Being hypnotised was like
having a massage without a massage
Friday, December 04,
"Look into my eyes, you are getting very, very
This is what I imagined being hypnotised would be like - a
moustache-wearing magician swinging some kind of gold pocket watch in
front of my face as I drift into unconscious abyss.
However, I was
faced with a much different picture last week as I stepped into the office
of hypnotist Monica Dobbie.
The "office" felt more like a
relaxation chamber - with candles, water features and pressure point
charts strewn around the room.
The first thing I was asked to do
was to come up with a behaviour that I would like to change.
torn between two things; my needle phobia and my hate, hate, hate of
Either one, Monica said, could be "cured" with
She herself has a needle-phobia and still practices
self-hypnosis each time she has to give blood.
Even though my
needle fear causes me to pass-out cold on the floor (seriously, even
having my ears pierced), I would rather withstand one or two minutes on
the floor than even one second in front of a huge group of
Speeches, presentations - forget it. I either manage to
escape the moment altogether (calling in sick, passing the task to someone
else), or stumble my way through in a frenzied state of cold-sweating
nausea, clutching the sheet of paper I am reading off word for
I feel like a bit of a loser telling the hypnotist the ins
and outs of this completely insane fear, but she tells me that almost 80
per cent of people suffer from some form of speech anxiety (perhaps she
was just trying to make me feel better), herself included.
this is how she first became involved with hypnotherapy 20 years
ago when her fear of public speaking - known as glossophobia - began
affecting her job in reinsurance where she was expected to give large
presentations several times a year.
So, we decide to focus on my
public speaking terror and start off doing something called the Emotional
Freedom Technique, which involves using several pressure points on
the body to "cure" you of your affliction.
On a scale of one to 10
I rate my fear of if I had to stand up that moment and give a speech in
front of a big crowd.
Visualise the moment
for a few seconds, try and visualise the moment and say
However, it was really hard to 'imagine' the moment, as
I knew full well I wasn't in any danger of this happening on that
particular Friday afternoon.
I then repeat the sentence,
"Even though I have this anxiety, I choose to feel calm, confident and in
control" three times as Monica taps various pressure points on my
body including my hand, eyebrow, chin and
After a few minutes of doing this she asks me to rate
my fear levels, and I have to say I was about a 'three' on the fear-scale
- definitely a lot more relaxed.
She gets me settled on a bed,
adjusts the temperature in the room and presses play on the relaxation
I close my eyes and Monica says something along the lines
of: "It's a beautiful sunny day. You are sitting on the beach and the
sun's rays are so warm and comforting. You feel this warm relaxed
feeling - starting at the top of your head, and slowly melting down the
rest of your body."
After what feels like about 10 minutes, we are
down to my toes - and every part of my body feels like it has sunken
right into the bed I'm lying on.
She asks me various questions
about my fear - what I see, how I feel, what "colour" various items are
that she asks me imagine.
She asks me to picture myself in a movie
theatre, watching a movie of myself about to give a speech to hundreds of
She asks me to play around with that image - adjusting the
colours, sound, speed and rewinding it, fast-forwarding and pausing it at
She asks me to jump into the
movie and to control various aspects of how it plays out, picturing the
audience members as Mickey Mouse or with giant cartoon
I wished I could just "let it happen" but, being the
skeptical journalist I am, I was so busy thinking, "I wonder why she is
asking me to picture this," or "I see where this is going" I think I was
somehow trying to figure out the process - which you are totally not
supposed to do. I am my own worst enemy in this scenario.
starts chanting/talking to me a really smooth, calm, slow
Although I am in no way passed out or even asleep during the
session, what happened for the next 50 minutes is a bit blurry.
I can recollect is her saying something about being the "most confident
speaker" that ever existed and everyone was desperate to hear what
"important things" I had to say.
Also, my time-perception was
When Monica took me out of my relaxed state
and I sat up on the bed (when I had a major headrush) she asked me how
long I thought I'd been lying on the table.
I said "about 20
minutes." In fact I had been there for 55 minutes.
way to describe it would be to say it was like a massage without a massage
- I was so relaxed.
It took me a moment to focus and find
my words and Monica advised me to wait a few moment before hopping into my
As for whether it has worked or not, I guess I won't know
until the fateful day I have to stand up and give a public speech...I'll
keep you posted Sun readers.
For more information call Ms
Dobbie at 505-7531 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to her website,