Hypnotherapy for Children
While hypnotherapy for adults is becoming a more main stream medical treatment and is now widely accepted by most medical practitioners, hypnotherapy for children is still in it’s infancy.
This is somewhat surprising given how easily and naturally children will enter a hypnotic state. You will have seen how your child enters an almost trance like state when watching a favourite TV show, playing on a computer, reading or simply day dreaming. An experienced hypnotherapist will simply guide your child into this natural relaxed state so that therapy can take place.
Hypnotherapy for children is a safe, relaxing and gentle therapy that can often produce results rapidly. Most children over the age of 7 will respond well to hypnotherapy and find it an enjoyable experience. Children’s imaginations are very powerful and in constant use, making them ideal candidates for hypnosis. They regularly imagine themselves as a superhero, fairy or princess, so harnessing this imagination is the key to successful hypnosis.
What happens during a hypnotherapy session?
There are no swinging watches or staring into my eyes. Instead I use stories and comical characters to harness your child’s imagination and guide them into a hypnotic state. Then, using a combination of guided day dreams, positive suggestion and repetition, the required therapy is introduced.
During a session I will talk directly with your child and encourage them to answer questions themselves. We will talk about the issue and how it effects them and about how they would like to feel and behave instead.
Of course it is very important that the child is fully informed and gives consent to the therapy. I take time to explain what hypnotherapy is and what will happen during our session, as well as answering your child’s questions and dispelling any myths. For younger children I encourage them to bring a favourite toy or comforter and these can often be incorporated into the stories.
Older children (age 9+) are normally quite happy to sit relaxed in a chair and close their eyes while I take them through a relaxation process. This process is similar to how I work with adults, but uses appropriate language and pace for this younger audience. Once relaxed I will start the therapy work, using stories and metaphors to ensure the information is understood and absorbed.
With younger children under (under 9) there is less obvious relaxation going on. They normally don’t close their eyes, but can still see, hear and feel the stories and respond to the positive suggestions. For this age group the process is more like a game of pretend where we can use magic spells to shrink problems and rainbow dust to instil confidence. This is the power of imagination in young children, where anything is possible. You will be amazed at how effective this process can be.
Although children are encouraged to relax and even day dream, they will not be asleep. I want them to be able to hear and respond to the positive suggestions.
After a session, you may find that your child does not want to discuss the therapy, or doesn’t appear to remember parts of it. This is completely normal. Children need some time to fully absorb the new information and to start acting upon it. It may be a few days after the session that you start to see a change in behaviour, or more likely that someone else such as a child’s teacher comments about the change.
What things can hypnosis help my child with?
So why would you want your child to see a hypnotherapist? Hypnotherapy can be a very successful way of helping your child with many emotional issues. I see children and teens coming to me for a broader range of problems all the time. These include:
- Improving confidence or body image
- Changing schools, making friends
- Dealing with anxiety and worries
- Removing habits such as nail biting and thumb sucking
- Addressing fears and phobias – water, swimming, dogs, needles, the dark, spiders
- Bed wetting and soiling
- Managing exam anxiety and sports performance anxiety
- Coping with divorce or death
- Addressing sleep problems – nightmares, night terrors, waking regularly, difficulty getting to sleep
Can I come to the session with my child?
Absolutely! I actively encourage a parent or carer to stay with their child, but to sit out of sight so as not to distract the child from the therapy. This way the parent will have a full understanding of what takes place during the session and can talk with their child about it, reinforcing some of the messages and suggestions.
Are there any risks?
No! Hypnotherapy, performed correctly poses no risk to your child. There are also no adverse side effects. Remember hypnotherapy is simply teaching your child that they have control over their mind and their actions. It is a very empowering therapy.
People are sometimes concerned that a hypnotherapist can make their child do something they don’t want to do. Although hypnosis is a powerful tool to encourage a change in behaviour it is not mind control! A Hypnotherapist cannot make a child change their behaviours if the child doesn’t want to. The child is always in control and chooses whether to take on board the suggestions and make the desired changes.
How long does hypnotherapy take to work?
Obviously this will depend on the problem being addressed, but in general hypnotherapy is designed to be a rapid, issue-focused therapy with lasting results. Most problems can be dealt with in 1-3 sessions.