The idea of hypnosis for children might make you do a double-take at first, but unlike adults, children are very open to the hypnotic process. Their vivid imaginations and sense of play are natural complements to the hypnotic process. Additionally, children are open to new things and don’t have some of the fears and misconceptions that may make adults think twice about seeking out a hypnotist.
The history of pediatric hypnosis begins in 1779, when Anton Mesmer reportedly used hypnosis to help a child with visual problems. For decades afterwards, however, hypnosis was rarely practiced with children, because people thought that children could not be hypnotized. Research in the 1970s suggested that children were actually easier to hypnotize than adults, and also suggested that hypnosis was effective in helping children overcome behavioral and physical problems.
Modern hypnosis for children can help with a variety of problems, including nightmares/night terrors, enuresis (bedwetting), swallowing problems, trichotillomania (hair-pulling), food aversions, fear/phobia responses (I’ve helped cheerleaders get over short-term fears associated with certain routines), anxiety and stress, academic and athletic excellence, migraines, chronic pain and more easily going through medical procedures (pill-swallowing, injections, etc.).
I helped one young girl who was having nightmares every night by helping her build a “magic wand” that, for her, made the nightmares stop completely. We filled the hollow wand with items symbolic of safety, magic, family and pets. My favorite item was a birthday candle, with its implicit symbolism of wishes coming true! As we constructed the wand she became completely invested in the process and has been free of nightmares ever since.
If there is one thing that kids consistently dislike, it’s getting an injection. Most hypnotists can hypnotize your child to have a “magic spot,” which is a small area of anesthesia on their arm. The magic spot takes the hurt out of getting a shot. This can also help prevent needle phobias when your kids grow up.
Here is a trick for parents: when your child is completely caught up in a movie or video game (so intent that you have to call their name more than once to catch their attention), they are actually in a hypnotic trance state. So it’s a perfect time give them a positive hypnotic suggestion such as, “You’ll really want to do your homework tonight,” or “You will want to clean your room after this.” This suggestion will sail past their conscious awareness and straight into their subconscious. I have a friend who gave the “clean your room” suggestion to her two sons, and although one of them turned and said, “Mom, you’re weird,” both boys cleaned their room later in the evening! Sweeten your suggestions with words like easy, fun, and happy.
Is your child struggling? Visit www.danperezhypno.com to find out more about how hypnosis can help! Or call 800-481-5949 for a confidential 20-minute phone consultation!