There is a process that I use in my therapy rooms a great deal with both children and adults that I am sharing here today. It would probably have made more sense to simply refer to “a process that I use with my clients,” but it was something that I mainly used with children for a number of years and the theme is one that children love and really respond well to. As I have got older, I have found it increasingly more important for me and my adult clients to reconnect with many child-like qualities and so the more I use this type of strategy with my adult clients as a result. They love it.
Today, we are going to create a confidence boosting superhero alter-ego!
We’re going to adopt that alter-ego and apply it therapeutically to boost confidence in ourselves. We use self-hypnosis to do so as self-hypnosis is proven to advance the quality of mental imagery, advance the level of belief we invest in that imagery and helps makes it more convincing when combined with other evidence-based interventions such as cognitive behaviour therapy as you shall see here.
One of the main proponents of the cognitive behavioural perspective of hypnosis back in the 1950s was a man called Theodore Sarbin who challenged the concept of hypnosis as being a state. I’m not going to go into detail about this way of explaining hypnosis, but you can watch this What Is Hypnosis? video or read the early chapters of my Science of Self-Hypnosis book for more detail.
Sarbin believed that when individuals were correctly educated about the role of hypnotic subject, had good levels of role-related expectancy, and were then asked to adopt the role of hypnotised subject, engage their imagination vividly, this determined the effectiveness of the hypnotic responses.
To put this in another context, you can read about famous actors who have adopted their roles so well that they have felt the same emotions that their characters were portraying. The famous method acting technique, for example, shows that when someone is really adopting a role, they can often be so immersed in that role that they take on those characteristics, can shed real tears and adopt the mindset of the character. Therefore, when we choose to create our confident superhero alter-ego, we don’t want to just think it, we want to truly adopt the role to make it as real and impactful upon our life as possible.
Another approach to hypnosis that has undergone an extensive programme of research, was led by Nicholas Spanos at Carleton University in Canada, in the 1980s, which produced the Carleton skill training programme (CSTP), the most empirically-supported methodology for enhancing hypnotic responses. In a nutshell, according to Spanos, in the CSTP approach,
the client is instructed in specific tactics, such as mental imagery, designed to produce specific responses, and is given the opportunity to observe models demonstrating the behavioural and cognitive responses desired (Gorassini & Spanos, 1999, p. 151).
With the CSTP individuals watch a demonstration of the hypnosis, then have it done to them by a hypnotist, then they practice self-hypnosis and hypnotic skills to get better at it. They become more responsive to hypnosis as a result. When then practicing by oneself, the individual imagines the responses are happening all by themselves. We can use this notion to advance what we do here. It’ll start to make sense when I bring all this together shortly.
There are occasions in life when it is beneficial to be true to ourselves and who we are, however, we can reinvent who we are and truly be in charge of our lives too. When we truly are in control of our life, we can choose who we are and dictate it without being passive to old programming or former personality constructs that might not be serving us well.
In fact, a recent study even shows that when it comes to boosting confidence, we can go as far as to deceive ourselves about it to help boost it! The study suggests that self-deception is a natural evolutionary trait. Therefore, the classic notion of “fake it till you make it,” applies here and it is proven to help develop confidence.
Before I get onto today’s technique then, to recap what I have written so far today, there is evidence to show and support the ideas that:
– You derive great gain from role-playing characters with confidence.
– You can adopt the confident role better by practicing.
– You can deceive yourself with the confident role you are taking on.
– Self-hypnosis will make the related imagery more vivid and believable.
Create Your Confident Superhero Alter-ego
In one of my favourite sci-fi comedy shows Red Dwarf, there is an episode where Dave Lister’s alter-egos come true – his confidence and his paranoia (in the episode of the same name) become real people. His confidence is tanned with very white teeth, no doubt from using whitening strips, smart loud clothes, with a really confident manner and way of communicating with his posture straight and tall. How would you imagine your confidence to be?
To start to fashion your confident alter-ego, answer some of these questions:
– What famous people do you admire because of their confidence?
– What superheroes or mythical characters have appealed to you?
– What traits do you wish your confident alter-ego to possess?
– What kinds of super-powers would your confident alter-ego have?
A recent piece of research has shown that this is not just the stuff of delicate hypnotherapists like myself. Oh no, even the toughest Mixed Martial Arts fighters face fear and create a fantasy alter-ego in order to boost confidence.
Before you then move on to the step-be-step self-hypnosis process, create your superhero alter ego. Are you Ultra Confidence Man? Are you Super Self-Esteem Woman? Are you a Batman and Tony Robbins hybrid? Are you a Wonderwoman and Oprah Winfrey hybrid? What about Superman and Richard Branson?
