Hypnosis has been a useful tool for improving performance. Over the past 35 years, I have had the opportunity to work with performing artists, athletes, business persons and students who were looking to either enhance their performance or reduce anxiety, worry and fear associated with performing in front of others.
Hypnosis can often accelerate the progress and improve the effectiveness in treatment . While not everyone can benefit from hypnosis, about 50% can be helped with hypnosis and another 20% can experience powerful results.
Hypnosis is a state of heightened suggestibility based on deep relaxation and specific suggestions developed through careful consultation with a skilled therapist specially trained in clinical hypnosis. While it is not entirely clear exactly how hypnosis works, there is ample evidence from numerous controlled and clinical studies that it can often be highly successful .
With performance issues, I often find direct suggestions around confidence, concentration and calmness are the foundation for enhanced performance. Where negative past experiences are blocking progress, hypnosis can be useful in identifying the blocks and facilitate working through them.
Hypnosis can be used as a sole treatment or as an adjunct to more comprehensive treatment depending on the presenting issues. It is increasingly common for clients coming in with performance issues to have significant co- occurring conditions which magnify there performance issues and make them harder to treat unless they are addressed as well.
Hypnosis treatment tends to be straightforward and short term. Following the education of the client on what hypnosis is and isn’t, a detailed assessment occurs. Then, the therapist develops problem-specific suggestions. Initial relaxation is taught and deepened in a follow-up session. Suggestions combined with relaxation gradually help clients change attitudes, feelings and behaviors. Often times performance issues can be improved or overcome in six to twelve sessions over a 3-4 month period.
Some examples of applications of hypnosis and performance include musicians, dancers and other performers, students taking tests, business people and other professionals needing to speak in public and even some forms of impotence .
The common elements of performance anxieties include basing one’s self worth on the performance, having perfectionistic standards, being overly self critical, fear of the anxiety and caring too much what others think about them.
Hypnosis aids in reducing anxiety, providing an effective method for regulating emotions and assisting in creating a healthier, stronger and positive performance image.
In my work with clients, I often record the sessions and encourage them to practice between visits to strengthen the suggestions. I also teach clients how to develop their own suggestions to maintain their progress in this and other areas of their life.
Hypnosis is a useful tool in the hands of a skilled psychologist or other mental health professional trained in its use. It accelerates treatment and has almost no negative side effects.