-being postpartum. The aims of the present study are to determine the effectiveness of a hypnosis intervention in alleviating psychological symptoms (stressanxiety, and depression) and the symptoms of postpartum depression. A quasi-experimental design was utilized in this study. The experimental group participants (n = 28) received a hypnosis intervention at weeks 16, 20, 28, and 36 of their pregnancies. Participants in the control group (n = 28) received routine prenatal care. The final data collection, occurring at two months postpartum, included 16 women from the experimental group and 11 women from the control group. The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) was used to measure psychological symptoms, and postpartum depression was assessed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). The results at two months postpartum showed that the experimental group had significantly lower postpartum anxiety than the control group (M = 2.88 versus M = 38.36, p = .023). Similarly, the experimental group had significantly lower postpartum depressive symptoms than the control group (M = 1.25 versus M = 6.73, p < .002). Group differences in postpartum stress symptoms were not significant (p = .363). Finally, the results indicated that the experimental group experienced reduced postpartum depression when compared to the control group (M = 5.69 versus M = 10.64, p < .001). Thus, hypnosis conducted during pregnancy may promote improvements in psychological well-being postpartum.

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Literature Review of the Evidence-base for the Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy for Chronic Pain and Anxiety

This very interesting and useful paper by Eileen Davis* reviews ten studies on the effectiveness of Hypnotherapy.

Here is a summary of her findings:
The goal of this literature review is to provide a contemporary review of research on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy. Ten studies have been reviewed on the application of hypnotherapy to two common conditions: chronic pain and anxiety. The review found that the studies provided evidence for the effectiveness of hypnotherapy as a treatment to assist in the reduction of pain and anxiety.

A stronger evidence base for hypnotherapy has developed over the past decade, and the review provides some key recommendations for future research in this area .
You can read the entire paper here.

* Davis, E., (2015), Literature review of the evidence-base for the effectiveness of hypnotherapy. Melbourne: PACFA.



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Hypnotherapy for Hair Pulling

Recent research in Israel confirms that hypnotherapy is a highly effective, side effect free way of helping the sufferer to stop the behavior.

You can read here a recent paper that describes three case studies where trichotillomania was effectively treated with hypnosis.

At my practice in Highgate Hill in Brisbane I often see young people struggling with the stresses of growing up in today’s challenging world, who find themselves pulling their hair.

I’ve found that Hypnotherapy consistently achieves lasting success.

In addition, I use hypnosis to address the underlying causes and teach clients stress management techniques to eliminate the need for hair pulling.

If you would like to know more, you can contact me here. I will be happy to answer your question, of course, with no obligation.

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Hypnotherapy in The Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety occurs in modern societies in almost epidemic numbers. One of the great problems in addressing this is that many of the stressors we encounter in everyday life realistically either cannot be removed, or would require making major, often unacceptable, changes in our lifestyle.

An example of this is worrying about losing our jobs to automation. For so many of us, the risk is real, but often there is little we can do to reduce this risk.

So, we struggle on, but with that nagging fear in our minds. But as we’re constantly bombarded by negative stories via the evening news and social media, our anxiety levels rise, until it finally manifests, perhaps as insomnia, hair pulling or horrible pains in our chest or stomach.

So, the first question that arises is, if we cannot remove the stressors, can we do something about the terrible symptoms of anxiety?

The answer is definitely  yes.

We can see the doctor and get a prescription. there are effective drugs,  but they all carry the risks of side effects and, in some cases, addiction. Also, there is evidence that some of the drugs used to treat anxiety can negatively effect our mental and physical performance.

There is growing evidence that exercise and dietary improvements help reduce anxiety symptoms. A major benefit of using exercise and diet, is that while, helping to reduce the anxiety, they also provide major benefits to our overall health, fitness and risk of acquiring degenerative diseases.

But what if they’re not enough to get the job done? Or, what if the sufferers circumstances limit the use of these approaches?

Hypnotherapy is a proven, side effect free way of treating anxiety. And when delivered by a skilled therapist, it has an extremely high success rate.

A second, and equally important question related to anxiety is, why do some experiences or circumstances causes some people to experience debilitating anxiety while others remain unaffected.

One major reason for this is that a situation or experience often triggers anxiety because it relates to an earlier life experience. Such experiences may be recent or may have occurred long ago, even in childhood. The sufferer may have completely forgotten about an early life event, yet it may be profoundly affecting his or her life.

This is what makes hypnotherapy such a useful tool in treating this condition. A Hypnotherapist can use a technique called Age Regression to resolve that early event. Often, this alone is enough to bring the anxiety levels down.

