In this article I talk about Hypnotherapy for children. Let me start by introducing Chloe. Chloe (not her real name) was 10 years old. She is charming, fun, and smart. Her parents are devoted parents who always think about their kids and spend a lot of time with them.
Chloe also had a not very well-kept secret. She was afraid of cats, dogs and virtually every animal you can think of. When I say afraid, I mean scared to death of them. A complete irrational phobia.
One day, as she did every day, she left home, to go around the corner to her friends’. From there, they would walk with her friends’ mum to school. 15 minutes after she left, Chloe’s mum received a call: where is Chloe? We are waiting for her.
You can imagine how Chloe’s mum felt. She run out of the home, called on doors, stopped people and the whole neighbourhood was searching for her. Luckily, after 15 minutes they found her crying and wandering around.
This is what happened, when Chloe had left her house, on the corner, she saw a cat. Just laying there, doing nothing. Her irrational fear took the best of her and she went into panic. She could not go too close to the cat, so she opted to change sides of the road, but with her mind in a complete panic state, she changed directions as well, lost her bearing, and panic grew even further. After a minute or so, she was in such a state she could not tell right from wrong or reality from imagination.
After this incidence is when Chloe’s parent contacted me to have a hypnotherapy session.
I can imagine many of you saying: what? Hypnotherapy for children? What is this all about?
I can also imagine some others thinking: hmmm, now that I think about it, maybe it’s a good idea.
Before I go any further, I want to clarify something. Different to other articles, this time I am not sharing techniques that you can use. Of course, you can get the ideas and learning, and I’d be happy if you so. But Hypnotherapy requires training.
You may ask, “How can hypnotherapy for children help my child”
My reason to write this article is not to sell what I do or my success. My reason is to help you decide on what is the right approach to help your child. I believe that the more honest information you have, the better you will be able to decide and the more sucessful a parent you will be. Like me, you will find many great practitioners and I want you to be able to select the one that will help you and your child the best.
With this in mind, let me tell you more about hypnotherapy for children so, if you need to, you can make a call.
As you might know, I am a life coach specialised in working with children. In my life-coaching I use specially adapted techniques and approaches from Neuro Linguistic Programming and they are fantastic. Just like for adults, CEO’s or fashion designers, this tailored approach works fantastically well for children giving them, and their parents, understanding and strategies.
I have been doing this job for almost 10 years and absolutely love it.
However, a few years ago I was concerned. In some cases, I was just not seeing the difference that the children and parents needed. Or at least, I wasn’t seeing as fast as I expected. In a particular case, I felt the client was feeling frustrated with the outcome. That’s when I started to look for alternative ways to help my young people. Eventually I came across Marisa Peer and Rapid Transformational Therapy.
If I say that doing this training changed my life and that of so many of my clients, it will be totally accurate.
But let’s start with some principles that are important for you to understand about hypnotherapy for children or hypnotherapy for teenagers.
- I will only see children over 5 or 6 years of age.
- Hypnotherapy is not a substitute or shortcut for day to day parenting.
- There is no one size fits all: The hypnotherapy approach for children varies massively by the different age groups, the topic to resolve and their maturity.
Secondly, let’s clarify a few important points.
Hypnotherapy is basically the power of suggestion or, better said, the power of self-suggestion. As simple as that. No dark magic, no messing with the head or anything like that. What hypnotherapy does is to build a vision of how the young person wants to live their life, free of worries or bad habits.
There is no side effect of hypnosis. none, zero, nada.
Hypnosis works by reaching to our less rational mind, our subconscious. In hypnosis we leave our thoughts and connect with our feelings. Children, and especially young children’s brain haven’t developed the rational part, so they are constantly using the more emotional side of their brain. Basically they are in constant hypnosis (as a way of explaining). Hypnotherapy for Children (under 10yo) is as simple as telling them a story that links into what they and their parents want to achieve. As well as they react to story telling, they can react to hypnosis , we just do it more efficiently as we use repetition and a tiny bit of trance.
Will Hypnotherapy for children help Teenagers?
