Can Hypnosis Help My Child?
by Suzanne Sears RN, ACCH
“What is hypnosis, really?”
Hypnosis can be defined as a mental state of altered awareness during which the subconscious mind is more open and receptive to suggestions. Hypnosis is induced by a procedure known as hypnotic induction which is a series of instructions and suggestions made to bypass the “critical factor” or conscious mind. The “critical factor” is that part of the mind that analyzes new information and compares it to past information and/or beliefs and decides to accept or reject the new information. This is much like the “hard drive” on your computer that rejects a new file name if there is already a file by than name.
The subconscious mind considers itself the “protector” of your emotional, mental and physical well-being and thinks it is doing what is best for you even if the behavior concerned is really not in your best interest. For example, people may smoke tobacco or overeat due to security issues in childhood, but the subconscious mind can be convinced to change these behaviors through the process of hypnosis.
“Can my child be hypnotized?”
Children are generally excellent subjects for hypnosis because they have active imaginations and their “critical factor” is less well developed. In fact, recent studies on the brains of teen-agers suggest that the “critical factor’ is really not well developed until the early twenties. Because the “critical factor” is less well-developed in children, the subconscious mind can be more easily convinced to change beliefs and behaviors that keep the child from living a healthy and happy life. The goal of hypnosis is to give the subconscious mind positive suggestions that are in line with the goals of the client in order to create progress and improvement in the child’s life.
“Can my child’s mind be controlled by the hypnotist?”
Because the hypnotist is working with your child’s subconscious mind (which is his/her
protector), your child cannot be made to do, think or believe anything that runs counter
to the child’s core beliefs or values. Your child would just block out such suggestions or
come out of hypnosis. No one can be hypnotized without his/her permission and participation.
“Can my child get stuck in hypnosis and not wake up?”
No. Hypnosis is very much like daydreaming or being absorbed in a video game, T-V, movie or book so there is nothing mysterious or spooky about it. Children are very close to being in a trance state much of the time because of their imaginations, so hypnosis is more natural to them than it is to adults. A child in hypnosis will always “wake-up” when asked to do just like he/she can be convinced to stop playing a video game.
“ What if my child does not want to change his behavior or thinks that hypnosis won’t
really help him/her? “
First of all, in order to help a child (or anyone) change behavior that may not be in their
best interest, one has to understand the motivation for the behavior. Behaviors can
be motivated by such things as need for attention, need for control or even revenge. If
a child says he/she does not want to change or give up undesirable behaviors, the
child may really be saying “I don’t think I can change or succeed.” A way to determine
if this is how the child feels is to ask, “ If I had a magic button that you could push that
would instantly allow you to do better at ____________________would you push the
button?” If the child says “yes”, then it would appear that the issue is not the lack of
motivation, but rather that the child believes the/she cannot change.
“Can I be with my child during the hypnosis session?”
If your child is comfortable having a parent in the room during hypnosis, it is entirely
appropriate for the parent to be present. However, the parent does not participate in the
actual hypnosis session once the initial intake information has been completed and goals have been developed for the child’s program.
“How can I help my child be successful with his/her hypnosis program?”
It is VERY important for parents to encourage their child who is trying to change
behaviors through hypnosis. Families can develop their own system of rewards and
encouragement that will be most meaningful for the child, but rewards need to be of value to the child and given consistently for improvements and successes. Parents may be given “homework” to do between hypnosis sessions that involves reinforcement and
encouragement of the child.
“How can hypnosis help my child?”
Hypnosis can help give children the tools they need to be successful in controlling or conquering many issues that keep them from being healthy and happy such as:
Anxiety/fear/stress Pain management/needle phobia
Bad habits or obsessions Relationship problems
Behavior and attitude problems Self-esteem and self-confidence issues
Coping with medical problems and illness School and sports success
Issues involved in surgery or trauma Sleep disturbances/nightmares
Enuresis (bedwetting) Stuttering
Grief/loss/depression Substance abuse
Handling bullies/ dealing with gossip Test anxiety.
At Healthy Changes Hypnosis, we often use toys, Harry the Hypno-potamus stories, stuffed animals and fun activities along with hypnosis to help children feel safe and understood, so they will trust us to help them to make the changes they need to accomplish to help them be more successful and happy.
Suzanne Sears RN, BSN, MS, Advanced Certified Hypnotist, Certified HypnoFertility Theripst, Certified in Complementary Medical Hypnosis, HealthyChangesHypnosis.com 713-932-0403.