Hypnosis Protocols for Actors, Creative Blocks & Memory Enhancement



Hypnosis Protocols for Actors, Creative Blocks and Memory Enhancement With Lesley Mitchell Clarke & Didi Vergados – Transcript

 Didi: Hi everybody my name is Didi Vergados from InTheKnowRadio.Com and today it is my distinct pleasure to be with Leslie Mitchell-Clarke. Leslie Mitchell-Clarke is the founding Director of Light Work Hypnosis and she has a background as an actress and singer so she has been able to develop cutting-edge protocols for performing and creative artists. Some of the issues she addresses are; on stage or audition anxiety,  competition stress, creative blocks, increasing self-esteem, memory learning and enhancement, positive self-image enhancement and general overall health and wellness. And today we’re gonna be speaking with Leslie about those protocols she’s come up with because  as far as I know there’s few very few people doing what you do in hypnosis. 

 Lesley: Well, thank you Didi. I think that probably is the case, which is one of the reasons why I sort of developed this road map with which to work with the creative and and performing artist, simply because they were coming to me and I was seeing the same issues repetitively. I understand those issues on a deep level and I wanted to just develop a firm way or proceeding, a protocol that would get the desired results for whatever that individual came to me to address.

 Didi: And I do imagine, like I try and put myself in the position of a person standing on a stage with hundreds of people looking up at them or maybe all kinds of film crews around. That would be nerve racking. So how is it that you help people with that performance anxiety?

Lesley: Well, it’s an interesting thing, because first and for most, I think we have to remember that with the new studies with the real-time mapping of the brain, it is a recent discovery that performing artist or artistic people in general, have a brain that works differently from say somebody who’s involved in some accounting or something very left brain very linear. And to know a little bit more about that, one might address the work of Dr. Gabor Monte who’s been one of the vanguards of this new kind of study-his fabulous when the body says no would be a wonderful place to start. Also Dr. John Chong of the musicians clinic who works exclusively with musical artists at the Royal Conservatory, he’s another leading light in this new work. So the creative brain simple works differently than, and I could go into a big long explanation but there’s really no need for that at this point. And I kind of divide the people who come to me who are in the Arts into two different categories. Those that are performers in other words, people who actually take the stage or who are on a movie set or are dancers or do anything that involves public performance. And then creative people who perhaps maybe have more social anxiety. Visual artists and also writers, people who work in a solitary kind of way but they’re socially ill at ease, generally speaking these individuals who work alone, frankly have a lot more difficulties with operating in life in general, I believe than do the individuals who are performers.

 Didi: And the other thing that I find most fascinating is people’s ability to memorize lines. So, I know that if I have to give a public speech for whatever reason, I need to have my little cue cards. So, how is it that you help with memory enhancement?

 Lesley: Well, learning lines for one thing is something that for a trained actor is pretty effortless. That is, probably the easiest part of the whole process of acting. And it happens pretty early on when you are also directed in your movement, so it’s a mind-body thing, Learning lines is attached to how you move on stage and where you move on stage. So, by the time the director says okay, everybody has to be off book, what that means, is that, that movement, that physical movement and the relating dialogue has become embedded, in a sense. Now, if you can see someone struggling with their lines, you shouldn’t be able to see the acting in other words. That part of line learning should be effortless. Now, that being said and as you so astutely pointed out, it does all have to do of course with memory. And anytime that adrenaline and cortisol become involved in the process, ones short term memory which is where the lines live basically, that’s where the dialogue, the learned lines live. Once that adrenaline gets pouring into your system, if you don’t know how to convert that feeling into excitement, it can in fact act as a total impediment as far as reaching that dialogue effortlessly. And certainly this is the same thing that occurs to every human being on the planet earth when they have to take a test or an exam. Anytime adrenaline leaks into the system, the short-term memory is dramatically affected and this is a vestigial hangover from our caveman times and the initial purpose of this adrenaline release was so that we could run from the dinosaur or the threat or the neighboring tribe without thinking that there wouldn’t be analysis and rumination and in fact fear. So, what was a wonderful thing in the Paleolithic era, is now something that we have to learn to control. And so controlling anxiety, by all the ways that we do it, through hypnotherapy is a huge part of any kind of memory function. Now, also that being said, it’s not unusual for me to be working with actors that are senior and they’re having physiological issues with the memory of lines. That is totally in keeping and what is normal for a person of you know 70 or 80 or beyond. So, what we do in that instance is it’s not so much a question of adrenaline, although they do get upset and it makes it worse. We use other things that address the body as a whole. We stimulate neuro-receptors and we get very-very much involved in the physiology of what happens with the memory centers. And that seems to be a more effective way to go with senior actors because they really are dealing with a certain amount of frontal lobe deterioration.