For teenagers, in my experience, the hardest thing is for them to want to want to change something as that implies accepting their role in whatever is happening and facing some difficult emotions. Most teenagers, especially those experiencing very difficult situations, will blame everything under the sun but themselves as a way of avoiding facing those feelings.
And finally, but most importantly: hypnotherapy cannot make anybody do anything they don’t want to. There has to be a desire to change before anything can happen.
I hope the brief points above help to clarify some confusion about hypnotherapy
So, now, to explain how and why hypnotherapy for children works so well
The first thing is to separate children into three groups. My personal groups are: 5-8, 9-10, 10 and older.
I create this separation based on my experience of their maturity and how they respond to working with an adult.
For children between 5 and 8 years old
As mentioned above, hypnosis is as simple as story telling. In this story we make them the primary character. They also find a support character. For girls they could chose Fairies, for boys, they might want a cartoon character or a person they respect. I am always mindful of talking with parents and ensuring that person is acceptable to them as a role model. We then create a story in which they feel empowered to do something, or connected with friends or whatever they want to achieve. Finally, we can then extrapolate those feelings and success to their day to day situation. My very young clients only need one session. Recently I have helped a young girl get rid of her night terrors and a boy get a full head of hair after being bold for over a year. The power of self-suggestion.
For children over ten years old
I follow a two steps approach. Firstly, it is important for them to feel comfortable with the person, so we spend maybe one or two sessions getting to know each other. We talk, play games and I explain the fantastic power of their mind. I share with them some suggestibility games so they can see the effects that sending certain instructions to the brain have on them. It never fails to generate laughter. At the same time, I do what we call “set them up for success”. Many children come to me thinking something is broken, and my first goal is to make them doubt that idea. Help them think: well, if that boy or girl managed to resolve this situation, maybe, just maybe I have a chance.
Once they are comfortable, we can do the session.
In the session, we help the find the root cause of what is happening to them. In hypnotherapy for children, we explore the events, causes or memories that created certain belief in their mind. When in hypnosis we cannot avoid being honest with ourselves. In coaching, many young clients deflect, ignore or openly lie to my questions. I don’t mind as it is not personal, it is only a sign that they can’t face those emotions. In hypnosis, they want to resolve them, they don’t deflect.
Once we have found that core reason, we can then resolve it and empower them to feel great, feel resilience, express their confidence, show their resilience, or whatever they want to achieve. We then create a personalised recording that helps them repeat those great feelings over and over again, until they become second nature to them. The type of the recording depends again on their age and maturity. Some children can take a more adult-like recording others will still love their story telling.
So, how does this all look? Let me give you a summary of what happened in Chloe’s session.
Firstly, while in hypnosis, she could easily point to a birthday party when she was five or six years old. The birthday girl had a new puppy and all the girls were so excited to see and cuddle him. As you can imagine, a young puppy surrounded by screaming girls will quickly become very afraid. What is that the puppy did: bark. That bark took Chloe by surprise and scared her. In that moment, she created the belief that pets are not trustworthy and they can hurt you. As she was exposed to more pets in her daily life, the belief grew in her mind to the proportions already shared.
In the recording, her fairy godmother (that’d be me making a funny voice) gave her the power to understand and listen to the cats and dogs. She could look at dogs (cats, guinea pigs, whatever) and assess if they wanted to be left alone or they felt like a cuddle. She also had the power to respect them, giving them space, and they would respect her. We then did some visualisation rehearsal, all in hypnosis, and she decided how to go about those. Sometimes she chose to leave them in peace and create space between them. In others, she felt comfortable to get closer and even caress the dog or cat.
And that’s it for hypnotherapy for children, the young person listens to the recording consolidating those ideas and visual images they have. As they repeat the listening, it becomes part of them.
There is only one downside to this story. Chloe’s parents have now the dilemma of what dog they will get for the family, as she has done so well (with friends, in the park, etc) around pets, that she is adamant they need a dog in the house.
I can’t thank Marisa Peer enough on my behalf and on behalf of my clients… in fact, also on behalf of my own daughters and they had sessions and have helped them massively.
I hope this article helps you understand more about hypnosis in children. I have hundreds of cases to share, but I think the ones I mentioned are clear enough.
Please feel free to ask me any question. I would be happy to help you find the right solution for you and your child.