Can hypnotherapy improve confidence? Hypnotherapist Penelope Ling answers your questions on hypnotherapy for confidence, self-belief and body image

I’m so stressed at work. My partner says I should leave, but I haven’t got time to think about what I want to do, or what I need. Can hypnotherapy help to give me some headspace to think clearly about my career?

Yes! The reason I’m so sure, is that hypnotherapy helped me with that very problem many years ago, long before I even thought about training as a therapist. When you feel stressed and anxious, the brain subdues the part that makes rational, calculated decisions. On a subconscious level, you’re trying to escape the stressor. Hypnotherapy helps reduce anxiety and allows you to think much more about what you want - especially if it’s solution-focused. The right kind of therapist can help you look at your value system too, as different industries have different values, and you might find you’d be better off retraining.

Can hypnotherapy help me become more decisive? I can’t help but think the worst when making decisions, and I know I’ll regret it if I don’t, but I’m scared...

The fight and flight response we experience when we feel stressed is designed to remove us from danger - there is no time for thinking. When you’re calm and thinking positively, you are in a much better place to be decisive. Hypnotherapy can be a marvellous tool to help you consider decisions without getting caught up in any “emotional junk”. It can also allow your subconscious to come up with all kinds of creative problem-solving. When you look logically at where decisions can take you, you’ll find yourself making better choices in life.

woman sitting in front of laptop

I’ve always had low confidence, but since having a baby, my body image is at rock bottom. Are there any self-hypnosis techniques I can practice to help me learn to love my body?

Self-confidence and body issues often happen when we compare ourselves against others. All the articles we read online or in magazines with photoshopped images are damaging the way we accept ourselves for being ourselves.

An exercise I often teach my clients is to carry confidence from one scenario to another. For example, in a relaxed state, I ask them to think about doing something confidently. Note where they feel it. Does it have a colour? Does it have a shape? Then, imagine doing the less confident exercise, but hold on to the feeling, colour or shape. It could be visualising yourself in your favourite outfit. Keep going backwards and forwards until both feel equally confident.

I start my new job next week and I’m dreading it. It’s a really good opportunity, but there’s a lot of public speaking and I can’t help but feel like I’m out of my depth already. Can hypnotherapy help me feel more confident and sure of myself?

Hypnotherapy is a fantastic way of changing how you feel about situations. I work with many professionals who want to feel more confident in front of customers, fellow colleagues or members of staff. It is using your creative mind to create a scenario of how you want things to be.

Anxiety will often cause our minds to go blank. Making sure you are prepared for meetings and public speaking engagements will help to reinforce what you plan to say. The visualisation allows you to rehearse without the anxiety interfering, and provide you with the tools to be in control of any situation.

Hypnotherapy for confidence allows you to be able to hold your own space, but be open to different people’s perspectives

I want some help with my confidence but I’ve never had hypnotherapy before. I don’t want it to turn me into an arrogant person. Can you explain more?

Confidence and arrogance are often mistaken for the same thing. On the surface they appear very similar, but they’re not. A confident person feels competent. They will walk into the room and be outwardly aware of other people, and be able to see from another person’s perspective.

An arrogant person will have their agenda, not caring what other people think about them or what they do. They typically will be more confrontational, and aren’t able to see the other side of an argument. Often, fear is at the centre of their arrogance. Hypnotherapy for confidence allows you to be able to hold your own space, but be open to different people’s perspectives.

Top tips for feeling more confident

  • Plan and be prepared.
  • Remember none of us start as an expert, it takes time.
  • Use memories of times when you have felt confident to reinforce the present.

Read more about Penelope on Hypnotherapy Directory.