By Hervé Boisdé
A recent survey showed that stress in America increased for the first time in 10 years. "Americans' overall stress level, on a 10-point scale from "little or no stress" to "a great deal of stress," ticked up from 4.8 to 5.1 between August 2016 and January 2017." More Americans are reporting problems related to stress than ever before. In addition, according to WebMD, seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
Children and adolescents are not immune to stress and anxiety. In fact surveys show that stress is rising among US children and teens as well. Schools and universities are continually adding mental health services staff to keep up with the needs of the students. Anxiety is the number 1 concern among college students and at least 51 percent of kids in college who seek out counseling do so for anxiety.
Hypnosis for children and teens is also growing in popularity and acceptance. Where parents in the past may have consulted a hypnotherapist for behavioral problems such as bed-wetting, an increasing number are seeking out hypnosis for emotional issues, phobias, anxiety or stress.
This begs the question: Is hypnosis appropriate for young people?
The answer is that with a well-qualified, certified hypnosis practitioner, hypnosis with kids is easy, safe and can even be fun. Children go into hypnosis easily and naturally because it's similar to "playing pretend". The subconscious mind is the seat of imagination and kids are fundamentally imaginative. When a trained hypnotist guides a client to go into hypnosis, he or she will ask the client to visualize a calm, relaxing place, or to imagine taking a flight of steps downward into a place of tranquility. Because children are so good at visualizing, they often can come up with the perfect antidote to their issues by being guided to do so, with their imagination, and to reverse the blocks in their subconscious mind.
Hypnosis can even be used for chronic conditions and medical problems. Chronic symptoms tend to have an emotional root cause, or be at least aggravated by stress or anxiety. Children as young as 4 years old have benefited from hypnotherapy or pre-recorded hypnosis CDs. A recent study showed that hypnosis CDs could effectively aid children with IBS, Functional Abdominal Pain, or Functional Abdominal Pain Syndrome. Whereas 6 sessions with a hypnotherapist within a 3 month period successfully treated the control group (ages 8-18), another group of children of the same ages also benefited from hypnosis CDs. The CD group was instructed to perform exercises 5 times per week or more for 3 months. The benefits for both groups lasted for 1 year after the treatment ended.