It allows access to the subconscious mind by bypassing the critical factor of the conscious mind. Children do not fully develop cognitive processes until they reach the age of 11 or 12. Until that age, information is experienced by the child rather than being processed or critically evaluated. Children do not have theories and facts about the world and how things should be. This means that they go into trance much easier than adults do.
Children have much higher responsiveness to suggestion. Because of their ability to suspend their connection to the outer world, they have an advantage over adults in their use of hypnosis. They can become completely absorbed in the story and take from the story the things they need for their lives.
Long inductions are not necessary since children go into trance so easily. They respond rapidly to stories that create images of the desired results. Reaching a hypnotic state is really easy for children and really wonderful things can be created for them.
It is important that when Hypnotherapists start working with hypnosis and children that they (the hypnotherapists) have a basic understanding of developmental stages. This is important because the hypnotic process needs to be developmentally appropriate for the child. By understanding these phases and the way cognition, emotion and hypnosis interact, the Hypnotherapist can create very successful processes for the child.
This becomes the key to utilizing language that the child can really understand. It is also helpful to keep this in mind when the Hypnotherapist creates metaphors because these metaphors need to be meaningful to the child.
Children have a natural ability to access their imagination so the use of fantasy is always an effective tool, as long as the hypnosis processes are developmentally appropriate for the child. They can become deeply absorbed in fairy tales and other stories and experience very deep trance stages. They experience this trance as an altered state of awareness that allows them to focus, using their subconscious, without allowing the external world to affect them.
It is always easier for children to get into trance and hypnotherapy can be very effective for them. Almost all children and adolescents can be hypnotized.
When preparing the child for the hypnosis, the Hypnotherapist needs to create a relationship with the child. He needs to take the time to get to know the child and understand his likes and dislikes. It is also important to have the child get to know him. He needs to talk clearly and openly using words that the child will understand. The Hypnotherapist’s goal is to captivate the child’s or adolescent’s attention and help them to resolve their issues.
Whenever a Hypnotherapist is working with a child or adolescent, he is also working with their parents and caregivers. He must always prepare them by explaining what he will do and how they can support the child. The parents often have more questions than the children and may have more misconceptions about hypnosis.
It is very important to have their full support for the process so the Hypnotherapist should take the time to explain to them exactly what they can expect from the hypnotherapy he will be doing with their child. If the child is under the care of a doctor, he should talk to the doctor or the nursing staff so they have a clear picture and can also be supportive. The use of a team approach is highly recommended. The work of the Hypnotherapist can be undermined by negative comments from adults who do not understand what he is doing.
Children and adolescents need as much respect as any adult who comes to a Hypnotherapist. They do not need to be “talked down to”. Children may not have as many years but, just as with adults, imprints are planted in their minds from the time they begin life by whatever they have seen and learned from the parents, relatives, teachers and peers.
An effective hypnotherapy session deals with the parent’s concerns for the child while honouring the child’s desires and needs. A sensitive Hypnotherapist needs to be ready to answer any questions in order to clarify how the sessions will be conducted and to clear up any misconceptions about hypnotherapy. Good rapport must be developed with both parent and child.
What makes working with children unique is having the parents as a contributing factor. A parent or significant adult can support or ruin the work a Hypnotherapist does. He should keep the parents feeling that they are part of the process, because they truly are, without revealing the confidence the child has given him. It is very important to keep the communication open with them.
When choosing a hypnotherapist, it is important to be sure that he or she is qualified. Pierre Benoit, CHt, RCCH, is a member of the Association of Registered Clinical Hypnotherapists of Canada (ARCH) and of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association (IMDHA) and can be reached at (514)472-3535.
Mr. Pierre Benoit is the owner and operator of Hypnotherapy and Counselling Clinic (Clinique d'hypnothérapie et de relation d'aide). Mr Benoit worked as a Specialized Educator and Child and Family Counselor from 1977 to 1998. He worked at the following agencies:
From 1996 to 2004 Mr. Benoit opened the Institut International de Formation et de Ressourcement Inc. where he taught, in different agencies and companies throughout Quebec, intervention techniques to handle verbal and physical aggression. His programs were also accepted by cégeps where he taught his program such as Cégep de St-Jérôme, Cégep Marie-Victorin, LaSalle College.
Through his need to better himself, he was certified as a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner and started learning hypnosis as a modality for change to help his clients better themselves. He decided to specialize in hypnotherapy and, in 2004, he opened the Clinique d’hypnothérapie et de relation d’aide where he has been working full-time helping people reconnect with their potential for success.