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Hypnotherapy for confidence: making positive, lasting changes today

The following article has been kindly supplied by Cheyne Towers MBAThH, GQHP

Anybody who wants to get along in life and make positive, appropriate decisions needs to develop a healthy degree of self-confidence.

I say healthy specifically because people can have an excess of apparent confidence which tends more towards arrogance, and more often than not masks an underlying insecurity. However, if anybody wishes to achieve anything meaningful, they have to have the confidence, belief and faith in themselves to move forward.

One of the main problems that my clients have sought help for over the years is a lack of confidence in themselves. This can manifest in a number of different ways which hinder people’s enjoyment of their own life, success in business or social life.

What causes a lack of confidence? When we come to investigate the causes we often find that it is past experiences that set up certain negative mental and emotional habits and also the physical expressions of those habits. It may have been caused by someone’s insensitivity in a vulnerable moment, experience of being bullied, or being a victim of an assault: something has set up a pattern, which perpetuates in the present tense often as a negative, self-limiting internal dialogue. “I’m no good…they won’t like me…I don’t deserve to…I’m too fat…I’m too thin…I’m scared…I can’t cope…It always happens to me…I can’t deal with it“ etc.

Whatever this internal dialogue may be, effectively subconsciously one is dragging into the present tense that same negative experience that started the pattern. This cycle however can be stopped, just like we can change a record that is annoying for one that we prefer to and even can enjoy listening to.

Words have power

Words have power, and if they are repeated over and over again, they have an effect. So what we say to ourselves about ourselves directly influences the experience we have in the present.

If a person is fed up with being plagued by a lack of self confidence and wishes to change their experience of life for the better, then the very first thing they need to start to do is to become aware of and start to actively monitor the dialogue they have with themselves, so that they come to recognise those negative patterns of dialogue in real time.

For example, I recall a mother with a wonderful and loving family and who felt good about most aspects of her life. She recognised the love of her family and the security of that environment, and yet deep down she felt constantly incompetent and un-worthy. It soon became obvious in the first session that her inner-dialogue was formed early on when growing up with a very demanding mother who made her believe that she’s doomed to failure and whatever she did was never good enough. This was the message that the client had carried on into her adulthood, despite the assurances of her family and friends.

Another patient who found it difficult to walk past a newsagents without giving into an urge to go in and buy several chocolate bars, only to eat them all at once. Somewhere deep down he was replaying a dialogue based on an old negative experience which led them to believe that he should be punished. Now, that punishment was masked by a false feeling that by eating the chocolate he would sooth himself. Yet after eating the bars came the self-loathing (the punishment), and the vicious cycle was set up.

This really is, in my opinion, the main problem with people who suffer from a lack of confidence: Often they feel like a hamster stuck on a wheel, putting one foot constantly in front of the other, going nowhere but around in circles.

Making the change today, with greater confidence

How to get off that hamster wheel? Simply, to break the cycle one must stop putting one foot in front of the other. You have to become aware of one’s self-limiting dialogue and stop stating those things in the present that you do not wish to have as a part of your experience any longer. Sounds simple? With the help of hypnosis, it can be.

We don’t live in our past, we live now. If we are stating something in this moment now, IT IS NOW and not our past/future. If we were to say, “It always happens to me…I can’t let go…I’m no good…I can’t do it”, that is actually what will happen. Doubts are a part of our journey, and we can be aware that: “I used to fear…”, “In the past, I was…”, “I have felt…”. But no athlete, who doubts his/her abilities in the present will win a race. They have to change the record to one that says: I CAN. I WILL.

If we wish to have a different experience NOW, we have to actively choose to no longer state in the present tense those things which we have experienced in the past. While we can’t change our past, we can live without it weighting us down. Nothing of our past needs to hold us back and prevent us from fully living and engaging in life today.

How can hypnotherapy help people to make that transition? I help my clients to identify where they may have picked up those negative patterns or what were the circumstances where the unwanted inner dialogue first arose. Through the dialogue with them they come to understand exactly what those loops have been, and together we investigate the experiences in their lives that may have set up those self-limiting patterns. As a solution focused therapy we don’t dwell on these experiences – we simply find out what has happened and understand the impact of it, and then move on to transform the way those events resonate in the client today.

I use a variety of techniques to help the client change their perspective, including indirect suggestion and hypnotic relaxation. The aim is that a client can begin to realise that the way they’ve experienced things isn’t the only way to see them; that there are better and more beneficial ways of beginning to relate those same experiences and that they no longer have power over them in the present.

Take the mother I mentioned earlier: within the space of six sessions she was able to totally turn around to the point where she is now confident and capable of simply getting on with her life whilst fully appreciating the family’s love around her. She has a great deal of good things going on in her life and now she enjoys them confidently.

The person I helped with chocolate addiction can now go and pick up a paper without coming out with a handful of chocolate bars. The loop of self-depreciation and punishment, masked in ‘comfort eating’, was stopped in few sessions and I am sure the weight problem caused by the activity has eased, supporting and encouraging a better and more confident sense of self.

A lack of confidence can have a very negative impact on one’s life and it can manifest itself in a whole host of ways. For some people it’s a major factor in relation to weight issues, work related stress or irrational fears.

Other people who may have been violently abused, and hence may have found it difficult, even impossible, to form loving and committed relationships or to trust people, find that after a course of hypnotherapy they come to the very practical recognition and realisation that those things which happened to them in their past no longer have any power to dictate to them NOW how they should think, feel or react in the present. This awareness allows all of my clients who have overcome the lack of confidence, to begin to form new and meaningful, loving relationships and to enjoy a new lease of life.

Cheyne Towers MBAThH, GQHP, is a fully qualified hypnotherapist and has served as a committee member and journal editor for the British Association of Therapeutical Hypnotists (BAThH).
More information about Cheyne can be found at