When I teach workshops around the world I always ask the group about what they think the most common client problem is that I encounter. I get the usual replies including, phobias, anxiety, compulsions and food related issues. Nobody has ever suggested blushing and yet it’s one of the most common problems to see clients for in my Leeds and Manchester clinics. Many clients who experience this problem have already tried other approaches or had the problem for some time. In most cases the attempted solution has been to analyze why they have the problem which in my opinion is the wrong question. The key question is “How are they creating the problem?” I must of in recent years seen over 100 clients for this specific problem and in all cases the process has been almost exactly the same with each client.
It’s important to differentiate between a natural state of blushing from feeling self-conscious and the type of blushing that occurs when a person runs very helpful internal suggestions that create the problem state. Blushing requires the ability to feel unhelpfully self-conscious and this can only be done in a few ways. By far the most common way to trigger this is for a person to make the following kind of unhelpful anticipatory suggestions
“Don’t go red!”
“Don’t think about going red”
“People are seeing me going red”
“I’m gonna go red!”
These unhelpful suggestions are made in a fast and anxious voice which then creates the unhelpful feeling which triggers the overall blushing response. I have developed a number of excellent approaches which essentially defuse the emotionally charged suggestions so the client then has real control over how to think and feel different. The good news is that most people can have this resolved in just a couple of sessions. The secret of resolving this is not to analyze what tends to typically occur but rather to create new possibilities of thinking and feeling different. The age range for blushing clients can be from 16 – 60 in my experience and in all cases the type of people who have this issue are very good at anticipating and planning. They often work in jobs that require them to use such skills, but this anticipatory type thinking is being used in a manner that is not useful. Once the client learns how to disengage from the problematic way of thinking, then the feeling state changes and the previous blushing experiences doesn’t occur.