Can you give me some advice on overcoming a blockage I have with exams and written work?

I am a student of hypnosis, and have an interest in understanding NLP but find that part heavy going from a technical point of view, this may be due to my father when i was a child, although clever enough he always wanted better and was quite forceful with it, to a point where i think i created a blockage when it came to exams, written work and technical stuff. And although with perseverence i have completed full time studies at college and in work enviroments, i must confess it doesn’t get any easier.
I wondered perhaps if you have any advice you may care to offer?

I was just talking to a friend of mine yesterday. She was preparing for a maths exam today and her maths teacher had told her that everything was fine, she knew the material and she had no problems with the exam. But she told me, “Everytime I sit down and look at the page it’s like I have this physical sensation as if a blind is coming down in front of my eyes and I just go blank”

It reminded me of a story that my flatmate had told me. She said that when she was a child, one day in maths class she had been really pleased with herself because she had finished the maths assignment before anyone else and she was pretty sure she had got all the questions right. She was so pleased that she went to the front of the class and handed over her maths book to the teacher. There she stood, in front of the whole class, holding her breath she was so excited, hopping from one foot to the other.

Well her teacher must have been in a bad mood that day because he marked her assignment and noticed that she had got one of the questions wrong. And do you know what he did? He threw the book at her and shouted at her to do it again!!

Can you believe that? When I heard that story I was so angry I wanted to go back in time and find that teacher and give him a piece of my mind!! I wanted to take that exercise book and stick it … well lets leave that unsaid. I just couldn’t believe that anyone could be so thoughtless and unkind.

And it got me thinking about all the teachers I’ld had in my life- the ones who had been really supportive and had encouraged me to be my best; and the bad ones who seemed to have no idea about how children learn- or they just didn’t care.

Well I was lucky. Both my parents were teachers who had a love of learning so I had two really good models to help me on my own educational journey. But it also taught me early on that teachers were human too. And sometimes they had good days and bad days. And they could only do the best they knew how based on what they’ld learned and how they had been treated.

And the fact is that most of my teachers at school, when they were children, had been taught to memorise lots of information under the threat of the slipper or the cane. So its not surprising they didn’t know any better. In fact the best teachers I had were people who had come to teaching later in life, after they had had some life experience in business and industry, or after they had brought up their own families.

I was talking about this with my friend Rosie. Now Rosie had been really bright at school and had won a scholarship when she was 14. But then things went a bit crazy, she had some family difficulties and not surprisingly her school work suffered.

Rosie loved writing and her Dad was a writer and she told me that as she was growing up nothing she did was ever good enough, he would always find some fault or compare what she did to something that was better. Of course he wanted to inspire her, to show her how to do better. But the lesson she got was, she just wasn’t ever good enough to please him. Because her dad didn’t realise that when you are learning something new, you need encouragment and appreciation for what it is that you are doing well. The more encouragement and appreciation you get, the better you feel and the easier it becomes to stay motivated and to start to realise for yourself what it is you need to learn next.

And I already new just how smart Rosie was; just how perceptive. I mean she nailed my character and my habitual patterns right on the head very soon after she met me. She’s creative, intuitive. She has everything it takes be a great writer. All she needs is the encouragement and appreciation to do what she does well and to start to delight in that.

Like my flatmate, when she realised that her fear of learning and her feeling of not being good enough was down to this stupid, angry teacher: well first she got mad. Then she got sad. Then she got determined. She decided that she wasn’t going to let this experience from the past hold her back. She asked me to do a session with her and all I had to do was take her back through all the positive experiences, all the amazing things that she had managed to acheive even with this silly handicap from the past. We added in some other positive resources like confidence and excitement and curiosity and a sense of play and when she was feeling really good we anchored those feelings to the situations in which she wished to learn things in a new way. She rehearsed these feelings and imagined succeeding in the way that she wanted to.

I can tell you, she’s racing ahead now- unstoppable!! :-)

Well with my friend who was preparing for a maths exam today it was even easier. I just told her that story and she laughed at me and said- “I know what your doing, you sneaky magician you!”

And I said “That’s right. And just because you know what I’m doing doesn’t mean you can’t not laugh your way through that exam does it?

Realise just how amazing it is that you have accomplished so much in your life already, even though you’ve had to struggle. Start to belief that learning will get easier for you. It’s not who you are, its just what you learnt. You can learn to do it in a new way.



{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Guest February 13, 2010, 3:43 pm


    That was an amazing response! I sincerely look forward to studying under your guidance, and I think that has already begun!