When it comes to hypnotherapy and performance, we all must start with the realization that we are not dealing with magic. We are talking simply about removing roadblocks to doing a task well. For a basketball player, hypnotherapy cannot transform someone who is 5’6” into a seven footer. For a singer, hypnotherapy cannot create the talent; there must be some level of basic talent with which to work. My goal as a hypnotherapist is to empower the singer-client to better learn and exhibit his or her existing talent publicly.
As with most performance-based issues, a core component of the hypnotherapy is getting control over anxiety. The anxiety comes from the evaluation that the performance will garner, whether it will be a test grade, a golf score, or public adulation (or criticism). In one sense, the performer should receive some pleasure simply from the exercise of the talent alone, but the desire to share the talent recognizes that judgment in some form lies ahead.
We must always remember that some anxiety is necessary. Pre-performance butterflies in the stomach have a certain benefit – they help get the necessary adrenaline flowing. Anxiety pushes some of the necessary buttons required for success in performances. However, anxiety can also cause the performer to tighten up. At an extreme, the anxiety reaches such a level that the performer completely eschews the public. We must wonder how many great talents the world has never experienced due to this phenomenon. We are all stars in the shower, but few want to try the stage!
So the goal becomes balancing the “good” anxiety with relaxation. How do we find that level of “shower performance” and move it confidently to the stage? That is the goal of hypnotherapy for the singer.
Anxiety usually manifests itself in several common ways. Singing is a technical enterprise, and as such, preparation is critical. Hypnosis can help to address the issues associated with incomplete or poor preparation, so that the singer can be more confident Singers, like others, may focus on the negative feelings, becoming over-concerned with all the problems that can arise during a performance, dreading the response of the audience. This negative criticism from others and from themselves is one hurdle that therapy may need to address. Another roadblock to a singer’s success is the intruding memory of prior poor performances. Therapy offers opportunities to overcome such hurdles.
As with any hypnotherapy, it is well to remind ourselves that there is more than hypnosis involved in our therapy. So, as in any therapy, the therapist needs the client’s history. For the singer, the therapist will want a brief but thorough recap of the performer’s career up to that point. With the history, the therapist will be able to narrow the focus of the challenges that the singer faces. Working with the client, the therapist will set goals and determine the appropriate methods of hypnotherapy that best addresses them. The hypnotherapist will then script the therapy, including the use of hypnosis and post-session steps the client will implement.
Among other elements that may be a part of the therapy plan, a singer can expect to develop steps to address proper preparation. The singer will visualize future successful performances, creating a sense of encouragement for what lies ahead. He or she will learn to turn self-doubt and negative self-talk into positive self-communication and confidence. This confidence from hypnotherapy will be the key and overarching result of the whole process.
A singer who utilizes hypnotherapy will have an increased awareness of the changes she is making in her performance. She will be more aware of her surroundings and her talents. She will be more confident and relaxed, enjoying to a greater extent the talent she has been blessed with.