Can Hypnosis Help My Child and Do They Make Good Subjects for Hypnotists?
by Erika Slater
Can and should hypnosis be used to help children overcome challenges?
Cutting to the chase the answer is yes… but it depends on the age and circumstances. This article will explore the “depends” in more depth.
The question of “can hypnosis help my child” often arises when it comes to treating mental health issues (improving concentration, anxiety, phobias, behavioral management issues, etc.) in children.
Furthermore, many ask, “What is the ‘best age’ to start treating children using hypnosis?” Since hypnosis is not a mind-altering drug or pharmaceutical treatment, say in the same light as an anti-depressant, should the same principles and cautions be used for treating children using hypnosis as they’d be for treating children with depression or OCD using drugs?
This is where the debate, argument and disagreement are often times drawn around what is the ‘proper age’ for using hypnosis as a treatment for children, and will it even work?
The answers may surprise you…
THE CHALLENGES AND BENEFITS OF CHILDREN AS HYPNOSIS SUBJECTS:
I personally have seen teenagers in my own practice from age 15 and up. At this age, they have the capability and mental capacity to react same as adults to hypnosis.
This is both good and bad as by this age some have begun to lose their natural creative and discovery outlook, and this can stifle their imagination and ability to unlock their unconscious mind.
NOTE: The reason for this loss in both teenagers and adults is a topic to explore in another article but isn’t solely because of our education focus on tests and learning facts.
Though debatable among hypnotists some have had success with kids from as young as age 6 and up to early adolescence.
When it comes to treating children using hypnosis, it often times depends on the child, the reason hypnosis is being used, and of course how receptive both the subject (child) and their parent(s) are to accepting hypnosis as a viable treatment.
As importantly and as mentioned above, it also matters how knowledgeable and skilled the practitioner is with implementing hypnosis with children. Of course, this applies to any and all clients who receive hypnosis, but it’s likelier to be challenging when children are the recipients of hypnosis.
Perhaps the greatest obstacle for using hypnosis with children is their attention span!
It’s no secret younger children have shorter attention spans, with their thoughts and focus squirreling all over the place. This can make using hypnosis challenging, as the child may not be grounded long enough for the practitioner to tap into the child’s unconscious mind and plant positive suggestions or post-hypnotic cues.
Many hypnotherapists employ relaxation techniques to relax patients prior to using hypnosis and this is doubly important for young kids. But the relaxation isn’t just for “quietening the body” but also for “quietening the mind.” Getting kids to this level of relaxation is a skill.
Trying to get kids to sit still and relax is tough as they’re basically done before hypnosis is even started, and hypnosis for treating children with ADD or ADHD is particularly challenging.
Kids love stories and hypnotists who work with kids are usually natural storytellers or have learnt the art.
The famous hypnotherapist Milton Erickson relied heavily on metaphors and storytelling to capture the attention and imagination of patients he was putting into a trance state using hypnosis. He found when you told individuals a story they could relate to what was embedded with metaphors and catch phrases, their unconscious minds were more receptive to it.
Furthermore, for this type of hypnosis to work, individuals had to be able to think abstractly or imaginatively.
While the great psychologist Jean Piaget, who created the protocol for determining how humans develop and think, found individuals don’t usually master abstract logic and metaphorical thinking until they’re into their mid-adolescence, it’s not necessary for young children to benefit from hypnosis to have reached this level of metaphorical abstractness – their imagination compensates even if they don’t translate all the metaphors.
As you can see there are unique challenges in using hypnosis on children but also they offer benefits and the task is to find the right hypnotist to help your child.
HOW TO GET HYPNOSIS HELP FOR YOUR CHILD:
If your child is in the age group 6 -years old and up to early teens then I’d recommend you find a hypnotist with a proven track record or one that specializes in working with young children and adolescences.
A hypnotist skilled in storytelling and being able to communicate with young children can tap into their unconscious minds to provide suggestions for helping the challenge to overcome with the child.
A trained professional hypnotist in dealing with children will understand the level of abstractness the child can be expected to reach in the stories being told and adjust for the individual child.
Parents should be in attendance at all times but also remain in the background to let the hypnotist and child form the connection and the work to be done uninterrupted. Many hypnotists offer sessions online these days, and this could be particularly beneficial if you live in a remote area or the hypnotist with the skills you need is not within travelling distance.
If the hypnotist is a good storyteller and can engage your child at a level that interests them, then their unconscious mind will be open to hypnosis, suggestions and post-hypnotic cues.
Just as medical doctors specialize – some go into pediatrics and others cover general medicine for adult families – you’ll find professional hypnotists specialize as well in age ranges, and you should be able to find a local hypnotist that has experience dealing with children in your child’s age group. If this proves an issue then ask for a referral. If you want to consider working directly with me through my online and in-office sessions then check out my Hypnosis Services or if you’ve a specific need then contact me here.
An alternative to seeing a hypnotist is looking into self-hypnosis sessions developed specifically for children. This allows you to review the session yourself before letting your child listen to it. One such series of self-hypnosis programs for kids has been developed and is available for your review here >>>
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO CAN HYPNOSIS HELP MY CHILD:
Erika Slater CH
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