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Can hypnosis help increase your self esteem?

By Peter Shepherd

After listening to 'Core Inner Strength,' a program developed by The Hypnosis Network, I was so impressed that I contacted the owners and asked if I could interview the therapist, Dr. Shirley McNeal. I think you will find this interview very informative and you will especially enjoy the special offer I was able to arrange for you.

Shirley McNeal, Ph.D. is recipient of the 2003 Milton H. Erickson Award for Scientific Excellence by the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. She is the author and co-author of more than 20 scientific papers. Her recently published work on the use of hypnosis for 'Inner Strength and Ego Strengthening' is recognized worldwide as the standard by the clinical hypnosis community. For The Hypnosis Network she has published the 'Core Inner Strength,' 'Test Taking Mastery' and 'Overcoming Performance Anxiety' CD sets.

Q: How can hypnosis help a person to be better able to face their fears?
A: Hypnosis can help a person learn to relax. We know that it is not possible to be relaxed and fearful at the same time. Many research studies have shown that if a person can gradually imagine and visualize their fears in a relaxed state, then the fears will be less in reality. With increased exposure in a relaxed state, fear continues to decrease and may disappear entirely. Also, in a relaxed state a person has more access to creative solutions and resources that exist in their own mind.

Q: Do you think that strengthening the ego could also multiply a person's vices and antisocial traits?
A: Ego-strengthening techniques are most effective with individuals who are highly self-critical and lack positive thoughts and feelings about themselves. I would not use ego-strengthening methods with a person who had antisocial tendencies, grandiosity, or a rigid defensive structure.

Q: Exams are frightening because one fears that all that information will suddenly not be accessible when it matters most. One might have had bad experiences in the past when everything went blank or one underperformed. How can you help somebody overcome that barrier?
A: Common fears about test-taking are about forgetting or "blanking out". These experiences can happen when there is a high level of anxiety. Many of the people I have worked with have failed tests and had bad test-taking experiences. I think it is very helpful to teach the person to relax and to focus on the best-case scenario rather than the worst-case scenario. As we know, focusing on fears and thinking about the worst that can happen can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. So the challenge for this person is to learn methods of relaxation whereby he or she can visualize success and access positive resources. Self-hypnosis to induce relaxation with positive mental rehearsal can be very helpful in preparing to face a situation that has been difficult in the past

Q: What do you think is really going on, when one is faced with an audience and the heart pounds, the throat seizes up, and the mind races with confusion and overwhelm?
A: These are classic symptoms of high anxiety or panic. These are ways in which our instinctual "fight or flight" responses are activated in the face of danger. So it will be important to desensitize one's feelings about danger. Often it has to do with fears of making a fool of oneself and of being harshly judged. It can be helpful to have the person imagine and visualize the audience as being interested, receptive, appreciative, etc. as well as helping the person focus on his or her own performance and love of performing rather than anticipating how the audience might react.

Q: Some would say confidence needs to be backed up by competence or the person is headed for a fall.
A: I would agree in the sense that confidence needs to be based on realistic achievements and on taking steps in the direction of accomplishing goals. Many people do not give themselves credit for what they have accomplished nor believe that they can accomplish something important or worthwhile. It is helpful to break down tasks and goals into small steps and reward oneself for achieving each step. It's important to accept that sometimes we go backwards before we can go forward again and that developing competence in most anything takes patience and time.

Q: How long do the empowering effects of a hypnosis session last?
A: It varies. To make the effects last longer and become internalized requires repetition and time. It can be important to verbalize by talking, writing, drawing, etc. about one's hypnotic experience. Sometimes one hypnotic session can be very powerful, but listening to a hypnosis CD and practicing self-hypnosis increase the effectiveness. There have been studies demonstrating that listening to a hypnosis CD or tape produces the best results when the person listens to the CD every day for two weeks and periodically after that. After three or four months, people have internalized the messages of the CDs to the point that they might only listen occasionally after that.

I am familiar with Shirley McNeal's 2-CD set Core Inner Strength. The program very cleverly guides the listener to experience a sense of self-esteem, which then forms the basis of a core inner strength, so that the person feels more confident and in control. When you truly believe that you are a worthwhile, unique person, you'll find that others react to you differently; they will perceive you in that light as well. One can face all situations – even the most difficult and confrontational – with confidence and poise. For example, after a few sessions, my wife Nicole felt a sense of empowerment that, she says, has made a big difference in her dealings with people at work.

Trans4mind only promotes products that we are confident will help you to transform your life for the better. We have chosen The Hypnosis Network as a partner because they offer expertly produced programs aimed at the kind of specific issues for which individuals need support. That's different for each person, so a comprehensive range is needed...

They have programs to help you with stopping smoking, losing weight, overcoming procrastination, finding core inner strength, sleeping better, performing better at sports, managing sexual problems, preparing for uncertainty, taking tests, enhancing relationships, stage fright, and programs to support young children. The CD sets will provide the boost you need to tackle such problems and challenges head on, with renewed confidence and know-how. You will find more details on our The Hypnosis Network page. Choose one that's just right for you and have a great time!

IMPORTANT! The Hypnosis Network are currently offering Trans4mind visitors a 10% price reduction on all their products. Best to order now whilst this offer is available! When making your purchase, you will find a place on the bottom left to put the coupon code, which is: "mind".

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