 Didi: Ok. And no doubt you use hypnosis as part of this, do you not?

Lesley: Completely

 Didi: Ok. So, how does hypnosis go above and beyond what, say for example just a regular acting coach or memory coach? How it is that hypnosis can really like boost that performance so much more?

Lesley:  Well if you’re speaking in terms of memory, certainly it would be not unusual to do some form of regression, to try to perceive where the problem has originated because very often if an actor has either sudden episode of stage fright, a sudden episode of going up on their line’s, there may very well have been an emotional trigger that has instigated a place of insecurity.  That could have been a rejection, it could be simply an overload of stress, there could be physiological things involved or it could be simply that something from childhood has bubbled up because as a practitioner we don’t really know where something comes from until we get in there and find out. And very often things that can manifest in midlife actually occurred in early childhood. So we would certainly use regression if it’s a sudden onset of these types of problems we would certainly use regression to try and pinpoint the origin and then address it from there.

 Didi: Okay great. And then, can hypnosis really help with the memory end of things, just above and beyond regression? For example, if someone wanted to learn a language, could they learn it much faster because of hypnosis?

Lesley: Certainly. In fact Didi, you’re way too young to remember this, but some years ago various companies made an awful lot of money selling records, or is my kids used to call them the big CDs. Selling LPs that claim to be able to teach people to learn a language while they were sleeping. So, any type of hypnosis that increases the persons belief that they can learn the language or that they can learn the lines effortlessly is going to impact tremendously. So, part of what we do is, we change the belief system. Which is what happens in any type of hypnotherapy.

 Didi:  Okay fantastic -fantastic. So again, like everybody else actors and actresses must certainly struggle with their self-esteem. I mean they’re under a microscope and I’m sure they’ve had, little as you say mini incidences where their self-esteem has been degraded.  So, how do you help them get through that and build their self-esteem and enhance their confidence?

 Lesley: Well, I think the most important aspect of dealing with that is to drive home the idea and embed the idea that when they go to an audition, they are not being judged on their talent. They are being judged on the very surface, very transitory, very meaningless aspect of their physical parameters. And you can see this, I myself as an actor, called in to read for a film or whatever, I could be sitting in a room with six women all brilliant; Jane Eastwood, every great character actress in town. All of us could do the part, all of us could do the role but it has nothing to do with our talent, it has to do with the idea that the director, or the producer, or the film company has for what they see physically in the role. So, although you’re being judged, your being judged on something that is (a) not really part of you, and be completely out of your control. So, once we sort of get into that idea, and give suggestions that support that idea that you disassociate from the judgment aspect, then you’re going to reach a whole new comfort level in the audition process. And I also drive home the idea that once the audition has happened, that it passes out of your memory because many actors and actresses, because we have so few opportunities to even audition, generally speaking, they get very caught up in waiting for that phone to ring. How did I do? Am I getting the call back? etc, etc, etc. And it is so nervous making and compounds everything. So one thing that I really work on, is helping that performer to release any emotional attachment to the audition whatsoever.

 Didi: Right, no attachment. So Leslie, I would imagine that you would get people like writers or musicians who are experiencing a creative block. How do you use hypnosis specifically, to deal with creative blocks?

