Children's Health

Self-Hypnosis for Children

What is self-hypnosis?young boy eyes closed

Self-hypnosis is a state of focused absorption which involves using imagination. After people learn about self-hypnosis, they realize that they have been in hypnotic states many times in their life. Children are often in this state when they make-believe, daydream, listen intently to stories and play video games.  Adults may experience hypnotic states when deeply focused deep in prayer or on a specific task.

People in hypnosis often feel relaxed, peaceful and detached from extraneous worries. Concentration is enhanced and distractions ignored. Imagination is more intense. In self-hypnosis we can better imagine sensations: sights, sounds, smells, touch. There is increased control of the body. Blinking slows or may stop. Breathing slows and deepens. Blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature and muscle tone can all be controlled. Some call this a trance or a state of comfort and increased self-control.

What is hypnotherapy?

When a trained therapist uses hypnosis as part of treatment, it is called hypnotherapy or the use of guided, focused imagery in a trance to strengthen self-control over physical and emotional problems.

The process of hypnotherapy depends on your child's symptoms and beliefs.  There is an initial visit to understand the problem, especially from the youngster's viewpoint and at later visits, your daughter or son will learn his or her own method for self-hypnosis and how to use their self-hypnosis skills on their own.

How will hypnotherapy help my child?

Hypnotherapy has been successfully used to treat acute and recurrent pain, asthma, bed-wetting, stool withholding, habit problems, nervous tics, anxiety, fears and other problems. Presently, self-hypnosis is among the most effective therapies for childhood migraine headaches. The value of hypnotherapy, however, goes beyond its ability to help with these ailments. A child's personal success in self-hypnosis boosts their confidence and mastery. Young people learn to use this technique to cope with new challenges and stresses they may experience. Self-hypnosis grows easier with practice. It is like learning to play a musical instrument in time the musician develops skill, creativity and the ability to play an increasingly variety of music.

What are parents' roles in hypnotherapy?

The primary task for parents is to ask questions, understand and then support the process. If your youngster can read this information, read it with him or her and write down your questions together. Younger children might better understand terms like "using your mind" or "make-believe" instead of hypnosis or hypnotherapy.

We will also need your help to understand these things:

  1. How the problem affects your child's life
  2. All that you have done so far to help
  3. Your own fears and worries about your child's problem. This is important because your anxiety is infectious. Your child will pick up on your feelings and feel them too.

Is there anything else I should know about hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a tool like medications, exercise and diet. Although it has no adverse side effects, it can be used inappropriately. For example, we would not recommend the use of hypnotherapy to first treat headaches due to a brain tumor, the pain of appendicitis or a child's fears while being abused.

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