Monday, May 15, 2017

Hypnotherapy to Reduce Anxiety About Public Speaking

(This blog was originally posted on April 22, 2014)

Image courtesy of Microsoft

This evening I came across the outline for my first-ever presentation about hypnosis. It had been an assignment for the Speech Craft class that my classmates and I took at the Hypnosis Motivation Institute a couple of months before graduation. In it, we learned all of the fine points of crafting and delivering an effective, impactful speech about some element of our new, future vocation as certified hypnotherapists. My speech was very basic: I included some personal information about me and my educational background in the introduction, and then I focused on how and why I decided to become a hypnotherapist. That should be easy, right? Not so fast.

Reading those notes again, 10 years later, I could still remember how nervous I felt while I composed the draft for that speech. As a rule, I did not like to speak in public. I hated to be the center of attention in any circumstance, as I knew I would have to be when I did my presentation. Finally, the instructor and my classmates would be grading my presentation, a prospect that not only exacerbated my anxieties about public speaking but also of taking tests.

Before I drove to class that night, I made sure that I ate a nutritious meal with protein to keep my blood-sugar level (and mood) stable, which I knew would help to lower my anxiety. I wore one of my most professional-looking skirt suits that always helped me feel confident. Once I was in class, I practiced diaphragmatic breathing to calm my nerves while I waited for my turn to speak.

When the instructor finally called me up to the podium to do my presentation, my mind flashed back to the best advice I have ever received about public speaking. The current director of HMI, George Kappas, M.A., C.Ht., once gave the class a pep talk about public speaking and doing presentations on hypnosis and hypnotherapy to the general public. He reassured us that each of us would probably know more about this topic than anyone else in the room. He told us to relax and even suggested that we probably wouldn’t (shouldn’t) even need or want to use notes or note-cards to prompt our speeches because, again, we would already be the experts on this topic. So when I stepped up to the podium that night, I took his words to heart and allowed myself to own the room. Since this presentation was about me and my experience, I could be (and was) completely confident that I was the expert in the room about this topic. That night, I was finally able to overcome a personal challenge. To my surprise, I even created a new “known” in my subconscious mind: public speaking was fun!

Looking back, this class turned out to be one of my favorites on the hypnotherapy-certification program at HMI. First, the assignment made me face and overcome my fear and discomfort about public speaking and taking tests. Second, the experience of having to do a presentation gave me an invaluable opportunity to experience the efficacy of techniques that I now also use and teach to my clients to help them overcome similar fears and anxieties.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified clincial hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
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