Introduction to FAQ
Below is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions relating to Children's Hypnotherapy.
There are obviously many other questions that you can ask. You may have some specific ones about the needs of your child.
I would like to make a few things clear before you read the frequently asked questions.
Do not ask me to work with a child under eight years of age. The answer will be NO.
I am becoming quite concerned that some parents are turning to hypnotherapy to deal with normal developmental behaviours. Parents are concerned that their very young kids (2-3 year olds) are 'bad' children as they have the occasional tantrum or don't want to eat certain foods at the age of 4 or 5. Hello - most kids do it.
These things are just a normal part of growing up. And children need to learn their boundaries from their parents. It is parents who need to teach their very young child the difference between good and poor behaviour.
It is not the job of a hypnotherapist to do this.
Bed-wetting in 2-3 year olds is normal. But if it is still ongoing when the child is quite a few years older children I will offer hypnotherapy for it.
It seems to me that some parents are trying to use hypnotherapy as a short cut for good parenting. Really young kids do not have a mature enough understanding of their emotions to undertake hypnotherapy.
How do children respond to hypnotherapy?
Younger children tend to work well because:
- they are imaginative
- haven’t usually seen stage shows or street hypnotists. These give a bad impression as they have nothing to do with hypnotherapy what so ever.
Younger children don’t need to relax much at all. They can do much of the work with their eyes open they see, sense and hear things in their imagination anyway. The stories engage their vivid and lifelike imagination which they do with ease. Many children spend large chunks of their lives in their imagination and it is reality to them. Why should it be any different in my room? All I do is help them to use their imagination in a positive way to become happier.
In older children the veil between real life and imagination is much more well defined. So I may have to work with adult protocols. Yet; many of them are able to relax faster than adults.
Can I be in the session with my child?
Yes and No. With young children I always insist on a parents or other adult being present. This is very important for the first session.
It has three functions:
- the child will feel more at ease
- it puts the parent/adult at ease as well
- both child and parent can see that the process is safe, gentle, fun, non-intrusive and positive.
But; many older children prefer, (even need), to be on their own. They often feel they are being watched or monitored by their parents. The chances are that I side with the child and recommend you follow their preferences. Some younger children are happier on their own after a couple of sessions.
Children mature differently to each other. As a result of this they can be very ‘out’ from their chronological age.
Can I take part in the session with my child? Can I answer for my child if they find something difficult?
No. You are not the one being hypnotised. They have the issue not you. So, you must be quiet throughout the whole process. Even if your child says something you disagree with you must make no comments or sound of disapproval.
What happens in a hypnotherapy session?
As with the adults I work with – every child is different. Their treatment plan will be different. I work according to the child’s age, problem/s and emotional state.
I may help them to relax into a ‘daydreamy’ state the way to the way I would with adults. The children's hypnotherapy session follows a style and language to suit their age.
For another child I will tell a metaphoric story. For them to imagine something that can help them make a mind shift in the positive direction. Many children close their eyes. Others leave them open and go off into that ‘staring into nowhere’ state.
Do you make children go to sleep?
No! No hypnotherapist puts anyone to sleep. If you are asleep you can’t follow a story, make changes or do anything positive. This is a stage hypnotists misdirection to the audience.
All that happens is that your child is guided into a lovely daydream state. This is a natural state that everyone goes into every day.
I have know very tired children to fall asleep – as if they are having a bedtime story. We wake them gently and carry on or stop whichever is best.
Do you make my child ‘go under’?
There is no such thing as ‘Going under’. This is another misleading term from stage shows, TV and films and has no place in therapy.
Your child is in a daydream state with their eyes closed. But they could open them at any time. They are never 'under my control'.
Do you ‘mess with my child’s head’?
No! Everything is aimed at helping them to overcome their problem. As you can be in the room with the child you can observe the process as natural and safe.
My intention is to improve your child's life not make it worse.
Can you make my child do something they don’t want to?
No. If they don’t want to change – they won’t. If it is something you want them to do and they do not want to do it – I won’t see them anyway.
It is important that you understand; your child is not brought to see me against their will.
Are there any side-effects?
There should be no negative side-effects. The aim is to move your child forward to better thought, emotions and behaviours. However; there can be no absolute guarantee as I am not in control of the child's mind. And the same as with adults in hypnotherapy an abreaction may occur. This is a temporary upsetting experience.
But this is the mind's way of letting out pain and so it is of great benefit to the child in the long term.
Do they get any support between their sessions?
I may ask parents/primary care givers to record the session. I prefer not to make the recordings because I would have to keep them for 6 years due to data protection laws.
This can be replayed as many times as required before the next session. Sometimes I regard this as part of their therapy and will speed their progress.
They can listen to it every night when they go to bed and it may help them drift off to sleep far easier than before.
If I ask for it not to be recorded and played back please respect the request. If a child has moved on from a problem. It is counterproductive to play that back. All it does is keep reminding them of the problem.
When I talk to my child after the session what should I say?
It is better to not discuss the session with a small child. Let them come to terms with the changes their way - not your adult interpretation of what happened. they will talk to you when they are ready.
Just a couple of 'wrong' words from you can create doubt or failure within the child if they are not feeling what you are describing or expecting to have happened.
Adolescents are more mature and may be able to enter into a more adult discussion about what has happened. But only when they are ready to do so.
How many sessions will my child need?
Most children need 2-4 sessions. Some can take several more. There is no fixed number.
This is not a fixed term solution to your child's problems. You may be given a fixed number of sessions by a counsellor or CBT therapist.
I will not as I honestly do not know how fast your child will respond to hypnotherapy.
What is your success rate? How good are you?
I do not have a success rate. that assumes that I have done something to the child. I have not. I cannot make a child do, see, think or change anything. They have to be willing and able to do it during the sessions.
So I will answer a different question. What is the success rate of your clients?
For those that work with the processes it is very high and permanent. There are some who do not do quite so well.
How good am I?
Well I teach all of the techniques I use in a new Level 5 post-graduate programme for fully qualified clinical hypnotists. As far as I am aware there is no other programme like it in the UK.
How do I choose a children's hypnotherapist for my child?
Check them out thoroughly:
- Do they have experience working with children? How long? Where?
- Do they have child specific therapy training? How long was it? What was it?
- Have they undertaken a Safeguarding Children course?
- Check which professional bodies they belong to.
- Do they have full Professional Indemnity Insurance?
- Are they on a CHHC voluntary register or better still have a Basic Criminal Record Check (Formerly CRB)?
- Some may have an Enhanced DBS Certificate - this means they have had extra checks to work specifically in schools or other situations with direct contact with children.