Self confidence is often regarded as something innate, a quality which some lucky individuals are born with. Whilst there may be some truth in this, it is also certainly true that self confidence can be trained and nurtured, at any stage in life.
I am a hypnotherapist, specialising in the development of self confidence and self esteem. For most people these qualities seem ethereal, difficult to pin down. In order to help my clients to focus on the specific aspects of self confidence which they need or wish to develop, and also to help them to identify and measure growth, I have developed a Confidence Profile Questionnaire which splits confidence into 5 component qualities :
These are described in detail on the Confidence Club website : http://www.confidenceclub.net
Each client is put into a ‘high’ or ‘low’ category for each of the 5 components, resulting in 32 personality types. By analysing a person’s current status, and then continually assessing their personality type, we are able to monitor their development.
An example may serve to illustrate the process. Mr A presented with extreme anxiety when making sales presentations to large groups. As this was a regular feature of his job, it represented a significant handicap. Mr A’s confidence profile showed normal levels of social confidence, very high levels of peer independence, normal status confidence and low levels of stage presence and physical presence. These were the areas we worked on. After three sessions, Mr A reported that he had overcome his performance anxiety and was achieving good results for his company.
Many hypnotherapists, and particularly textbooks of hypnotherapy, approach confidence as a single quality. I would like to challenge this view. By splitting confidence down into its components and taking a scientific approach towards client assessment, we can focus our therapeutic efforts, helping people to achieve their specific goals, to understand the specific nature of their problem and to make rapid progress in addressing their difficulty.
There is a further benefit. One of the surprising aspects of the Confidence Profile Questionnaire, particularly for people who regard themselves as having low self esteem, is the identification of personal strengths. In the case of Mr A, one such strength was his exceptional peer independence. This is a measure of the extent to which an individual will resist social pressure to conform. Taken in tandem with the other 4 measures, this provided a rounded view of Mr A’s personality which highlighted a number of personal strengths. When Mr A’s wife read the personality profile generated by the questionnaire, she was flabbergasted by its accuracy. The beauty of this approach is that it enables people to think about confidence in a more rounded, intelligent manner. Rather than focus on the question “how can I increase my self confidence?”, Mr A was able to think about his confidence profile, and look at the benefits and drawbacks of different options available to him.
Jim Sullivan is a hypnotherapist specialising in confidence and self esteem development