The therapist doesn’t need to even know what the event causing all the problems actually was. This is because the event is doing its harm at the subconscious level, (which is why the sufferer often has no recollection of the event), and that is precisely where hypnosis operates.

Hypnotherapy is a highly effective treatment modality for anxiety, and, best of all, it is side effect free.




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Hypnosis and Surgery

Following is an abstract of a paper describing research into the effectiveness of Hypnosis in reducing anxiety and discomfort associated with surgery.

Psychological approaches during conscious sedation. Hypnosis versus stress reducing strategies: a prospective randomized study*

Stress reducing strategies are useful in patients undergoing surgery. Hypnosis is also known to alleviate acute and chronic pain. We therefore compared the effectiveness of these two psychological approaches for reducing perioperative discomfort during conscious sedation for plastic surgery. Sixty patients scheduled for elective plastic surgery under local anesthesia and intravenous sedation (midazolam and alfentanil upon request) were included in the study after providing informed consent. They were randomly allocated to either stress reducing strategies (control: CONT) or hypnosis (HYP) during the entire surgical procedure. Both techniques were performed by the same anesthesiologist (MEF). Patient behavior was noted during surgery by a psychologist, the patient noted anxiety, pain, perceived control before, during and after surgery, and postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). Patient satisfaction and surgical conditions were also recorded. Peri- and postoperative anxiety and pain were significantly lower in the HYP group. This reduction in anxiety and pain were achieved despite a significant reduction in intraoperative requirements for midazolam and alfentanil in the HYP group (alfentanil: 8.7±0.9 μg kg−1/h−1 vs. 19.4±2 μg kg−1/h−1,P<0.001; midazolam: 0.04±0.003 mg kg−1/h−1 vs. 0.09±0.01 mg kg−1/h−1, P<0.001). Patients in the HYP group reported an impression of more intraoperative control than those in the CONT group (P<0.01). PONV were significantly reduced in the HYP group (6.5% vs. 30.8%, P<0.001). Surgical conditions were better in the HYP group. Less signs of patient discomfort and pain were observed by the psychologist in the HYP group (P<0.001). Vital signs were significantly more stable in the HYP group. Patient satisfaction score was significantly higher in the HYP group (P<0.004). This study suggests that hypnosis provides better perioperative pain and anxiety relief, allows for significant reductions in alfentanil and midazolam requirements, and improves patient satisfaction and surgical conditions as compared with conventional stress reducing strategies support in patients receiving conscious sedation for plastic surgery.

* Psychological approaches during conscious sedation. Hypnosis versus stress reducing strategies: a prospective randomized study

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Hypnosis and Self Esteem

In 2006, Thomas Herber conducted an interesting piece of research as part of his Masters program*.

His thesis begins, ” Enhancing self-esteem may have significant therapeutic value, but little research has been done on the application of hypnotic ego strengthening for this purpose. This study examined the effects of two procedures intended to enhance self-esteem: one in which ego strengthening suggestions were read verbatim to participants after a hypnotic induction (ES), and one in which the same suggestions were read to participants without a hypnotic induction (PT). Each participant attended two sessions one week apart. During the first session, participants (n = 33) were administered the Stanford Hypnotic Clinical Scale (SHCS; Morgan & Hilgard, 1975) to determine hypnotizability, and the State Self-Esteem Scale (SSES; Heatherton & Polivy, 1991) to determine a pre-test indicant of self-esteem.”

Herber concludess, ” These findings indicate that although ego strengthening suggestions alone can result in higher self-esteem, including a hypnotic induction with such suggestions increases the effect.”

Further evidence of how a skilled therapist using hypnosis can achieve significant improvements in cases of low self esteem.



by Thomas John Herber. M.A.
Washington State University
May 2006

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Hypnosis for Premature Ejaculation

Hypnotherapy can be a fantastic cure for sufferers of premature ejaculation, according to new research.

In a feature for, health journalist Laura Casey studied how hypnotherapists are treating sexual health problems and concluded that premature ejaculation is often a mental condition linked to performance anxiety which can be cured via hypnosis.

Casey discovered that many hypnotherapists provide a course aimed at activating the parasympathetic nervous system, in order to elongate the sexual experiences of male patients.

The method – described as ‘meditation with a purpose’ – was first introduced as a self-treatment by Seth-Deborah-Roth in the 1980s and has been widely-adopted by hypnotherapists around the world today. Within the article, Casey also suggested that similar treatment could be a viable solution for those who suffered from other bedtime problems – such as impotency and bed-wetting.

