Children are great candidates for hypnosis. Their unconscious mind is wide open and therefore can take in any suggestions easily and openly. They have vivid imaginations, which makes it much easier for them to respond to hypnosis sessions, access their unconscious and bring about the desired change.
Hypnotherapy is generally suitable for children aged 5 years and up.
When using hypnotherapy for children it is often not necessary to explain in detail to children about “hypnosis”. It may simply be explained that they will be having a really relaxed and quiet time in which they use their imaginations to resolve their problems. It is important that the child would like to change the problem behaviour or issue themselves.
Whilst treating a particular childhood problem, the therapist is often able to introduce other positive affirmations to the child. For example, being more relaxed, having more energy, feeling confident, feeling happy, liking themselves better, remembering more easily or reading faster. Children are very suggestible and respond well to these types of therapy. During our hypnotherapy for children programe, a parent (or guardian) is present at all times during each consultation.
One of the reasons that hypnotherapy for children can be such a good choice is that children make good use of their imaginations. Their therapist will have little difficulty in using this ability to help your child deal with the issue that is troubling them. The treatment might include using stories, adventures, meeting a hero or even character from a favourite TV programe who advises you what to do, and these are all ideas that are easily accepted by young children. Even an older child can often be open to using their imagination, but as they are already more sophisticated in their thinking, we would format their treatment accordingly.
When we are using hypnotherapy for children we often find that participation of the parent in this therapeutic process is important. A parent’s anxiety about a particular behaviour can often make change more difficult for the child.
Our paediatric hypnotherapist is CRB cleared and has special paediatric training, which is important when using hypnotherapy for children.
Children dealing with “life”
Children have to deal with change, loss, bullying, violence, criticism, low self-esteem, and their own bodies as they move through rapid growth periods over short periods of time. There are many tasks they have to overcome like making new friends, handling bullies, unfamiliar school work, education, sport and all this time trying to “belong”. Sometimes the comparison to others can make feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem or even depression rise to the surface.
Children, just like adults, show their reaction to stress, change, violence, low self-esteem, grief and loss in many different ways. Their marks in school may begin to drop. The child may become forgetful, distracted, angry, irritable and even violent. They might become accident-prone or have headaches or an upset stomach.
They might start to bite nails or pull hair. Bed-wetting (enuresis) may start happening. Particular health problems like asthma and hay fever may become prevalent. Stammering may become more prominent.
A child may start to dislike school, perhaps having trouble with other pupils or teachers. They might become overly shy or worried about talking in front of the class, be unable to understand a subject or other incidences that cause them to have difficulties with their education.
Other fears that rise to the surface are a fear of the dark, the fear of going to sleep, fear of animals or insects, fear of travelling, a phobia of needles, doctors or dentists, fear of people, etc. The parents can offer support but often it doesn’t seem to change the situation.
Of course, adults have the same issues, the difference is that they have had them for a shorter period of time. Therefore, the use of hypnotherapy, which works with the use of the imagination, can be even more effective than it is in adults, as a way of changing these responses, provided that the problem is not rooted in the parents or other people who are closely related to the child’s upbringing.
How does hypnotherapy work with children?
In most children, the imagination of a child is very vivid and strong. It is only the interference of well-meaning adults that the child’s imagination soon gives way to believing only what one can see and touch.
By using the active imagination of the child during hypnotherapy, it is relatively easy to reach the subconscious levels of the mind in a child. Children respond incredibly well to stories, visualizations, imaginative games and other simple tools.
Children have a great thirst for knowledge, often driving their parents round the twist with their curiosity and incessant questioning. At every opportunity, they hunger for new learning. They enjoy responding to new ideas that are presented to them in a way that they can understand. Their openness makes them especially good subjects for hypnotherapy. During hypnotherapy, they become relaxed and focused easily, and are happy to take on ideas that will help them to deal with any problems they are facing, and thus they can make changes more easily.
The paediatric hypnotherapist at the institute, Paul White, has helped many children increase their confidence, start to do their homework, go to school, and even improve their marks at school. He has also helped them with many other problems, like thumb sucking, bed wetting, nightmares, stealing, anger, aggression, and low self-esteem, separation anxiety, bereavement, food related problems and many other issues.
It is important for the child to feel comfortable with the hypnotherapist and that the hypnotherapist specializes in children.
Children smiling. The first session should involve the child, parent or parents and the hypnotherapist. It is a time for establishing some trust, and for the therapist and child to identify what the problem is and how they are going to approach and deal with the problem. Just as with adults, it is important that the child wants to make the change and is prepared to work with the hypnotherapist. Parents and child should understand what hypnotherapy is and what it can do.
During the therapy, the hypnotherapist will use simple methods that might include things such as stories, visualization, pretending, hero and media characters, and other imagination tools, often based on the child’s interests as revealed in the initial session.
After the session, the hypnotherapist will spend a few minutes with the parents to give them a brief overview of the session. During this time the hypnotherapist makes suggestions to the parent(s) which will support the work the child is doing.