Social Anxiety Hypnosis

By Susanna Sweeney, MSc, MBACP, CHT

In this article I want to illustrate how social anxiety hypnosis can help when you experience the disturbing symptoms of social anxiety.

social anxiety hypnosisSocial anxiety hypnosis can help you overcome the symptoms of social anxiety.

What is Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is anxiety manifesting as a fear of social situations. This can become crippling for people as their lives become more and more restricted when they have to avoid social situations. For some people, social anxiety can stretch to even family and friends.

When you suffer from social anxiety, social situations can bring on mild to disturbing physiological symptoms, such as:

  • Shallow breath
  • Not being able to breathe
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweat on forehead or palms of hands
  • Restlessness
  • An impulse to get away or run

These are just some examples. Everybody is different, therefore social anxiety can manifest in different ways for different people. From the severity of the symptoms I listed you can see, however, how even a mild manifestation of these could seriously interfere with your enjoyment of social situations.

social anxiety hypnosisHow social anxiety hypnosis can help you.

An Example from my Client Work

Meet Josephine who came to me for social anxiety hypnosis. Josephine is not a real person, but rather her story is a composite of different client’s stories. For reasons of anonymity, I have changed all potentially identifying details.

Josephine is a singer in a band. Josphine gets up on stage a few nights a week. She enthralls the audience with her beautiful voice. But before Josephine came to see me- when she was not on stage, she lived a very private life with her two kids and her partner. Despite her strong public persona- in private, Josephine suffered from social anxiety.

Josephine was somewhat okay when in one-to-one situations with people. But when put into groups of people- as she would be frequently in her profession- she found it hard to uphold any conversation, or rather, to speak at all. She would feel her throat tighten, her breathing become shallow, and sweat appearing on her forehead. She would want to get away and curl up in her bed, on her own.

Josephine had no idea why this was happening to her. Anxiety had always been familiar- even in childhood- but had worsened after she became a mum.

What finally prompted Josephine to do something about the anxiety was that her and her partner were planning their wedding. The wedding was scheduled to take place ten months from when Josephine started attending me for social anxiety hypnosis. Josephine wanted to be able to enjoy the wedding day rather than be crippled by the overbearing symptoms of social anxiety.

Josephine’s story is a fairly typical one:

  • Often, people have no idea why they are experiencing anxiety
  • Often, the symptoms pick up pace after some major life change such as a move, starting a new job or having children
  • Often, what finally brings people to hypnotherapy is an upcoming event or a goal they set themselves to achieve

How Social Anxiety Hypnosis can Help

I started working with Josephine using regression hypnosis. Regression hypnosis allows you to revisit the chain of events that set off the existing symptoms with a purpose of re-educating the brain. Typically, the events that set off symptoms are early childhood events. Sometimes, a regression session becomes past life hypnosis.

In Josephine’s case, she did have an existing conscious memory of where she was brought back to in during regression hypnosis. However, she had never realized the huge impact the seemingly insignificant events had on her.

social anxiety hypnosisIf you are experiencing these symptoms, social anxiety hypnosis can help.

Again, this is often the case with clients who attend hypnosis:

  • They are experiencing disturbing symptoms.
  • They have no idea what the underlying reasons may be.
  • They have some conscious memory of the events the subconscious mind brings forward during regression hypnosis, but they would never have thought that these events had the impact on them that they did.

This dilemma is the product of the separation that occurs in adult life between our conscious and our subconscious mind which start to be gradually walled off from another after the age of seven.

Powerful censors then take on the role of guarding the subconscious mind so that most new information is kept out.

Conscious and subconscious minds can then no longer exchange valuable information. Or rather, they cannot exchange this information spontaneously, not without the help of a slightly altered state of consciousness, such as hypnosis.

With social anxiety hypnosis, Josephine was able to uncover what was causing the trouble.

What was causing Josephine to experience social anxiety?

The memories that emerged were childhood memories of frequent moves from one place to another. Josephine’s dad had been an army man, and his role involved that the family had to move from one army base to another relatively frequently.

Sometimes, the army would not give much notice and then the move would happen in a rush. Josephine’s parents would have to concentrate on the move and with all that was involved were not able to cater to their daughter’s emotional needs. Josephine was an only child and had no siblings to discuss matters with either.

The outcome was that every move entailed anxiety for her. She would lose the school friends she had made over the last year or two. She would lose her favorite teachers and any after school clubs she had enjoyed. She did not know what to expect of the place they were moving to.

When flying the next destination they were posted to, Josephine remembered feeling frozen and lost in time. Arriving in the new place, she would feel afraid and reluctant to put down any roots because the next move would invariably come soon enough. Things were out of her control- and feeling a lack of control is often an underlying cause of anxiety.

Matters improved for Josephine in her mid-teens when her parents sent her to a boarding school. She did not have mum and dad there during the school term, but she had the stability of being able to hold onto the same school friends and after school interests for the remainder of her school years. It was then that she developed her singing voice and started performing.

Social anxiety hypnosis helped Josephine to:

  • Make sense on a deep level of how she had developed social anxiety
  • Make the child part in her feel safe once again
  • To feel the emotions that had to be felt (anger and the sadness of loss) so that she could then let go of any anger and resentment
  • Understand that her parents had done her best
  • Forgive her parents
  • Forgive herself

We followed this work up with suggestion hypnosis in order to nurture and re-educate her mind. This work included post-hypnotic suggestions to feel safe in social situations and otherwise, to be able to confidently talk to people and to feel relaxed and confident in the face of surprises.

I also taught Josephine the skills required for self hypnosis for anxiety. During the course of treatment which involved eight hypnotherapy sessions and some coaching sessions over a seven months period, Josephine noticed a gradual decline in her symptoms of social anxiety. By the time her wedding day approached she had no reason to dread the event.

This is how social anxiety hypnosis can help people to free themselves of the symptoms of social anxiety. I hope this article has helped you to see how social anxiety can arise in the human mind caused by seemingly harmless events and that it can be resolved.

If you are interested in social anxiety hypnosis for yourself or a friend, I recommend you also read the articles I linked to throughout the text for a more complete picture of what to expect from hypnotherapy. I also have some useful tips for you to follow on how to get the best from life regression hypnosis.


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More About Anxiety Hypnosis

Have you Heard About Havening for Anxiety?

Havening Techniques® are a novel form of treatment that has only been around for a few years. We offer this service along with hypnosis in our online clinic and find the treatment to be highly effective for a variety of conditions including anxiety.

Find out about Havening here

Watch interviews with the founders of Havening

Where From Here?

  • There is a strong link between anxiety and low self esteem. If you suffer from any form of anxiety, also check out my article on self esteem self help

About Hypnosis

If you are new to hypnosis, you can find out some of the basics here:

Are you Interested in Changing Your Life with Self Hypnosis?

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