Evaluating the research, fellow health journalist Sam Davidson agreed that hypnotherapy would appear to be a plausible solution for those who suffered from premature ejaculation.

Writing for, he said: “As anxiety is known to be a risk factor for premature ejaculation, the treatment suggested by the daily can be effective in relieving anxious thoughts an individual faces when excited.

“A one to two hour session can take a person to a state of ‘relaxed awareness’, which can be helpful in regulating the rapid stream of impulses linked to premature ejaculation.”

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Hypnosis for Self Harming

What is self-harming?

Self-harming is when people cause themselves physical pain that alters their mood state (how they feel inside). Some people harm themselves because they feel disconnected and isolated from everybody, and hurting themselves is the only way they feel real or connected. Hypnosis is an effective solution since most of these feelings that are being expressed are embedded so deep in the subconcious that the self harmer can’t even verbally express what they are.

Self-harming behaviors can include:self harm

  • cutting the skin with knives or any sharp object
  • burning the skin
  • hitting the body with an object or fists (like punching the wall)
  • deliberately falling when doing something like extreme sports
  • picking at the skin
  • swallowing pills or sharp objects
  • pulling at the hair (hair pulling can also be a habit).

Eating disorders, alcohol and drug addiction are other ways that people harm themselves physically and mentally.

Over-all self harm is an addiction. It works like any habitual pattern of behavior that starts to feel compulsive.

How self harm works

  • First there is a build up of tension and stress (or even boredom) then there is the thought of cutting
  • Then comes the opportunity to self harm – maybe because no one else is around.
  • The tension and urge to self-harm become stronger and stronger.
  • Perhaps next you try to stop yourself but the urge seems stronger then ever.
  • You start to ‘trance out’ and maybe things start to seem a bit unreal as your focus narrow onto the self harm.
  • You harm yourself.
  • And when you have cut yourself you get a chemical release as your body’s natural opiate painkillers are released.
  • Afterwards you may feel relief followed by self disgust that you’ve ‘gone and done it again.’

Self harm follows the pattern of any addictive and repetitive behavior.

Why Do People (Teens or Adults) Self Harm?

Self-harming can be a way that people deal with feelings of:

  • helplessness, despair and low self-esteem
  • anger, loneliness, shame and guilt
  • not having control over their life
  • being ‘out of it’ – so the only way to feel ‘real’ is to cause physical pain to themselves.

Some self-harm is related to severe emotional pain. When people have experienced abuse or violence, it often re-appears as emotional pain in later life. Some people have said that:

  • When they hurt themselves physically, it helps take away the emotional pain.
  • Self-harm makes internal pain visible on the surface. It is showing that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
  • Self-harm is a way that people punish themselves for something.

People who harm themselves…

  • may have difficulty expressing their feelings verbally
  • may dislike themselves and their bodies
  • may do it because of difficulties with relationships
  • may do it because of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or stress.

It is important to understand that whatever the reason for self-harming behavior, there are more positive ways of dealing with the troubling feelings.

A skilled hypnotherapist will help you to relax and give your unconscious mind the chance to unlearn the old self harm pattern.

The subconscious is always acting to protect you in some way. Using hypnotherapy the therapist can work with the subconscious to develop new and safer ways of helping you to cope.

In addition, and perhaps more importantly, hypnotherapy allows the therapist to address the underlying issue/s that are driving a sufferer to self harm.

Once these are identified and addressed, the self harming ends, almost always permanently.

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Hypnosis for Anxiety

To date, few studies have explored the use of hypnosis in treatment of anxiety disorders (a class of conditions marked by frequent, excessive or irrational worrying often accompanies by physical symptoms). In a 2010 Business-Stress-Man-With-Text-Anxietyreport from Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, researchers sized up the available research and found that hypnosis shows promise as a safe and effective treatment for anxiety. They also found “compelling evidence” that hypnosis may help manage anxiety-related health problems, such as headaches and irritable bowel syndrome.

Some studies also suggest that hypnosis may help people deal with anxiety triggered by certain stressful situations. For instance, a 2006 study from Anesthesia and Analgesia shows that hypnosis may alleviate anxiety prior to undergoing surgery. In tests on 76 surgery patients, the study’s authors found that participants who underwent hypnosis were significantly less anxious upon entering the operating room (compared to members of the control groups). Other research suggests that hypnosis may help relieve anxiety among people undergoing dental procedures or colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening.

Hypnosis, or Hypnotherapy, is a safe, side effect free and highly effective way of ridding yourself of unhelpful anxiety.

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