Blushing problems and how to stop going red

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.

3 thoughts on “Blushing problems and how to stop going red

  1. Nick Post author

    Thanks for all the comments, very interesting. I see people for this virtually every week. My observations is that blushers may see themselves through the eyes of others, but the actual feeling that creates the blushing comes from what they then think/say to themselves. In the last 7 years I have spent a great deal of time exploring the way in which people think/speak to themselves and have a great deal of evidence that suggests this to be true! Interestingly I have found this to be the case in other countries as well and when doing workshop demos on this in Japan, India, Poland, Hungary, USA and Spain the I get the same patterns and results! Its always how the phrase is being thought, not the content itself. I know this for sure as I never change the content, so the client realises that it’s they who now have full control. The result is that the feeling doesn’t come back in the old way that it once did because the trigger that created this emotional unhelpful charge is acually not there anymore! That having said I’m all for as many approaches to assist resolve client issues as possible and one of the great things about JBW is that there is a mine of information and insights to help clients all over the world and as one of the very best NLP trainers once commented “No one of us is smarter than all of us”
    Warm Regards (unless you want to feel cooler)

    Nick Kemp

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  2. laura spicer

    I find the most common way my clients have created their blushing is to ‘jump out of their own body’ (visually) and see themselves through the eyes of the people who might (or might not in reality) be looking at them. They also often seem to be imagining what the other person is saying to themselves – for example “he is going red” or even “he looks like an idiot”. At the same time, my blushing clients seem to remain in their own feelings which are usually strong and uncomfortable. What a horrid combination!

    I love what happens when you have a really helpful caring voice inside telling you that you are fine the way you are, and change the focus of your attention to looking outward instead of backward at yourself! I often get my clients to pay attention to whether they like the look of other people rather than whether they can imagine whether others are liking looking at them. And in my experience, this alone is often enough to help shift a blushing problem.

    I also have noticed that after a session, clients typically find that they have stopped blushing without even trying, but a few weeks later a bit might sneak back. That is the moment when they can put the thoughts to work on purpose and clear it for good. So I usually let them know in advance, that if this happens, it is simple to take control and do it on purpose. And practice makes perfect! 🙂 And I love Steve’s ‘cool calm and collected’ phrase – I use this a lot too with people who want to stop blushing. It is such a lovely phrase to repeat inside as well as imagining how you look and feel when you are!

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  3. Steve Tromans

    Yes exactly.
    I usually tend to focus on a more visual approach, doing my best to facilitate the client to be able to vividly see themselves being cool, calm and collected at times when previously they may have blushed, training them to ‘expect’ to be comfortable and at ease. And obviously theres metaphor, anchoring, future pacing, humour etc etc and, of course, hypnosis, often delivered conversationally. Plus stacks of presuppositions of course. Its one of the most commonn issues I deal with too.

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