Actors & Musicians


"We're frightened little animals. It's all about fear. And wanting approval. Wanting validation. And also it's about an environment where you can face what you're most afraid of – scrutiny. It's all about that, about overcoming fear – and overcoming is what makes heroes out of people, when you say – "I can't do it, I can't do it", and then "No – I'm going to do this!" Rhys Ifans, actor, The Sunday Times 16.10.2001

I was a professional actress/musician for over 15 years before becoming a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist. As a result, I believe I have a special insight into the issues affecting performers. Whilst on a theatre tour, I discovered a self-hypnosis book that enabled me to choose my optimum state before going on stage. I was so impressed that I enrolled on a hypnotherapy course which enabled me to develop techniques for stage fright, memory and other psychological problems affecting performers. I have a BA Hons in Drama and Music as well as a Masters Degree in Psychotherapy and regularly treat actors, singers and musicians. I also offer special rates to Equity members and Musicians Union memebers as I am aware of the feast or famine nature of the business.

Kingston Hypnotherapy can help performers on several levels:


Often a performer has a deep-seated belief that they are not good enough and they fear they may be judged negatively if they are anything short of brilliant. This belief then causes anxiety which can surface at crucially important moments such as stepping onto the stage or at an audition. They are unable to perform at their best and can end up sabotaging their own performance. When a threat is perceived (whether physical or a potential humiliation) there is a surge of adrenalin which is the body's fight or flight response. The higher functions of the brain shut down as the reptilian part of the brain takes over.  It is only concerned with survival and will be more interested in locating the nearest exit than spouting an eloquent piece of Shakespeare or playing a piece of Mozart! Hypnotherapy can alter the self-defeating belief on a subconscious level so that the performer is then free to be at their most creative and confident.

Creating Characters and Conveying Emotions

Kingston Hypnotherapy can help you get in touch with your creativity. It can release inhibitions and enable you to access your emotions. Triggers can be created that enable you to come up with a desired emotion on cue. Characters can be created utilising the trance state for inspiration.




Kingston Hypnotherapy offers hypnosis combined with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).   The treatment involves developing more helpful, realistic ways of thinking which have an impact on how we feel and behave.  Hypnosis is very helpful as it can be used to rapidly change your perception of a past event or release emotion from it. You can also rehearse managing an anxiety-provoking situation under hypnosis and as the subconscious doesn't know the difference between a real event and a vividly imagined event, it then believes you've actually done it.  Then when you face it in reality your subconscious does a pattern match and allows you to remain calm as the situation no longer seems threatening.

I worked for 4 years in an NHS IAPT service using CBT effectively with hundreds of clients with anxiety disorders.  In my private practice I have the added bonus of hypnotherapy which definitely speeds up the process.

Anxiety can be experienced at different levels, and although most people experience some anxiety when facing particularly stressful situations (such as a speech or presentation), anxiety disorders are severe and can have a massive impact on a person's life. Anxiety can be brought on by a fear of something that happened, or what we think may happen and dread happening.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Individuals suffering from generalised anxiety disorder often anticipate tragedy and worry extremely about family, money and health. Generalised anxiety disorder interferes with daily life and is usually diagnosed when an individual spends at least six months worrying excessively about normal everyday problems. Other minor issues such as chores or appointments can also cause anxiety and for some, just getting through the day can be extremely stressful.

Panic disorder

Panic disorder which is characterised by terror, which strikes suddenly without warning. Panic attacks are a common symptom of panic disorder, but not everyone who has a panic attack will develop panic disorder. Panic disorder is much more common than is generally recognised and affects a large proportion of the population.

Social anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder is defined by extreme anxiety and discomfort in social situations. According to some research, social anxiety is the third most common psychiatric disorder after depression and alcoholism. Fear of being around other people, having to interact with them and being judged negatively by them are the common signs of social anxiety.


Agoraphobia is the fear of open spaces, crowds, public places and/or travelling alone.  It often starts with a panic attack.

Health Anxiety

Health anxiety is an anxiety disorder that is often seen as part of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) spectrum of disorders. Those affected by health anxiety have an obsessional preoccupation with the idea or the thought that they are currently (or will be) experiencing a physical illness.

Anxiety symptoms

As there are different types of anxiety, there are a number of different symptoms, however the most common include:

dizziness, breathlessness, irritability, difficulty in concentrating, loss of libido, headaches, loss of appetite, muscle tension, a tight feeling in the chest, sweating, difficulty sleeping, poor performance, diarrhoea, palpitations.

Drink Less

The Drink Less alcohol programme is a programme designed to:

• Help you become very aware of the  circumstances where you are drinking.

