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A phobia expert from Elgin has helped a woman conquer crippling self-doubt to star in a prime time BBC reality show.

Millions watched when Franny Treymaine, a confirmed city dweller from Leeds, featured in the popular dating show Love in the Countryside, which helps farmers find romance.

In the run-up to filming the 37-year-old had sought help from Keith Blackmore-Noble (sic), who is known as The Confidence Alchemist.

Keith said: “When Franny started working with me there were some real nerves and confidence issues, but the coaching has made a massive difference. Because of the sessions Franny was able to really go through the whole show holding her head up high. Despite being kicked by a cow during early morning milking and facing the scrutiny of farmer Pete’s friends and family, she dealt with the experience so well. I was really proud of her.”

Keith has also come a long way from the “painfully shy” schoolboy who once attended Speyside High.

The 52-year-old recalls: “I originally chose a career in IT because you don’t have to interact socially with computers. That’s how shy I used to be. I ended up moving down to London and working in the IT sector for many years. Then finally, in 2010, the best thing ever happened to me. One day I was called into an office and my boss said, ‘Sorry Keith, we’re going to have to make you redundant. Here’s a good wodge of cash’ It left me suddenly free to have a go at what I should have been doing all along.”

By this stage Keith had already undertaken several training courses to learn hypnotherapy. In addition, he had also begun studying a related technique called neuro linguistic programming, which is like hypnotism except it doesn’t involve putting people in a trance.

Because of the sessions Franny was able to really go through the whole show holding her head up high

He says: “The first day the other student I’d been paired with said, ‘you’re really good at this’ – I just presumed that they were being polite so I replied, ‘thank-you, so are you’ But then, as time went on, all these different people kept saying similar things. It’s then that I began to realise I might have a talent.”

Keith’s work now involves talking to his clients either online or face-to-face, and dispensing advice on his website.

He says: “Spiders, snakes, flying, dogs, dentists, it doesn’t matter what – I help people overcome their fears. So many of our attitudes and instinctive reactions have been shaped by our experiences as very young children and the things we observed.

“For example, our parents warned us never talk to strangers. That’s good and useful advise when you’re aged seven, but once you become an adult it’s no longer very helpful. Shyness can be the result of never moving past that. My work is replacing the bad and defensive emotions we feel in certain situations, with good and positive ones.”

This was originally published in The Northern Scot on 29th June 2018, by reporter Alistair Whitfield (

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