Things you and your child should know about hypnotherapy
- Hypnotherapy with a responsible and well-trained therapist is completely safe; there are no negative side effects.
- Hypnosis cannot make your child do anything against their will.
- The sessions may be one-on-one with the child, or together with the parent(s)/caretaker(s). This depends on the child’s decision, age, and maturity.
- I might also meet with a parent/caregiver alone to discuss ways to support your child outside of therapy sessions.
- Your child can learn self-hypnosis with me to develop self-efficacy at home independently.
- Sometimes your child will not want to talk about the experience, which should be respected.
- Each session lasts 60 minutes.
Three helpful criteria for positive change when working with children and teens
Promoting Focused Attention
During normal waking consciousness, our focus is constantly shifting. This is true for all of us: younger children, teens, as well as adults. In a hypnotherapy session I will support your child to shift their attention to maintain a sharper focus. This can be accomplished by inviting the child to focus on my voice, body sensations, or on the guided imagery that I use during therapeutic work.
Following Beneficial Suggestions
The main objective of my clients is to change behaviors and emotional states that have become problematic. Following basic instructions is essential for a successful hypnotherapy session.
Suggestions can be thought of as invitations. They are generally short and easy to understand. “Sooner or later, you can close your eyes and begin to relax, step by step”, “Now please allow yourself to focus on your breath”, or “Imagine yourself entering a place where you feel at ease and relaxed”. These are examples of beneficial suggestions I might use.
Bringing Willingness to Play
In general, children are great candidates for hypnosis. Trance is a natural mental state that they often enter when they are playing imaginary games or daydream. A child’s mind is full of creativity and imagination, both of which are tools that hypnosis uses. A variety of techniques might be used during the sessions, including guided visualization, making up stories together, and role-playing. Of course, humour also has its place in therapy.
In an atmosphere of novelty, creativity, respect, and trust, children are more easily able to (re-)discover their innate strengths and resources to help create the changes they want.
These criteria are only indicators that hypnosis treatment may have the potential for positive results. Children and teens who don’t meet these and/or other criteria may still benefit from hypnosis. Ultimately, the decision to undergo hypnotherapy depends on the consensus of the child, caregiver, and therapist.
What are the reactions of children and teens to hypnotherapy?
- They love it because it uses their own power.
- They describe it as fun, fascinating, and somehow magical.
- They respond with enjoyment, pride, and sometimes with a shrug of “no big deal”.
- They find it cool, interesting, and weird in a positive, good way.
- They report enjoying hypnotherapy for the opportunity to take a break from stress.
- They like the relaxation, the vivid imagery, and the sense of control or the relief of no-control.
The good news
Children are great candidates for hypnosis. Their vivid imagination makes it easy to access their unconscious and bring about the desired changes.
What to expect from our first telephone call?
The first step into unknown territory is sometimes not easy for children and requires courage. I consider it a good idea to have a short conversation over the phone with the parent/caregiver before the first personal visit to my practice in Walchwil, at your house or online. The purpose is to find out your concerns and goals, to discuss the preparation for your first visit and a possible future collaboration. It is important to me that your child feels comfortable and understood in the context of our cooperation.
This call lasts about 15 minutes.
What to expect from the preliminary conversation?
I will meet with you and your child to get to know each other. In addition, the parent/caregiver will be asked to fill out a health history questionnaire. This helps me learn about your child, the family, and what the concern is. I invite you and your child to ask me any questions you might have regarding hypnosis therapy.
Following this, once the child agrees, we can discuss the next steps and start with the therapy sessions. During the sessions, I meet with either both the child and parent present together or one-on-one with the child alone. It depends on the age, maturity, and preference of the child.
A typical preliminary session lasts about 60 minutes.
What should your child bring along?
Motivation and the will to make a healthy change coupled with a positive attitude and curiosity. In addition, it is also beneficial if your child comes to me at his own wish. I recommend comfortable clothes for the sessions. If your child has a cold, please bring a nose and mouse protection (face mask) from home. It is recommended to refrain from caffeinated drinks 24 hours before the sessions. After the sessions, allow a little rest.
A session lasts between 60 minutes.
What can you expect from me?
Empathy, attention, reliability and methodical competence.
How do the sessions continue?
