How hypnotherapy works
For Older ChildrenIn older children (around age 10 and up) the process is very similar to that of adult hypnosis. I use hypnotic scripts, read in a calm yet engaging way, to enable the body to become relaxed and calm and the mind to move into a sort of day dream. This is a light state of hypnotic relaxation and it is something that children experience naturally, all the time in their everyday lives. In fact a child experiences this state every time they are waking up, going to sleep, or when they are "lost in thought" or absorbed in imaginary play. (We all know how many times we have to call our child's name to get them to stop what they're doing and pay us some attention!)
In this sort of state the unconscious mind is ready to listen to and accept the positive suggestions contained within the script and to use them to solve problems.
Older children generally really enjoy feeling relaxed and calm while I ask them to imagine positive, enjoyable scenarios in which they can pretend and "act out" suggestions that will improve their life.
If a child came to me looking to increase their self-esteem, I might ask them to imagine that their mind is like a special room and that written on the walls of the room s/he can see all the bad things they think about themselves. Then I would ask them to paint over them with a bright happy colour.
For Younger ChildrenIn younger children there or may not be a set script. The process is much more flexible and is more like playing imaginary games. Younger children don't always need to be relaxed or calm, they simply become engaged and focused on the game, imagining and feeling the experience in the same way they do when they play at home. So for example if I suggested they turn their fear into a big balloon I might ask them to tell me what coluor, shape and design it is to help them engage in the experience, before asking them to let it go and watch it float away forever.
Imagination is one of the most wonderful, powerful parts of childhood and hypnotherapy uses this to help children overcome their fears and problems.
Can I come into the session with my child?Yes. In general I ask that you stay with your child for the first session and after this, depending on the age of the child we can all discuss what both you and your child are happy with. If you or your child change your mind at any point that's fine as every session is entirely flexible.
If we decide it is best that you attend the session then I will still tend to talk directly to your child so as to get the best picture of their understanding of the problem. If i need more information I will ask them if it's okay for me to ask you some questions too. Hopefully this way your child feels like they remain the most important person in the room and that I am here to help them.
Do they go to sleep/go under?They may feel relaxed and happy but they never go fully to sleep. They are able to hear everything that is said and, like adults, are always in complete control. They may appear to be in a kind of day-dream and their attention may drift as they gently and easily imagine the things they hear me suggest. This is all fine and completely natural.
Do you control / manipulate their mind in any way? Are there any side effects?There is ABSOLUTELY NO mind control or manipulation. These ideas have come from fictional television and stage hypnosis and are NOT a part of hypnotherapy in any way.
It is all very enjoyable, gentle and positive. It is specially designed to help children overcome their problems in a fun, relaxing way. As long as your therapist is properly trained it is COMPLETELY SAFE and the only side effects might be feeling more relaxed and calm than before.
I am a fully qualified hypnotherapist accredited to The National Hypnotherapy Society. As such I am bound by a strict code of conduct and ethics so you can be certain that everything I say and do is for the benefit of your child.