Hypnotherapy for children and teenagers
Although it was not widely used until the 1970s, hypnosis of children was first described in 1779 by Anton Mesmer, whose name is still connected with hypnosis when we talk about being mesmerised. He claimed to have used hypnotherapy to treat a child with visual problems. Most children are good hypnotic subjects because they use their imaginations so powerfully on a daily basis. If a child is playing with an imaginary friend, for example, they see that friend and respond to them as if they were real.
Hypnotherapy aims to help your child use these same imaginative skills to find and put in place new ways of coping with problem situations such as separation anxiety, worrying, bedwetting, changing schools, trouble making friends or concentrating. It can also be used to teach your child relaxation to help them through the more stressful times in their lives.
Hypnotherapy for young people
Exactly like any other client, your child has to take an active part in their hypnotherapy and be willing to use the techniques between the sessions. The fact that you see a problem or want them to do things differently is not enough. You may also have to change the ways you do some things as a family to support the changes your child is in the process of making. But if you are willing to do this and they are genuinely open to the idea of change, then hypnotherapy may be what you are both looking for.
There are some specific considerations when working with young people, especially around safety and confidentiality. Because of this, I would always book a free information session as a first step. Booking an information session does not commit you to go ahead with hypnotherapy. It does offer a chance for your family to find out more about hypnosis, and for us to decide if I am likely to be able to help.
If you do decide to go ahead with therapy, the number of sessions required varies depending on the nature and history of the problem, the age of the child, and many other factors. But it's usually around four to six.
Children's TV and books sometimes give some very strange ideas about hypnosis. If you or your child has concerns about it you are welcome to contact me. Or you could use an audio first, to allow your child to experience relaxation techniques in the security of their own home.
Age limits for hypnotherapy
Hypnosis can be used with quite young children, but I work only with older children (approx. 10+) and teenagers.
I need your written consent to work with your child and, if they are under 13 years of age, the General Data Protection Regulation says I must be able to verify their date of birth as well.
If your child is under 16, the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council's Code of Ethics says that a chaperone should be in the room when I am working with them. This is normally a parent but, with your consent, could be an older brother or sister, a grandparent or another relative if your child prefers. Chaperones must be over 18 years of age.
The chaperone may be invited to take part in some aspects of the therapy, such as learning a technique so they can remind your child how to use it at home. So it should be someone your child sees regularly and trusts.
If it's possible that your child's problems are connected with a medical condition, it's wise to get that ruled out before seeing a therapist of any kind. Otherwise, or afterwards, please contact me for more information.