Easing the Nerves: Hypnotherapy for Public Speaking Anxiety

hypnotherapy for anxiety
Table of Contents

How does hypnotherapy help in soothing public speaking anxiety?

Hypnosis is a major component of the hypnotherapy process and facilitates access to the subconscious mind. While in a state of hypnosis the participant is more open to suggestion than otherwise. It is during this time that a hypnotherapist will make suggestions that will help the participant change their thinking and behaviour about public speaking.

Hypnosis suggestions for public speaking anxiety encourage relaxation while also shifting the participant’s negative thoughts, fears, and thoughts of self- doubt to focus on the positive and help the participant feel more secure and confident in their abilities. This enables the participant to let go of y negative experiences or thoughts from the past.

The therapy component of hypnotherapy complements the hypnosis by giving participants practical tools to enable them to focus on the positive, and feel more secure, confident and in control. Examples include breathing techniques, anchoring, thought balance exercises and presentation tips.  

What is the scientific reasoning behind this process?

A fear of public speaking is one of the most common fears of all. It’s called glossophobia, or speech anxiety. The word comes from the Greek glossa, meaning tongue, and phobos, meaning fear. It affects almost 75% of the population in one way or another.

Symptoms can range from very mild on the one hand to seriously severe on the other – in other words, from slight nervousness to full-on panic.

The symptoms an individual feels when experiencing a public speaking anxiety situation is a typical fight-or-flight response. This is a natural response where your body reacts to defend itself against what it perceives as a threat, sending out extra adrenaline and steroids. Those extra chemicals cause your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure to shoot up, putting you on edge and making you feel a bundle of nerves.

This form of anxiety can occur if you lack confidence, or are shy or ill prepared for your speech and is more likely to occur if it’s happened to you before. For instance, if a presentation went wrong because you made a mistake, or your resources weren’t ready, someone laughed at you, or your slideshow didn’t work. The memory of past embarrassments can flood your mind, making you a nervous wreck when you think about getting up in front of an audience.

Scientists are not sure exactly how hypnosis works but studies have shown that specific areas of the brain light up when a subject is in a hypnotic state rendering them more susceptible to suggestions for changes that the subject is motivated to achieve. 

What are some success stories of people who have used hypnotherapy for public speaking anxiety?

Public speaking anxiety affects people of all ages and in all walks of life, including some very famous faces, such as:

  • Princess Diana, who reportedly used hypnotherapy to help her speak in public with greater poise and confidence.
  • Leona Lewis, Mandy Moore, and former Spice Girl Mel B., who have all use hypnotherapy to help them overcome their stage fright.
  • Bruce Willis and James Earl Jones, who have both made use of hypnotherapy to cure their stuttering.


How can one continue to manage anxiety after hypnotherapy sessions?

Everyone is unique as is their response to hypnotherapy. Many will not need to continue to actively manage their public speaking anxiety but there will be others who would benefit from ongoing use of the tools provided during the hypnotherapy sessions, including listening to their hypnosis recordings.  

To maintain public speaking confidence, it can be helpful for programme participants to ask their hypnotherapist to teach them how to administer self-hypnosis.

Picture of Annemieke Van Dam
Annemieke Van Dam

Transformational, Life and Wellness Coaching and Hypnotherapy