I’m often asked if children can benefit from hypnosis. The answer is a resounding yes. In fact, prior to the age of seven, children are in a constant state of hypnosis and absorb everything around them. They are watching and learning from their family and environment– just about everything they come in contact with. Their minds absorb like sponges and they are very creative and emotional. Children can be hypnotized as early as two or three years of age. At this age, the hypnotherapist has to be very creative in their approach.
I find that children ages five and older respond best. Because of it’s reliance on imagination and playfulness, hypnosis can be an especially effective way to help kids. Some of the wide range of issues with which hypnosis can assist children are anxiety, depression, nail biting, bedwetting, behavior issues, test-taking, confidence, sports performance, night terrors, fears and phobias. As a medical hypnotherapist I find it can be very helpful for medical conditions.
Carolyn Myss, the author of Why People Don’t Heal, and How They Can tells a story of a young man of 12 years old who had a brain tumor. He would play a game in his head where he would imagine himself to be Luke Skywalker flying his X-wing Starfighter and just like he destroyed the Death Star behind it’s controls he would continually imagine shooting at the tumor in his head. One day he came into the kitchen and told his mother it was gone. She asked, “What’s gone?” He replied, “The tumor, it’s gone. I just obliterated it!” Interestingly enough, a week later when he went to the doctor and they performed a CAT scan there was no sign of a tumor. We’ve talked in the past of how the body can be very much like a robot when we engage the mind. This young man, through his imagination, was doing self hypnosis to heal his body.
Allow me to share another example: In the hypnosis world we are hearing more about PANDAS Syndrome in children. When children are diagnosed with strep throat, a simple round of antibiotics will usually clear it up, but in a small number , about 1 and 200, the infection triggers strange behavior changes known as PANDAS syndrome. With PANDAS, your child may seem to turn into a different person overnight, becoming moody, anxious, aggressive, obsessive compulsive behaviors, and dealing with body movements they can’t control, but once your child is diagnosed with PANDAS and starts a specifically designed treatment, it’s likely they will make a full recovery. Physicians aren’t sure why some children get PANDAS, but it appears to be and autoimmune disorder. That’s when an infection causes your immune system to attach your body’s healthy cells. With PANDAS those cells are in the brain. The treatment is conducted by an experienced multi-disciplinary team of specialists. Cognitive therapy along with hypnotherapy can be of great help with the symptoms and recovery.
We will look at some other ways hypnosis, and hypnosis methods can be helpful to children this month. Until next time be sure and have a beautiful day!