Do you remember watching Derren Brown’s Channel 4 TV series “Fear and Faith” back in 2012? If you do, read on. If you don’t, but don’t mind spoilers, then read on! If you want to watch it first, then here’s the link to YouTube…

Can Derren Brown Help You Overcome Your Fears? FULL EPISODE! | Fear and Faith







I’m going to do a quick synopsis, but do recap with the video if you’re feeling it!

Derren Brown recruited a bunch of folk and told them they were taking a new wonder-drug called “Rumyodin” that would essentially inhibit fear and allow them to totally overcome their problems. The group the show followed was made up of one person with social anxiety, two with a fear of heights and bridges, and one singer who had stage fright….! 

He took them to a medical facility where they got the information, had their first jab of the drug, and then were given a month's worth of pills to take, with instructions to keep a video diary of the experience. The rest of the show is about Derren Brown visiting these folks over the course of the month and discussing their experiences with them - surprisingly, three out of the four folks featured on the show managed to completely overcome their fears!

And then comes the kicker. They were invited back to the now empty facility, along with EVERYONE ELSE who had been taking the drug. There were five groups of people who were told that this wonder drug would help them with their specific problem, when each group believed they were the only ones taking it. Not only was this confusing enough, Derren Brown then appears in front of the crowd and reveals to them all that this wonder drug, RUMYODIN, is actually a placebo. 

He had basically given them an injection of saline solution (salt and water) and the subsequent pills were sugar pills. Literally sugar in little capsules, so they did absolutely nothing to inhibit the fear response! But the true wonder drug was the myriad of psychological tools he employed when giving them the Rumyodin.

He used tried and tested psychological tools, for example the clinic was set up to look legitimate, and he’d researched the best way to give them the placebo whilst thinking it was a real drug. He gave it a back story, had it explained to them by an actor playing a medical doctor, and used all the right words to give them the experience of taking a real drug. So why did this work? Instead of me paraphrasing, I think it’s wise to quote Derren Brown directly from the show:

“The reason why this has worked, is that you first of all trusted that there was a resource. The resources were in there. And then you gave yourself permission to just act as if the thing wasn’t a problem. That was not the Rumyodin doing it - that was you doing it. You were all told at the beginning that the effects of the Rumyodin work after you stop taking it, and now you know why! Because you’ve set up new ways of thinking and you don’t need the placebo any more to do that. Rumyodin doesn’t exist. Rumyodin is….”

R U M Y O D I N = Y O U R M I N D

Yep, he’d given them the tool to act as if their problem didn’t exist any more. Nothing fancy about overcoming obstacles, or talking through it, or denying the problem exists - just plain and simple “here’s a pill to cure it”. Pretty clever if you ask me!

But in all seriousness, this experiment WORKED, with one noticeable exception. The person with stage fright was not able to get rid of their fears entirely. 

In an interview a few weeks later, she admits that she felt more empowered once she knew the drug was a placebo, that she did all the work herself, and her confidence has actually improved since then. But of course, that’s not enough for Derren Brown, who wanted her to really get rid of her stage fright once and for all.

At the end of the interview, he did his usual tricksy, mentalist ‘snap induction’ and put her under hypnosis. During the time she was under, he gave her the tools she needed to get rid of her stage fright, then he had her perform on stage, in front of a crowd, without any stage fright at all.

She experienced probably her most confident performance, EVER. And you can bet that experience has stayed with her ever since! What we don’t know is if there were any other blocks removed, or any other suggestions given to her whilst she was in this state, although I’d love to know if there were!

Side note - I have heard of and know folks who have used hypnosis to overcome their stage fright and whilst I have no direct personal experience, I have heard only good things about it! However, because I don’t have any experience, I cannot advise either way on this topic.

Now, this whole show is a huge experiment of how using psychological tools can help you to overcome problems. And it is a fascinating social experiment of how powerful and willing the human mind ACTUALLY is when presented with “facts”. But what if I took this idea, removed the placebo and reframed it for us all to use?

What if we just gave ourselves permission to feel confident? 

I’m serious! What if you decided one day that you were not going to allow your stage fright to take centre stage any more? What if you allowed confidence to take it's place instead? What would happen?

And I know that all sorts of negative scenarios are running through your mind right now - giving up the fear is frightening in itself sometimes! But stay with me for a minute.

If you are in a space where you can stop what you are doing, I invite you to just stop, sit down and take a deep breath.

Quiet your mind and let yourself imagine for a moment.

Imagine you are standing on a stage, and allow yourself to really feel comfortable in that space. Take a minute and settle there, feel the space around you.

Now in your mind's eye, see yourself in this place, singing out loud with complete confidence. Focus on that confidence you feel. You’re in a comfortable space that you can settle into, and it’s safe so you can sing out loud.

Really dial into that confidence you are feeling right now. Let the confidence come alive in your body as you sing.

Allow yourself to really feel that aliveness, that confidence in your body and mind.

Notice that confidence growing as you see yourself sing out more and more.

Dial into those feelings and allow that aliveness, that confidence to wash over you. Enjoy the feeling, it's natural!

And as this starts to recede, you can come back to your present surroundings, still feeling that confidence in your mind and body.

Welcome back! I hope that was a really pleasant experience to have in your day.

And I’m sorry, not sorry, but I can be a little bit tricksy like Derren Brown…

In getting you to imagine yourself singing confidently, you allowed a tiny bit of permission to sneak through.

You gave yourself permission to be confident when you sing. Even more than that, you actually allowed the confidence to diffuse through your mind and body, so your mind will remember that feeling next time you go to sing.

You will find that you’ll have that extra bit of confidence backing you up and taking the place of some of that fear. And every time you try this visualisation, you invite and allow more confidence into your performance.

Because yes, it’s very real, and yes, it’s very true.

This is a tool I LOVE to use with my students, you may have heard it called “Mental Rehearsal”. We create a safe space together, and by using similar imagery like you tried above, we invite your confidence to shine through and help you to get past that fear. And the more intensely you see and feel the confidence in your mind and body, the more you invite the confidence in, allowing it to stick around and support you in the future.

It has worked for EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of my students who has committed to it, and it will work for you, too.

I invite you to try it for yourself! You can put yourself into any scenario and envision the confidence in it, but the key is to allow yourself to feel it as well as see it. I think you’ll be surprised at how much it works!

If you want to take a deeper dive into this, comment below or send me an email, and I’ll send you a free resource to try out. Otherwise, I wish you happy visualising!

P.S. If you watched the Derren Brown video and it blew your mind - you are not alone! I had to watch it again afterwards to notice all the little things you just don’t see the first time round. Psychology is fascinating, and I find Derren Brown’s methods endlessly intriguing!

DISCLAIMER: I do not own the linked video, content or concept discussed, all rights remain with the legal owner. Quote taken from the linked video at 38:30.