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Newly Minted Practitioner Hangs Out Shingle and Promptly Loses All Confidence

01 Nov

Dear Belleruth,

I recently completed several hundred hours of training and now have my hypnotherapist certification. However, I am suddenly lacking any confidence in using what I've learned.

I have my website up, etc., and cannot seem to put together a session even for my brother, who is recovering from chemotherapy.

I want to cry - I learned so much and yet I am struggling to believe it. I think I am a natural at this and, during my studies, I worked with many people who thought my work was good.

This is just a huge lapse - as though I've fallen off a cliff.

Please help - and thanks, and blessings. Your work is amazing and helpful.

Amy

Answer

Dear Amy,

I have a friend who likes to say, somewhat dismissively, “It’s just anxiety; it doesn’t mean anything”, by which he means, it doesn’t follow that you have to believe what your mind is telling you about yourself or your circumstances; it’s just the anxiety talking.

And that’s what came to mind as I read your question. Your status has changed from ‘trainee’ to ‘finished product’. This can be a scary proposition, and you’re not the first person to drag her heels on a real-life roll-out, feeling paralyzed and inadequate. It’s actually a pretty natural part of the process. Ask anyone who just successfully got through a Ph.D. dissertation defense, and is supposed to be feeling happy.

Amy, this is no huge lapse. This happens to humans all the time. Quit catastrophizing!

It can also help to know that no one ever achieves “finished product” status. To stay good at what we do, we’re all continually learning, refining, mastering and developing. The best clinicians I know are the veteran practitioners of twenty plus years who still attend weekly peer supervision sessions.

So you may just have to power through this. It’s not enough to put up a web page. You have to let people know it’s there. That’s done through networking, social media, blogging, and buying digital ads.

You may need to do some volunteer work to build up your confidence and expose your work to others who can then refer to you. So, why not break the logjam by helping somebody out who could really use your newly minted skills? Maybe at a domestic violence shelter or vocational rehab agency… or with some kids who need help with test anxiety, or focus and concentration at school.

In fact, why not help somebody out who has the same challenge you’re facing – lack of confidence? Wouldn’t that be a kick, and a vicarious win for you, too! You’d be fabulous at it and super-empathic, too, don’t you think?

So that’s my advice. Get moving. Do something. START. Give yourself permission to be awkward at first. Most of us were clumsy as hell starting out – but our intention to do some good saw us through until we became skillful and confident. And remember: paralysis just feeds paralysis. Don’t get stuck there. Define success as getting moving again. And maybe listen to our guided imagery for Self-Confidence and Peak Performance, too.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

Best,

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Belleruth

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award