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Hypnosis With Children

Welcome back to another edition of hypnosis news. My name is Amber and today we're talking about children. Did you know children live hypnotically even more so than adults. In prior post (add links) we've talked about hypnosis as a natural state. What we haven't talked about it how the unconscious exists before the conscious mind fully develops.

The Joy Of Children

Children are a joy due to their curiosity, excitement, and their perception of the world. They are constantly developing both physiologically and psychologically. They live in a wonderful world of discovery and imagination. One, that as adults, we often wish we could go back to. Children live in a creative and imaginative trance-like state. (Sugarman and Wester 2014)

Children are just about always ready to seek out help to move forward from a problem. Usually, the only time a child is resistant or cautious of help is after trauma or distrust has formed. They want to learn new skills that will help them resolve the problem. More importantly, in most cases, children do not come to hypnosis with the same baggage of myths and misconceptions as adults. They come with curiosity and excitement to try something new.

Sessions With Children

Of course, the parents have to be on board before hypnosis is possible. They need to have their questions answered and they have to know that they can trust the hypnotist with their child. In addition, the hypnotist is constantly confronted with determining not only the most effective strategy, but also the interventions that they child can understand based on their level of development. We also have to keep our language more in line with what the child will understand.

This is why distraction is one of the best ways to divert a child when they become upset. Think back to a time when your child was five or younger. Yelling often doesn’t help (I’d know, mine is currently that age). In fact, it may make it worse. Often, I have to distract her with something.

If she’s hurt I ask her if she’d like reiki hugs and kisses. She often takes the suggestion and feels a bit better if not miraculously cured. If she is upset, I may interrupt her with an absurd assumption of some sort, that gets her talking about something else. For example, one time she started crying about going to bed and I asked her what the monster under her bed could agree to do to protect her. After that we spent at least ten minutes talking about what the monster looked like and how much of a hero he could be to her.

Hypnosis For Everyone

It is relatively easy to move from a distraction to an induction during and emergency or when in a heightened emotional state. The examples above all use hypnotic techniques that I didn’t even realize I had until I was trained. We all do this to some extent with our children. We all have and employ these skills. Some of us are simply more naturally practiced in them.

With younger children modeling and story telling are the best methods for trance. The younger a child the less they understand abstract concepts. The more they understand imagination and fantasy. They love stories and they want to be a part of the story in some way. Whether its turning the page or pretending they are their favorite character.

With younger children hypnotist tend to use more interventions that invoke this sense of wonder and imagination. The hypnotist has to have a wonderful imagination themselves. This is why not all hypnotist take children as clients. Not ever adult can maintain that child like sense of wonder or, in the very least, access it.

The older a child becomes the more varied inductions a hypnotist can use on them. Some teens are amused by the idea of a confusion induction or in being hypnotized by the watch. Tools we don’t often use with adults because, quite frankly, they are hokey to most adults. As a child gets older we, in some ways have more options for intervention because they have more understanding of complex concepts.

Neither is impossible. But age differences do require different skills and techniques. Make sure your hypnotist is equipped for your needs if you seek help from a hypnotist.

What A Parent Does During A Session

If a child is older, it is often suggested that the parent wait outside. They do not have to, but it does facilitate the process. In younger children, it is completely understandable that parents would want to be in the room. Either way, we talk to the parents and the child before the session. We understand the parents goals, the child’s perceived goals and we figure out where we can meet in the middle between the two. This can be tricky if the parent and the child’s goals do not line up.

If the parent chooses to stay in the room during hypnosis we simply ask that they watch and listen. We ask that they not interfere with the session. A trained hypnotist knows what they are doing. They know how the intervention works. From language patterns to modalities, they do and say things very particularly for a reason. For example, we often use the world try in daily vernacular. But mentally this implies failure. In some interventions that is exactly what we need. In others, it could undo the work they’ve been doing.

Make it Fun

Children are a joy to work with, but so few people realize that we can even help children through hypnosis. Of course, the child has to want to change that behavior. We can’t force them to change any more than you can. Nor would we want to. It would only further strain the issue. But if we can make that connection, and they want to change, then we can help them.

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