Lesley: To get around the creative block, well first of all, I think the evidence of the real-time mapping of the brain as I was discussing earlier sorts of points to the fact that creative blocks are part of how the creative brain works. There is an influx of data, there can be an influx of inspiration, but also creative artists are working with their own emotional being, their own emotional self which is, like dealing with TNT. It’s unpredictable, it’s quixotic. So, what I do is first of all try to remove the stress and the anxiety around the creative block because again, once people get nervous and upset and the cortisol comes in, they are simply building Fort Knox around the whole issue. So, we try to reduce the anxiety and then certainly one can suggest, through hypnosis, that all kinds of inspiration pops up everywhere. That ideas are everywhere and effortless and flowing in and all they have to do is pick one, like in a field of beautiful-beautiful flowers. I use a lot of analogies, a lot of metaphors but basically we try to get around this self-propelling idea where the artist is engaged in negative self-talk saying I’m not creative, I can’t come up with anything, and the idea that, that artist may only be as good as their last job. This is a huge idea that’s been part of the artist’s life since the dawn of time that, that person, that creative person is only as good as the last thing that they have accomplished. And that creates even more stress. So, basically what we do is, we get in there we reduce the anxiety, we create an open channel for inspiration and we start removing and working on all the negative self-talk that is in fact blocking the idea because the creative person, if they’re ready, if they’re primed they can make an idea, a project out of almost anything. A creative person will find something to expound upon or work with or be stimulated by. Creative people are always on alert, their subconscious mind is always on alert, for the next song will be easy to interpret, the next visual image, the next interesting play; they’re always on alert and they always need stimulation.  So, I would have to say really, that most artistic people are dealing with what we would call some form of A.D.D; they have to be continuously stimulated.  So, boredom, and the perception of boredom is a problem. And as you know it’s very difficult, unlike someone who is a painter or sculptor or a writer, it’s difficult for actors to practice they’re acting. They all take class of course, all good actor should always continue to take class but one finds that when actors are not working they tend to inject drama into their personal lives. And this could be in the form of familial conflict, attention-getting behaviors, it could also easily involve addictions because again, we’re talking about people who want to be stimulated all the time. So, it’s incredibly complex; it’s as complex as weight loss or any of these mind, body Gestalt things that we deal with as hypnotherapists. Its complex, everybody is different but the commonality is that artists crave, need, desire more or less constant stimulation.

Didi: And what other advice would you have to offer an actor or an actress who’s struggling in some capacity maybe any one of these that you’ve spoken about?

Lesley: I would say, stop struggling. Stop struggling and come to see someone, either like myself or another qualified hypnotherapist who can get to the core issues and make things more comfortable because the more you struggle, the more you trash around, like quicksand, the more inert you will become in the pursual of your artistic practice.

 Didi: And finally, the last question I’d like to ask, cause I’m deeply fascinated by these miraculous transformations, is what is the most  profound thing you’ve seen as a result of you working hypnosis and working with Creative and Performing Artists?

Lesley: I would say, probably the most profound thing is when you do take someone from a place of inactivity, of no inspiration, no motivation, perhaps some depressive issues. When you’re able through their own desire and supporting what they want dealing with the core issues and dealing actually with the reality of their chosen profession and allow them to transform into successful artists who have not only a satisfying professional life, but a satisfying personal life. It’s very important to have the balance-it’s very important to have the balance. I think unfortunately when we see a artist that crash and burn, where we’re looking at people who have not found the balance. They have a feeling of emptiness inside themselves, an emptiness that cannot be filled in any kind of ordinary way. And again many creative artists have come from very; traumatic backgrounds, very unhappy family lives, unhappy relationships and they use that material to, in fact create and be who they are and have compassion for the characters that they play, because if you haven’t had life experience-and this is the problem for a young actor, if you haven’t had much life experience, you better damn well have a good imagination because it has to be real, especially when you’re talking about working on screen. It has to be real, you can’t show the acting, the acting cannot be seen. It’s a little bit different from stage performers, especially people in musical theater, where everything is exaggerated and you get to go through an experience from beginning to end. Where you are going through a plot ark and evolution of the character that is predictable and understood. When you’re working in film and television, everything is shot out of sequence. So it’s important that you actually maintain your character on some level throughout the whole day no matter what is going on.


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