Depending on the topic, it is useful to start the week after our preliminary conversation. Some topics require only one or two sessions, others possibly up to seven. At the beginning the interval between the sessions should be close, ideally one week. If some things have already been resolved and the pressure of suffering has decreased, then intervals of two to three weeks make sense, with the exception of irritable bowel syndrome and pain management. In these cases, I advise you individually. After about 2-3 months a catamnestic session follows. This serves as a follow-up and a refresher if needed.
Frequently asked questions by clients
Everything you always wanted to konow about hypnotherapy!
The trance is induced by specific speech and behavioural patterns. During hypnosis verbal repetitions and mental images are used by the therapist. Your focus and concentration are significantly increased. This makes you more open to engage in experiences. As a result, you can usually reach your therapy goals faster. Hypnotic trance causes you to be particularly attentive and (typically) pleasantly relaxed at the same time. You hear your therapist’s voice, are aware of and alert to everything around you. You can also speak to the therapist or communicate non-verbally. Your consciousness is not switched off but calmed. You can choose to open your eyes and stand up at any time. Afterwards you remember everything that happened during the hypnosis.
Hypnotherapy is usually done with closed eyes. However, some treatments can also be carried out with open eyes. This can be, for example, a concentrated state during a conversation between you and the therapist (coach). The permissive approach (often referred to as Ericksonian Hypnotherapy) has proven to be very helpful in hypnosis. Here the unconscious is invited to join in and choose the path it wants to take. The hypnotic suggestions are thus usually not used directly but packed into stories. The conscious mind often does not understand these hypnotic stories at all, but they go directly to the subconscious. The choice to get involved is very important.
No. People who choose hypnosis typically do not come to lose control, but quite the opposite: to gain control. Namely, over parts of their life where they have had little control. Hypnosis helps you to remain the “master of your senses”. It can also help you to find new ways to access your feelings. For many, this is a crucial step to achieve their goals with hypnotherapy. In any case, you always have full control over what you say and do in a session.
Hypnotherapy for children and teens can be used for a wide range of issues. Here you will find a selection of topics:
- Fears and phobias
- Problems with sleep
- Bedwetting (Nocturnal Enuresis)
- Habits such as thumb sucking, nail biting, hair pulling
- Tolerating procedures such as vaccinations, blood tests or other procedures
- Recurrent headaches
- Recurrent stomachaches
- Other chronic pain
Coping with Chronic Illnesses
- Asthma (to reduce wheezing/stress cycle)
- Cancer (for stress, tolerating procedures, pain, nausea)
- If your child is receiving psychiatric treatment.
- If your child is taking psychotropic medication.
- If your child is very seriously emotionally disturbed or dissociated.
- If your child cannot follow directions.
- If your child is too frightened to relax.
- If your child has epilepsy.
- If your child is not willing to participate in such sessions.
This can happen and is often a sign of relaxation. After the session you may not remember every single word that was spoken. However, your subconscious will remember everything.
No. There is never a danger of not waking up from hypnosis. Hypnotic trance is comparable to the state between waking up and sleeping. You always wake up from the trance, you are either woken up by the therapist or wake up by yourself. Most people report feeling rested and refreshed afterwards.
It depends on what you mean by side effects. After a hypnotherapy session you may experience dizziness or a little tiredness, like in the morning, just before getting up. These are natural reactions that usually subside quickly.
You may also experience a few nights of more intense dreaming or more daydreaming during the day. These changes usually do not last long. If hypnosis is performed correctly, there are no negative side effects, unlike with medication. Often clients report positive side effects or changes, they feel more „relaxed” or less harsh towards themselves.
Hypnosis is a very effective method. However, it is not a miracle cure. The number of sessions you will need will depend on your individual circumstances and the topic you bring along. In many cases a few sessions are enough to achieve the desired goal. However, a positive change can usually be felt after the first session, even if the cause has not yet been completely addressed.
It is not uncommon that the effects lasts for years. Every now and then it is necessary to reinforce new behavioural patterns again and usually a single refreshment after months or even years is sufficient. Often, however, no further sessions are necessary if you have established new behavioural patterns so successfully that the old behaviour is completely abandoned.
Yes, I cooperate with family GPs often and well, as the situation reuqires. A partnership with them helps to focus on your recovery and your well-being, and is, hence, very important to me. Conventional medicine and the scientifically recognized method of hypnotherapy can complement each other sensibly and meaningfully.
Tomorrow is soon, so let’s start today!
My office is located in Walchwil, Canton Zug.