Parents, teachers, relatives and other significant adults can unwittingly cause problems for children simply by the way they talk about something which is causing a child problems. By describing a child as ‘anxious’, or ‘highly strung’, a child learns to define themselves in those ways and internalise the message, ‘I am anxious’. Hypnotherapy can be used to dissociate the child from his or her symptoms and to reframe the anxiety as something which doesn’t define or control him or her, but as something which he or she can visualise and gain control of. Psychologist, William Wester introduces children to an ‘IT’ monster which represents his or her anxiety symptoms and asks whether they would like to control the ‘IT’ monster. I’ve used this technique with children, and found it a wonderful way of reframing their perspective, which can be enhanced with imagery and metaphors whilst the child is in a state of hypnosis. In this way, the child is dissociated from his or her symptoms, and the anxiety becomes externalised. Hypnotic language can further emphasise this dissociation by talking about ‘the’ anxiety or ‘symptoms’, rather than referring to ‘your anxiety’ or referring to the child as ‘anxious’. As always, parents are crucial team players in helping maintain this shift in perspective, and are taught about the best terms to use with their children.
If you are interested in my forthcoming training course in children’s hypnotherapy which will be launched in January 2019 please contact me.