• Make you consciously aware of your  drinking habits.

• Help you take responsibility for your drinking, and easily follow a plan for reduction.


Hypnotherapy is a common method used  to control exam nerves. The power of suggestion and visualisation techniques can help clear a racing mind and create  a cool, calm state. This leads to increased concentration levels, allowing the knowledge to be accessed more easily.

Hypnotherapy can be used to:

increase confidence
increase motivation
learn how to control anxiety
increase memory and concentration
increase focus
overcome fear of failure
learn to relax


Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or receiving adequate sleep. 

How can you control insomnia?

Insomnia is involuntary. It’s something you have no control over. 

Sleeping should be natural, easy and effortless. And yet for you, it isn’t. Why? The more you try to think about sleeping, the more you try to force it, the worse the problem seems to get because for some reason your subconscious doesn’t want you to sleep.

To overcome this sometimes avoiding certain “triggers” to prevent the insomnia occurring (e.g., no caffeine or alcohol) may work or using direct hypnosis suggestion to override the response.

If it is more persistent then there may be an underlying cause that needs to be addressed with psychotherapy (CBT). If there is no longer any cause, there can be no effect.

Hypnotherapy and CBT for insomnia

Hypnotherapy and CBT help to resolve and correct the true cause of your insomnia - along with any expectation that you won’t be able to sleep.

"Having struggled with chronic sleep problems for many years, as a result of unsociable and erratic work patterns, I consulted Nicola on the advice of a colleague, who had had similar issues. By following the methods she gave me, which were clearly and very precisely set out, the problem completely alleviated itself within days. I was soon to realise that the other issues I had were probably sleep-deficit related and so, because of her treatment, could cease to be the major ones I perceived them being. I'm also convinced that the rest that I'm getting is somewhat due to the comfort of knowing that I have a empathetic professional to consult when necessary." Adrian S 

Negative Emotions


According to Albert Ellis, a famous psychotherapist, the 8 main unhealthy negative emotions we experience are:


Kingston Hypnotherapy addresses negative emotions using a combination of hypnosis and CBT so that our responses are appropriate to the situations we encounter. We all experience a range of positive and negative emotions as part of our daily life. For example feeling "happy" is a positive emotion and feeling "sad" is a negative emotion and both are healthy, normal human responses. However, it is possible to experience negative emotions that are out of proportion to the triggering events and unhelpful in terms of attaining our goals in life.


What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has two main components: obsessions and compulsions.


Obsessions are quite different to the ordinary, everyday worries that we all experience in our day-to-day life. Obsessions are intrusive thoughts, images or urges that repeatedly appear in your mind and cause significant fear and anxiety.

Common obsessions include:

1.  Fear of contamination by dirt, germs and viruses
2.  Worries of having not locked the door or turned off the oven
3.  A need for perfection and order
4.  Forbidden thoughts, such as thinking about abusing a child


Compulsions are actions or thoughts you feel compelled to repeat, often as a response to an obsession aimed at reducing the associated anxiety. For example, you may excessively wash your hands as a response to an obsessional fear about germs. You may feel the need to repeatedly touch every light switch in the house 3 times to prevent harm coming to a loved one.

You are unlikely to experience any pleasure or fulfilment when carrying it out and yet still find yourself doing it over and over again.

How does obsessive compulsive disorder affect your life?

OCD will cause you serious anxiety and distress. Some people feel so ashamed of their symptoms that they keep them secret. Attempting to suppress intrusive thoughts and compulsions can also lead to depression, or fears that you're crazy. However, obsessional thoughts are an anxiety disorder, as are phobias and panic attacks. They are significantly different to psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, as you know the intrusive thoughts are your own rather than feeling they are coming from outside of yourself.

OCD can be so debilitating that it effects your work, relationships, social life and quality of life.

How Can I Suppress My Obsessions and Compulsions?

Managing your OCD is most likely to cause further anxiety and distress. The more you try to ignore your intrusive thoughts or compulsions the more severe they are likely to become. Just like if someone said to you "don't think of a pink elephant", it's most likely to be the first thing you think of. Trying to stop your OCD symptoms is like trying to stop blinking. You can try, but eventually the unthinking, subconscious part of the mind will override your attempts and your normal instinctive and emotional responses will take over automatically once again.

Treatment For OCD

Firstly, you will learn about the cycle of OCD and what keeps it going.  We will then look at what has led to it developing.  OCD is a maladaptive response to stress and there is usually a genetic bias. We will then identify the theme of your obsessions and enable you to get some emotional distance from the content of your disturbing thoughts. If there is a compulsive behaviour attached then we can expose you to the triggers under hypnosis and then later in reality to desensitise you to them.

