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North London Stress Management Centre.
Tel: 020 8444 4871
Stage Fright/Performance Anxiety:
Even the most talented of speakers, the greatest of actors or the most accomplished of musicians can suffer from Stage Fright (or in the case of public speakers, Glossophobia) A sudden tidal wave of fear can strike the sufferer at any time before or even during a performance. Performance Anxiety differs slightly to Stage Fright in so far as the distressed individual is more concerned by the opinion of his or her fellow performers than with playing to an audience. Sufferers are, generally speaking, perfectionists who tend to care more about the quality of their own performance than with other contributory factors.
There is plenty of information on the www concerning ways of coping and, to some extent, alleviating Stage Fright, and a lot of what is written makes perfect sense. The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) has published a useful article on the subject which can be accessed from their website at www.bapam.org.uk.
Many years ago, I was in a band playing a major rock festival in Frankfurt, Germany in front of 50,000 + people. Though we were not headlining the event, and knew that the overwhelming majority of people in attendance had certainly not come to see us, I was nonetheless a terrified 19 year old drummer suffering a major bout of Stage Fright. I was in a state of complete, unadulterated panic, convinced that all eyes would be on me and my playing. What if I missed a beat, mis-timed a drum roll or, heavens forbid, drop a stick? In between bouts of throwing up, I relayed this feeling to the guitarist in one of the other bands playing on the same bill, a guy who was casually observing my all-too-obvious distress. I was intrigued by what he said. He informed me that the problem I was experiencing, a feeling which he described (to my surprise) as bordering on arrogance, was the assumption that everyone was looking at me, and only me, and that the entire audience was waiting for me to do something wrong, something embarrassing.
Years later, after I qualified as a professional hypno-psychotherapist, I recalled this event and started to give a great deal of thought as to the psychological implications of performing, and what we perceive to be happening whenever we walk on stage. I proceeded to develop my central theory that no matter how many people we perform in front of, we are only ever addressing one individual, unique person at a time and that this person will have his or her own perceptions of our performance, separate from any other member of the audience. As a result, the reactions we receive when performing are always formulated on an individual, not collective basis, like we are being in front of just the one person – someone who, a full 70% of the time, is probably not paying the slightest bit of attention to what we are actually delivering, whether we be musicians, actors or public speakers!
We can try any number of techniques to overcome Stage Fright and Performance Anxiety. Unless we address the thought processes embedded in our subconscious mind, however, the simple fact is that we will only ever be able to cope with our negative feelings - not be rid of them What is actually locked in the subconscious is not Stage Fright or Performance Anxiety but feelings of anxiety, lack of confidence, panic and stress that are associated with the condition. It is these fears that need to be removed. Only then can the loop of Stage Fright/Performance Anxiety= anxiety = panic = stress = Stage Fright/Performance Anxiety = anxiety etc., be broken
Our techniques combine Psycho-cybernetics, Power of NOW techniques, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) Neuro-linguistic Programming, Gestalt psychology and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and, where appropriate, hypnotherapy.
The free of charge 30 minutes Initial consultation enables the therapist to get an insight into how Stage Fright/Performance Anxiety is affecting your life, helping him to formulate and develop a 4-5 session programme that is fully tailored to your specific requirements. The cost: £80.00 per session on a Pay As You Go basis at our Muswell Hill, London N10 or Islington N1 centres or across the Skype or Zoom platforms. Costs are inclusive of three tailor-made recordings in mp3 format, which complement the live sessions, together with numerous downloads in PDF format, outlining the specific techniques that will be demonstrated during our meetings.
North London Stress Management Centre (NLSMC) therapists are British Association for Performing Arts Medicine registered practitioners. NLSMC is a member of the National Register of Hypnotherapists and Psychotherapists, a UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) member.