Interview and Exam Nerves
I am often contacted by clients seeking help with interview nerves. This can be for job interviews, academic exams and driving tests. As someone who personally is not a great fan of exams, I have some sympathy for such clients. My approach for dealing with this issue is to explore how to change the problematic way of thinking to create a more useful state of relaxation in these situations.
When people have interview nerves they are usually commenting on the feeling of anxiety that occurs in an exam situation. This feeling of anxiety doesn’t just occur; it’s triggered by thinking in a particular way. There are four main ways in which this happens and here are some typical examples of how these triggers create exam nerves
Seeing something externally to create the anxiety (This could be the interview room)
Hearing something externally that triggers the anxiety (“Don’t worry about the interview”)
Picturing/imagining something internally (picturing yourself looking anxious)
Thinking/saying something to yourself that’s not useful (“It’s going be a disaster”)
It’s important to remember that in undertaking any new activity, whether this is an exam or anything else, there can be an understandable amount of nervous energy. However when clients request help usually this feeling of interview nerves is so heightened that it is either makes attending the interview very difficult or in extreme cases the person is so anxious they won’t even turn up for the event.
In my Leeds and Manchester hypnotherapy clinics I have found that the best approach is to work with changing these unhelpful thinking processes to create a more useful and appropriate relaxed state. The tools in the Provocative Change Works tool kit are really excellent in dealing with anxiety related problems. I explained some of these approaches in my DVD set “Provocative Change Works for Anxiety” and teach other therapists these skills on an international basis. I have found that regardless of whether I am seeing clients in Japan, USA, Europe or the UK, the key triggers for exam nerves and other anxiety conditions are exactly the same.
The age range for clients with this problem can vary immensely. The youngest client I ever saw for interview nerves was ten years old and the oldest was in her seventies. Most clients experience noticeable benefits in a very short period of time and of course the skills that help with this can also be used for other anxiety related problems.