Techniques from Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can also be used to enable you to step back from the content of the disturbing thoughts.


There is a difference between acute pain and chronic pain.  Acute pain alerts you to a new problem that needs attention immediately such as a broken arm.  Acute pain is a message telling you to concentrate on fixing the problem. The greater the damage the greater the pain level to ensure you do all that is necessary. 

Chronic pain is sometimes a message that has carried on going long after it needs to, for instance phantom limb pain.   Once something has been done about the problem the pain should go.  If it doesn't then something else is going on.  Arthiritic pain is useful to alert you to the fact that you have arthritis but once you have got the message it does not need to tell you everyday.  

The subconscious needs to know that the pain is causing a problem and it can be persuaded to check if the pain message still needs to be there.  Then it can either turn the old pain message off or turn it down to an acceptable level.  

Take a look at this link: OldPain2Go 

"I've had chronic pain in my lower spine for thirty years which has often been debilitating and greatly affected my life. No treatment of any sort has ever helped even a tiny bit. But after just one session of hypnotherapy with Nicola it was gone. It's still hard to believe, but it has. 

It would appear that the pain signals were being sent long after my body had recovered from the incident(s) which first caused them - they were no longer necessary and Nicola was able to work with my subconscious to switch them off. I would absolutely recommend Nicola to anyone with a similar seemingly untreatable pain - the change was instant and total." Tim G 



"Between the stimulus and the response there is a pause, and in that pause lies our power and our freedom" Viktor Frankl

Kingston Hypnotherapy's treatment for phobias is one of the most requested interventions. The most common phobias are fear of spiders and fear of flying and hypnotherapy can be very effective in reprogramming the subconscious automatic fear response. 

Phobias often start with a childhood misunderstanding when the child overestimates the danger associated with a particular situation eg. their mother screaming at a daddy longlegs. They are likely to conclude that the insect is dangerous.

Phobias such as agoraphobia or social phobia may need a deeper look at underlying issues to resolve them (see Anxiety page).

Techniques used:

Updating the part of the subconscious that is producing this exaggerated response.

Regression where appropriate to the time when the phobia was formed.

Relaxation, visualisation and EMDR when needed to help desensitise the response.

Dental Phobias:  I work with local dentist, Dr Haj Barlow, who is particularly good with anxious patients.




Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but confronting your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD.  It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help.

Watchful Waiting

If you have mild symptoms of PTSD, or you have had symptoms for less than four weeks, an approach called watchful waiting may be recommended. Watchful waiting involves carefully monitoring your symptoms to see whether they improve or get worse. It is sometimes recommended because 2 in every 3 people who develop problems after a traumatic experience will get better without treatment within a few weeks.

If watchful waiting is recommended, you should have a follow-up appointment within one month.


The aim of hypnotherapy is to unlock stored emotion using the trance state so that the trauma can be revisited and processed while exploring it from a different perspective.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that aims to help you manage your problems by changing how you think and act. Trauma-focused CBT uses a range of psychological treatment techniques to help you come to terms with the traumatic event.

You may also be encouraged to gradually restart any activities you have avoided since your experience, such as driving a car if you had an accident.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a relatively new treatment that has been found to be very effective in reducing the symptoms of PTSD.  EMDR involves making side-to-side eye movements, usually by following the movement of my finger, while recalling the traumatic incident, or EMDR software when appropriate.

It is not clear exactly how EMDR works, but it may help the malfunctioning part of the brain (the hippocampus) to process distressing memories and flashbacks so that their influence over your mind is reduced.  I have found it to be very successful in treating clients who have experienced serious assaults, traumatic births, car accidents and even earthquakes:

Since our last session and the unbelievable thing you did with the EMDR I cannot believe how different I feel, it's truly amazing, for a few days after I questioned HOW it can work, in terms of the power of the mind etc, but then just started to relax about it and see I had achieved what I wanted to achieve which was to feel like ME again, relaxed, peaceful, happy yet strong enough to deal with life and its tests!!

