SINGER Kristina Stazaker used a new type of scientific therapy which helped her overcome crippling stage fright in just ninety minutes.

The fear of performing got so bad it was stopping her from achieving her dream of performing solo on stage - but counsellor Claire Gaskin explains it took just one session with Kristina using the new therapy to cure her.

Counsellor Claire used BrainWorking Recursive Therapy (BRWT), which was developed in 2013 and does not involve discussing private details, experiences or memories, instead taking a more scientific approach.

Kristina, from Southend, is a fundraising manager who works for the national mental health charity MIND.

She explains she was so debilitated by stage fright she gave up performing because it was leading to panic attacks and severe anxiety every time she prepared to go on.

The 33-year-old says : “I would feel absolutely petrified, with physical symptoms including shaking, feeling dizzy and breathless.

“If I did manage to get up on stage I would find I had completely forgotten the words to songs and the anxiety became so overwhelming that in the end I just gave up.”

Claire, from Westcliff, says just one session of the new therapy turned things around for Kristina who had started playing open mic nights at the age of 18 but been plagued by panic attacks before going on stage pretty much ever since.

An advanced psychotherapist at Benefit Therapy, Claire says BRWT can help people with anxiety and panic attacks.

She says: “The symptoms Kristina suffered are very typical of a panic attack.

“Sufferers feel powerless to stop the feelings and usually end up avoiding trigger situations completely.

“BWRT helps replace those symptoms, which are automatically activated by certain triggers, with responses which the person would prefer.

“Kristina wanted to feel relaxed, calm and confident before going on stage, instead of anxious and panicked.”

Following just one session, using the techniques to replace the negative feelings with those positive ones, Kristina has returned to the stage at an open mic night and performed some of her own folk songs.

“She was feeling so relaxed she even chatted to some of the members of the audience during the show,” adds Claire.

Kristina says: “The therapy really helped me, I don’t seem to get myself into the same panic as I did. I have realised that it’s not so bad as how I was imagining it to be”.

BWRT was created by Essex psychotherapist Terence Watts and is based on the work of a Nobel-Prize winning neuroscientist called Benjamin Libet.

Claire, who works with people across Essex, including in Harwich, Hatfield Peverel and Braintree, Southend and Basildon, and is also a clinical hypnotherapist, explains how it works.

“The brain’s primary function is our survival and it will automatically steer us away from something which, somewhere in the past, it learned is a threat.

“It forms neural pathways that will cause us to experience the fight/flight response whenever we are faced with the same thing in the future.

“This is why unwanted anxiety and panic attacks, and other phobias and fears, can be so hard to understand and even harder to overcome.

“We have no conscious control over how our neural pathways respond.

“BRWT is different to any other therapy because it works directly with those neural pathways, creating new pathways based on our preferred way of responding to old triggers."

Claire has been using the therapy, created just three years ago, for the past year but has been a qualified psychologist for almost 20.

A qualified youth worker she says she specialises in helping young people but has worked with those of all ages.

And it is not just panic attacks and stage fright the new approach has helped people overcome.

Claire says: “I have used BWRT to help people with clinical depression, anger, grief, binge-eating, bullying, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, guilt, jealousy, all kinds of anxiety, including generalised anxiety disorder and social anxiety, phobias, including arachnophobia.

“It can also be used to help people quit unwanted habits such as nail-biting and smoking.

“It especially appeals to people who don’t want hypnosis to quit smoking, and to pretty much everyone because it’s a content-free therapy, which means a person doesn’t have to disclose their private thoughts, secrets or difficult memories for the therapy to be successful - and it’s quick!”

It also can work online and Claire says she even helps clients via Skype and Facetime far from her Essex location.

“The furthest has been Australia, to help with grief over the loss of the lady’s mother.”

For more information on BrainWorking Recursive Therapy, visit Claire’s website