Does your child need therapy?
Most parents hope their children are happy, confident individuals, and may feel that therapy is only for children who have been the victims of trauma or abuse. The truth is, however, that children have more fears and phobias than adults, any often experience stronger emotions associated with those fears. Life today is more stressful that when we were children. Youngsters today are more aware of danger, experience more stress and often have higher expectations of themselves. Issues such as bullying, abuse, stammering, bedwetting and shyness have always been experienced in childhood. However, life in the twenty-first century, advertising, consumerism, the breakdown of the family unit, have all contributed to the higher incidence of childhood problems that we see today.
Children’s fears & phobias
The things children fear can be the same as adult fears. However, there are certain fears and phobias that are specific to young children, such as: animals, loud noises, being left alone, bedtime, monsters and ghosts, disabled people, death and injury, darkness, imaginary creatures.
Older children tend to worry more about death and divorce as well as school issues. A fear of needles and injections can start at any age, as can the classic blood-injury-needle phobia, where the individual in question actually faints. Once a child enters teenage years, they may develop certain other phobias, such as a fear of heights, and also the social phobias – blushing, public speaking, disapproval. This is also a time when anxiety triggered by school, tests and exams can increase.
Although we all experience the same symptoms when confronted by a feared object or situation, children may also scream, cry, run away and shout.
A phobia is an extreme fear, where the object of the fear is avoided at all costs. Anxiety, on the other hand, may be ‘free-floating’ or may be caused by certain events, such as in the case of separation anxiety.
Which therapies do we use?
The good news is that hypnosis is wonderfully effective with children, partly because children love learning new things and have great imaginations. They have an ability to change and to be versatile, and to accept most ideas uncritically. They aren’t as dominated by rational questioning and concerns that adults have formed through their life experiences. Also, they don’t have the fears and misconceptions about hypnosis that so many adults have. Hypnosis is a powerful tool in strengthening a child’s confidence. It helps them to feel empowered, happier and more confident. The great thing about hypnosis is that it allows the child to be in control, rather than being talked down to or analysed. Recordings are often made of the sessions, so that children can practice in-between appointments.
NLP is a technique with its roots firmly based on hypnosis. It is a brief therapy easily adapted for children. We often use both NLP and hypnosis in the same session. Unlike therapy for adults and teenagers, children, with their fantastic imaginations, will respond to these methods by demonstrating rapid changes and increased confidence in just one or two sessions.