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Hypnotherapy for Academic Performance

It’s no secret that some people do better in academic situations than others, but what many may find surprising is that in some cases a person’s intelligence level in a given situation may have little to do with it.  For many the stress and anxiety revolving around academic performance may be limited to testing situations, while for others it may extend into virtually any aspect of their academic career.  This may start early and be foreshadowed in Elementary School or Jr. High when the teacher asks a student why they do so well on their daily work, but so poorly on tests.  Often a teacher is inferring that the student’s daily work may not have been entirely their own, but the truth is that many people simply do not test well.  Sadly this can be not only academically, but professionally devastating as well, for in our society testing is the benchmark by which one’s future will be determined.  How well one tests will determine if you are worthy of progressing academically, attending the school of your choice, or even what profession one will be able to attain.  This is not only a reality for those taking their board exam to be come a doctor or lawyer, but in today’s overly regulated world will apply to those who must test to obtain licenses to do everything from working on an air conditioning unit, to cutting hair.

So what is one to do if they do not test well, or if they simply do not perform well in the academic or testing environment?  This is an area that has been researched extensively by both the medical and psychological community, and the studies have shown hypnotherapy to be very useful for both children and adults. 

One such study researched the impact of hypnotherapy as treatment for overcoming examination anxiety and scholastic improvement in 13 and 14 year olds.  Test anxiety for these children included the following symptoms:


Headaches, nausea or diarrhea, extreme body temperature changes, excessive sweating, or shortness of breath, light-headedness or fainting, rapid heartbeat, and/or dry mouth.  

  Emotional: Excessive feelings of fear, disappointment, anger, depression, uncontrollable crying or laughing, feelings of helplessness.
  Behavioral:   Fidgeting, pacing, substance abuse, avoidance.
  Cognitive: Racing thoughts, “going blank,” difficulty concentrating, negative self-talk, feelings of dread, comparing yourself to others, difficulty organizing your thoughts.

In this study aside from a significant scholastic improvement, Mathur & Khan’s (2011) cited the following:

Anxiety symptoms of forgetting before the exam, excessive nervousness, sweating during and before the exam, going blank after seeing the paper were all controlled/eliminated after hypnotherapy and these were observed by the teachers, parents and the children themselves.  These results indicated that hypnotherapy as treatment intervention proved to be effective in reducing exam anxiety and improving scholastic performance among children.

While the results in children are impressive, it is important to note that adults, even those who have not previously suffered from test anxiety may experience the challenge much later in life when many would think testing anxiety would be a thing of the past.  In fact one such study which documented test anxiety among medical residents stated:

By the time physicians enter a residency program, they have taken many examinations, and it would be expected that they would be comfortable with the process.  In fact, for many, the anxiety of test taking continues to increase at the stakes get higher (Graham, Vettraino, Seifeldin, & Nonita, 2010).

Obviously if one never attended law school, then there is little that could be done to help that person pass the State Bar Exam, but it is important to note that the subconscious which makes up approximately 88% of the total mind takes in virtually everything to which it is exposed.  The secret is often simply being able to access what is already stored there in the subconscious.  Many reading this article will be able to relate to this if they were to think back to a time when they took a test and could remember very little about the subject matter until they saw the written question on the page, and the answers began to come forth.

If you or someone you know is experiencing academic challenges, or are preparing for a major upcoming exam and would like to know if hypnotherapy might be an option, contact us online, or call us at 469-225-9040. 


Caban, A. (2004). Effects of hypnosis on the academic self-efficacy of first generation college students. (Unpublished masters thesis).WashingtonStateUniversity department of educational leadership and counseling psychology,Pullman,WA.

De Vos, H. M., & Louw, D.A. (2006). The effect of hypnotic training programs on the academic performance of students. The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 49(2), 101-112.

Graham, S., Vettraino, A. N., Jr., Seifeldin, R., & Nonita, S. (2010). A trial of virtual hypnosis to reduce stress and test anxiety in family medicine residents.  Family Medicine, 42(2), 85-86.

Gruzelier, J., Levy, J., Williams, J., & Henderson, D. (2001). Self-hypnosis and exam stress: comparing immune and relaxation-related imagery for influences on immunity, health and mood. Contemporary Hypnosis, 19(2), 73-86.

Gruzelier, J., Smith, F., Nagy, A., & Henderson, D. (2001). Cellular and humoral immunity, mood and exam stress: the influences of self-hypnosis and personality predictors. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 42(1), 55-71.

Mathur, S., & Khan, W. (2011). Impact of hypnotherapy on examination anxiety and scholastic performance among school children. Delhi Psychiatry Journal, 14(2), 337-342.

Palan, B. M., & Chandwani, S. (1989). Coping with examination stress through hypnosis: an experimental study. The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 31(3), 173-180.

Sapp, M., (1991). The effects of hypnosis in reducing test anxiety and improving academic achievement in college students. Australian Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis, 12(1), 25-31.