Perhaps you simply create your own alter-ego from scratch with all the qualities, posture and characteristics that you deem most important. Be creative and have your alter-ego ready to use in the upcoming process.
Once it is established, simply follow these steps to bring it to life and have it influence your real-life confidence:
You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my Science of self-hypnosis book, use the free audio we give away on this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method
Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis
The Chiasson Self-Hypnosis Method
Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction
Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis
The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction
Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.
Picture your alter-ego in front of you. Notice the way he holds his body, notice the way she communicates and the clothes she is wearing.
What is it tells you that this superhero is so confident? See all the tiniest of details and make the imagery as vivid as possible in front of you. It should make you start feeling more confident just to look at.
Once you have done that, move on to step three.
As you look at your confident superhero alter-ego, step into those shoes. Wear it, act that way, become that superhero alter-ego.
Think like that, feel like that, behave like that. See through those eyes, hear through those ears, feel with that heart, feel with that gut. Walk around in this body, feel how it is. Act that way in every way, become that person on every level.
Notice all the smallest of details and when you really are sure that you have become this superhero alter-ego, notice how it makes you feel. Notice whereabouts in your body the feelings of confidence are and start top spread them around and throughout the body.
Turn the feelings up; imagine they are a colour getting more vibrant, imagine they are a sound resonating more wonderfully throughout your body, imagine they are a feeling that moves faster and stronger through you. Really build and develop those feelings and when you notice them growing healthily, move on to the next step.
Repeat an affirmation or positive cognition to yourself now as you enjoy those feelings:
“I am more and more confident.”
“I feel better and better about myself.”
“My self-esteem is glowing more powerfully.”
Or choose words that you prefer and make you feel confident. Say them in a way that you find to be undeniably convincing. like you really mean them. The words should be advancing the confidence you feel as you say them, so say them with conviction. Then move on to the next step.
Now imagine a particular situation or circumstance in your life where you would like to be more confident and where you would benefit from being more confident.
Be there as your superhero alter-ego of confidence. See the people, see the sights of the place, hear the sounds, and be there, interacting with your environment, with the people as your alter-ego. Notice how things are different and how easy and enjoyable it is to be this confident in this situation. Take all the time necessary to really be here, enjoying this.
Tell yourself that you know you’ll be this way in these future circumstances. Then, move on to the final step.
If you follow the process in my own science of self-hypnosis book, then count from one through to five to bring yourself up and out of hypnosis. Otherwise, take some deep breaths, wiggle your fingers and toes and open your eyes to reorient yourself with your surroundings.
There you have it. Be sure to take adequate time to do each step patiently and thoroughly. You want to get a full sense of how things will be in your life when you are adopting the role of your alter-ego.When you’ve practice this in hypnosis a few times, it becomes very transportable and useable anywhere as you go about your day; so when you enter certain situations and scenarios in your life, become your alter-ego. Act that way, adopt the posture, the manner, the thoughts, the feelings and start to notice that the more you act this way, the more natural it becomes and the more readily you become this way. You are training yourself to become confident in a fun, but surefire evidence based way.
Ok, I’m off to find a telephone box to get changed in….
If you’d like to learn more or if this has resonated with you in some way, then visit these pages:
1. Has self-doubt held you back and is it still doing so now? Do you need to believe in yourself more?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others overcome self-doubt and believe in themselves more?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist for whom self-doubt is negatively effecting the success of your business? DO you need more self-believe to fulfil your career ambitions?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.
Since about ten years I’m a fan of communication in different forms. It started originally with NLP. The last area of interest, which has fascinated me a lot, is alter ego. I’ve been exploring foremost Todd Hermans “the performance masking protocol”. Relating to acting alter ego is in my mind more connected to the Chekhov technique than Method acting. I’m than thinking of that you are more putting yourself into another character/self than gradually trying to change yourself to be the character, which by the way is the traditional self-help way. Just a question: In your interesting method above what would be the trigger to quickly switch to alter ego?
Rather than requiring a specific trigger of any kind, I tend to prefer simply practicing effectively so you can imagine the process and the alter-ego and be able to step into it at will. If you prefer to add a conditioned response of some kind and you have knowledge of that, then of course go for it. Otherwise, I simply recommend being able to instal an innate trigger developed by repetition and meaningful practice.
Thanks for your interest, best wishes to you, Adam.
Thanks for a sensible and clarifying response!