I feel like me again…THANK YOU. You are clearly gifted to be a therapist in this field and I have done nothing but talk about how AMAZING you were/are your calm and kindness radiates from you and made me feel instantly comfortable in your company, considering my then condition and being complete strangers about an unknown science I think that’s pretty amazing. ” Rachael Beeton, victim of New Zealand earthquake." (2 sessions)

Public Speaking

In surveys, public speaking anxiety consistently tops the list of people's fears above the fear of dying! It is possible to be perfectly confident in other areas of life but when it comes to public speaking or presentations, the heart starts to race, the throat tightens, the thinking becomes muddled and there is a strong desire to run away. Events involving public speaking trigger a belief formed in the subconscious from a earlier time, to do with the threat of public humiliation. It may be that an embarrassing situation occurred in childhood and the subconscious wants to protect the person from being in that position again.
The subconscious automatically does a pattern match with the past and activates the fight or flight response (a primitive survival mechanism designed to save the person's life when confronted with a real physical threat such as a lion or tiger). Adrenalin fills the body to enable the person to fight or run away. The symptoms that result are incompatible with good public speaking as the higher functioning parts of the brain shut down and the reptilian brain takes over which is primarily concerned with survival. So instead of concentrating on the speech the exits start to look very attractive.
Kingston Hypnotherapy's Treatment for Public Speaking/Presentations

Hypnosis for public speaking helps achieve confidence by a process of visualisation and/or regression. Under hypnosis the client is guided through a visualisation of giving a public presentation while feelings of confidence and control are instilled. Regression can also be used in trance to take the client back to a sensitising incident in the past. The client can then see the incident from a new perspective and reassess it which can be enough to destroy the fear. The incident can be replayed in a humourous way or with the adult client guiding their younger self to a successful outcome. The result is that the next time the client thinks about public speaking, feelings of confidence and control come to mind, not fear. Direct suggestions are also given to the client reinforcing their ability to give a good presentation.
Over the years I have helped clients overcome anxiety about work presentations, student assessments, teaching placements, wedding speeches, team meetings, job interviews and even just introducing themselves!
I also work alongside Corporate Coach, Jeremy Todd, who can help with content, style and even video your performance so you can see the improvements for yourself.

Sports Hypnosis

Today more and more athletes are using hypnosis to help improve their performance.

Hypnosis can be combined with a variety of techniques from sports psychology, mindfulness therapies, motivational coaching, NLP modeling and cognitive therapy to work on pre-performance set up, performance enhancement and post performance reflection.

I can teach you the most effective techniques to significantly improve your performance using a multi session protocol beginning with mindfulness training before anchoring a state of optimal arousal and pre perfromance set up.  Goal setting exercises build on these core skills to create the groundwork for delivering formal hypnosis.

Stop Smoking


Hypnosis has been recognised by many studies as the most effective way of stopping. (New Scientist, issue 1845, 31October 1992, p6).

Kingston Hypnotherapy's method is particularly powerful as it goes into detail to eradicate every possible reason why you smoke. I address the physical, psychological and habitual addiction, so it's a quick, easy and powerful method to stop smoking almost automatically.

The technique is interactive and beyond pure suggestion, combining a hypnotic trance, NLP and parts therapy. When you began smoking, all the parts of your mind were working together but now it is as if some of them have realised the harm smoking is doing to you but other parts have not caught up yet! The subconscious is persuaded to reprogram these "parts" because smoking is no longer beneficial.

For most people I recommend a two session approach.

(Hypnotherapy more effective that nicotine replacement

The Most Common Reasons For Smoking

  • Confidence
  • An excuse for a break (e.g. at work)
  • To celebrate something
  • Relaxation
  • As an end of the day ritual
  • Part of drinking something (typically tea, coffee and alcohol) 
  • To accompany meals
  • As part of socialising
  • To avoid boredom 
  • Quiet time to think about things
  • To signal a time for them to have a private chat with someone
  • To concentrate on a task


Nicola, a short note 6 months after my session. Am still not smoking and feeling GREAT! I knew I wanted to stop and I needed to break some mechanism that held me down. Well, hypnosis has been the key to my success. Thank you very much. Antonio R

I'm pleased to say that I haven't had a cigarette since the session and indeed have had almost no urge to smoke at all. I have passed your details on to other people who want to quit. Many thanks. John S, Manager 

I have to say since I saw you I have been doing brilliantly. I have had one or two instances when I've thought about smoking - but then batted the idea away pretty quickly. I am really impressed with your methods. It seems to have done the trick. I am now on a complete health kick, have been exercising regularly and not drinking. I could not have done this without the initial kick start I needed from your session. Thank you so much. Leah 

SLEEP: "Having struggled with chronic sleep problems for many years, as a result of unsociable and erratic work patterns, I consulted Nicola on the advice of a colleague, who had had similar issues. By following the methods she gave me, which were clearly and very precisely set out, the problem completely alleviated itself within days. I was soon to realise that the other issues I had were probably sleep-deficit related and so, because of her treatment, could cease to be the major ones I perceived them being. I'm also convinced that the rest that I'm getting is somewhat due to the comfort of knowing that I have a empathetic professional to consult when necessary." Adrian S