August 31, 2021

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Guest Author

Helping Children Become Emotionally Healthy Through Hypnotherapy

Just as each child is a unique individual, every child’s journey toward emotional maturity and mental wellness is a road of its own. The development of self-esteem, a sense of self-control, and coping skills for difficult situations can be a more challenging process for some children than others, support from a mental health practitioner can be helpful on this path.

Just as each child is a unique individual, every child’s journey toward emotional maturity and mental wellness is a road of its own. The development of self-esteem, a sense of self-control, and coping skills for difficult situations can be a more challenging process for some children than others, support from a mental health practitioner can be helpful on this path.

One treatment option which is non-invasive, inexpensive, and possible to self-administer is hypnotherapy, which describes the use of guided thought processes and visualizations to cope with anxiety, stress, anger, pain, and other difficult emotions and experiences. Emerging studies have correlated guided self-hypnosis with the ability to relieve chronic somatic pain symptoms, reduce bedwetting and night terrors, and bolster children’s sense of self.

Many doctors and parents prefer to refrain from the use of psychiatric drugs in treating children, as they’re not truly intended for pediatric use and may have unintended negative side effects. When taught by a mental health practitioner, guided self-hypnosis shows significant potential as an alternative intervention for childhood mental health concerns.


Hypnotherapy improves self-esteem

A healthy sense of self-esteem helps children to choose good friends, make good choices, and maintain a reasonable sense of pride about their abilities. In a meta-analysis of studies on pediatric self-hypnosis, improved self-esteem was a noted result. {Source}

Self-Hypnosis minimizes somatic pain

In patients of all ages, pain that isn’t tied to a physical condition is considered to be somatic pain, which may be symptomatic of mental health concerns. Studies have shown that children coping with headaches, stomachaches, and other chronic pain without obvious cause have found relief through guided self-hypnosis. {Source 1 2 & 3}

Hypnosis provides coping skills during serious illnesses

When children are faced with a serious illness like cancer or cystic fibrosis, they’re up against a significant set of challenges that require a healthy support network and the development of personal coping skills.

An assessment of the potential benefits of self-hypnosis in pediatric cancer care noted that the practice helped children to reduce fear and depression, improve procedure tolerance, and to eat, drink, and sleep more consistently. {Source}

Hypnotherapy facilitates better sleep

Childhood sleep difficulties, including bedwetting, night terrors, and insomnia, can be frustrating, embarrassing, and disruptive to a child’s personal and social routine. Though physical causes should always be ruled out, these conditions are often linked with underlying emotional distress -- specifically, stress and anxiety.

The use of self-hypnosis therapy in combination with medication when treating night terrors has been shown to help eliminate the need for medication when managing the condition over time. {source} Similarly, children in treatment for bedwetting experienced greater long-term success at staying dry with a hypnotherapy regimen than with medication, {source} and up to 90% of pediatric insomnia patients may find relief through trained self-hypnosis. {source}

Self-Hypnosis offers anxiety coping tools

Some amount of nervousness is a natural part of childhood, but when children are faced with anxiety that’s debilitating, intervention may be necessary. Social or academic stress at school, problems at home, and low self-image are some of many potential contributors to childhood anxiety.

In lieu of medication, the use of guided self-hypnosis is one tool that children can use to cope when they’re feeling anxious. A meta-analysis of studies regarding pediatric self-hypnosis and mental health care have correlated the process with successful anxiety reduction. {source]

To learn more about the process and potential benefits of clinical hypnotherapy for people of all ages, review 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Hypnotherapy by practitioner Ruschelle Khanna, LCSW, and Demystifying Hypnosis by Integrative Hypnosis practitioner Matt Walczak.

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About the author

Neve Spicer is the founder and editor of WeTheParents, a warm and relatable parenting guide based on strong scientific evidence. Previously a primary teacher and mental health professional, she advocates for mental wellbeing both for children and parents.There she seeks to empower moms and bring out the humor in parenting, and gets nerdy researching and reviewing the gear that moms and dads (apparently) need. You can also catch them on Facebook and Twitter.

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