How hypnotherapy can help children
Sometimes I’m asked if I use hypnotherapy for children. "Yes and no" is always my answer. I do, but I always ensure the child wants help.
I know an adult whose mum, with good intentions, took him for counselling as a child. The child did not feel the positive intentions. Instead, they felt a problem with their family. They report that the counsellor said the problem lay with the parents and, therefore, the counselling sessions didn’t help much.
When the therapist understands your child’s feelings, they can use hypnotherapy to help the child find their inner wisdom.
This is a story told by an adult from a child’s perspective. None of us know what the real feelings were in the minds of the adults at the time. What we know is how that child feels about it today as an adult. I try to ensure I am not complicit in indirectly causing a child to feel more discomfort than they already do, by agreeing to therapy sessions that they do not want or feel they need.
What is hypnotherapy for children?
Child hypnotherapy is the same as adult hypnotherapy, albeit geared towards the child. There is more imagery and storytelling, and my sessions are half the length.
Typically, children find it far easier to access their imagination than adults. Using their imagination as a tool makes hypnosis with children easy to achieve. Children often provide their own solutions as they tell stories of their imaginary adventures. For example, a child I worked with for bedwetting created their own superpower with the name "Pee Pee Power". They drew a detailed picture of the Pee Pee Power man, which they stuck on the wall beside their bed. We worked together and made Pee Pee Power the main character in their therapy sessions.
It is possible to use sleep hypnosis for children. However, as per the above, it is important to me, personally, that this comes from the child, not the parent. Many parents feel exhausted, and sleep deprived. Society tells us children should sleep consistently from bedtime to morning without waking. Naturally, few of us do this, and many children appear to rather than do.
I subscribe to the belief that human animals need connection with others. We spend our early adult life looking for a life partner, that we (generally) sleep alongside, yet we expect children to happily sleep alone. Hypnotherapy is a tool to reconnect with your body and natural instincts, not suppress them. Some children find it difficult to sleep alone and wish to, so they can attend school residentials or sleepovers with friends. If your child asks for help, hypnotherapy might be the answer.
Hypnotherapy for child anxiety
There is an increase in anxiety in our society. The demands of educators and social media add to this. Hypnotherapy for child anxiety is incredibly useful, whether your child is ten or sixteen. Hypnotherapy sessions will give your child space to talk through any problems they have. Most parents feel an innate need to fix their children’s world. When they share a problem, we feel a strong desire to make it right. Sometimes this comes out and unfortunately negates our children’s feelings.
When your child has hypnosis for child anxiety, the therapist is not emotionally connected to your child in the same way as you. They do not feel they must fix the problem, so can listen without discomfort. When the therapist understands your child’s feelings, they can use hypnotherapy to help the child find their inner wisdom. They can also provide your child with a toolbox of techniques to use at home.
What to expect
Child hypnosis therapy is also useful in one-off situations, for example, school exams, driving tests, habits or fears, and phobias. Your child might just need one or two sessions to help. Younger children might feel confused about the expectations. I always recommend using a guided meditation with your child at home prior to their session, so they have an idea of what will happen in the session. Older children might feel uncomfortable in a different way, so some discussions with the therapist beforehand will help your child make an informed decision about whether they want to try hypnotherapy.