Child Hypnosis

Child Hypnosis

Can Hypnosis work with Children

The other day a mother called me about her 6-year-old child, who was having anger issues. The mother asked me if hypnosis would work for her child and if it could help deal with the anger. Having worked with children from the age of 4 years old, I know that hypnosis works for children to help them make changes.  So I said yes.  The mother was relieved and booked her daughter in to see me.

On Television at the moment there is a stage hypnosis show where people are put into hypnosis using a formal induction. This means that the hypnotist spends time with the people to have them go into a deep trance and then brings them out and puts them back in again.  The more you go into trance using formal induction the easier it becomes.  As they say on the program, the people on stage have had an hour spent on getting them to the state that the audience sees them, where the person will do anything they are commanded to do.

This formal induction is what most people including some hypnotherapists believe is what is needed for a person to go into hypnosis.  It is true that a formal induction will put a person into hypnosis and I use it quite often.  However, that is not the only way to get a person into a hypnotic trance state.

According to the Society of Clinical Hypnosis, they define hypnosis as: a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention.   The important point to note is the inner absorption.  This means that a person is focusing more on themselves than on their environment or other people.  Using this idea, a person is in a state of hypnosis when they are day dreaming because they are inner focused or inner absorbed.  You can be in a day dream with your eyes open or closed.  You can even be walking, running or driving while you are in a day dream.  So a day dream is a light state of hypnosis.

To get into a light state of hypnosis can be done by everyone.  When you are in a light hypnotic trance your brain waves are in the alpha range.  As you go deeper into hypnosis, usually through a formal induction, your brain waves will go down into the theta range.

In the theta range, changes can be made to your mind, which is especially useful for those who experience and suffer from anxiety. The theta range is also for pain control and other mind and physical connected issues.

Returning to child hypnosis, when a child is born, research has shown that a new born baby’s brain waves are at the delta level.  This is also the level our brains go to in deep sleep.  As a baby grows they move into the theta level around the age of 2 years old. From 6 years to about 12 years old is when children’s brainwaves accelerate to the Alpha state.

What this means is that children do not need to be put into hypnosis using a formal induction since they are already living in a world of a hypnotic trance up to the age of about 12 years old.  Instead, if you just have a child close their eyes or focus internally into their own world, they will be in a state hypnosis where you can get them to imagine getting along with other children, being able to learn in a positive way, discover new positive ways to deal with discomfort from their environment or emotions.  So it is useful to help with childhood issues like anxiety, bed wetting, fingernail biting or sleep issues.

I find working with children using hypnosis is best from the age of 6 upwards, as they understand what you are saying and will go into the alpha state easily.  I therefore help the parent to realise that the child lives a lot of their time in this state which means any suggestions they hear they can take on.  Since they are always listening and learning they do not know what it useful and what is not. They just observe, listen and do.  So if the parents have anxiety or they yell and scream when they are annoyed and frustrated, then the child will be picking this up as if they are in a hypnotic trance, like happens on the stage hypnosis shows.  This occurs even if you don’t mean for the child to learn it. If they observe and hear what is happening around them they may pick it up as the right behaviour.

So, realise if you have children with you or you are with others who have children, they are usually in a hypnotic state and will take suggestion directly, even if you are joking or not meaning what you say.  The unconscious mind does not know that it was not meant for them.

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Have a great day achieving your success.


David Donahoo

NLP Coach and Hypnotherapist

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