Stage fright is the name given to extreme anxiety about speaking, singing or acting infront of an audience. It can happen gradually, or can build up over time, but essentially the symptoms are those of anxiety, with heart flutters, dry mouth, feeling sick (or actually being sick) being the main side effects.
How Hypnotherapy can help with performance anxiety
If the person has had a bad experience before, it may hamper their attempts at doing it again, so we use the same fast techniques we use on phobias. These help scamble the message of panic which comes from the sub conscious.
Then using relaxation techniques and visualisation it can focus the intellectual mind on the important task ahead. Other techniques such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness can help, as can exercise.
It is helpful before a performance to go for a brisk walk, or any other brisk movements to get the energy and excitement out of one's system. After that, try moderate stretching and calm and relax the muscles to release tension. Take deep slow breaths - the body interprets the big sigh as an all clear signal.
Not only can I help people with the problem once they've taken hold, I have been able to work through various organisations such as Connextions South West to work in schools, helping pupils relax and visualise positive outcomes when it comes to performance or interviews and teach them stress management techniques.
Gill is a friend and expressed her problem of wanting to sing in public but not liking people looking at her, so she hid behind her piano. This was not a helpful tactic, so using the rewind and visualisation techniques, including just before her debut show I helped her change the way she had thought about the performance. Instead of being violently sick before a performance which happened once before, she was able to go on stage and perform with no problems at all.
Afterwards she was amazed at how different the experience had been to previously, this encouraged her to book herself in for more performances. 2 years later she announced she was going to stage school in London and now regularly appears in front of the public and she says she could not have done it without the hypnotherapy.
Whilst training, she realised she was having problems memorising the lines, again, explaining how memory is consolidated during sleep, I gave her another CD to listen to and suggested not staying up so late. The improvement in sleep helped her memorise her lines much better.
Case Study 2
Sandra is a teacher and she had changed her job to one where she had to do more presentations within the eduacational establishment. Despite having stood up in front of children for years, she found this challenging and she had a big conference coming up in 3 weeks and she was paralysed with fear.
We worked on the anxiety, doing a rewind of the bad experiences she'd had and visualising how she wanted to feel. The result was she went to her conference and was able to stand up and talk to a large audience without any hesitation, to say she was over the moon was an understatement.