Clinical Hypnosis, an Effective Mind–Body Modality for Adolescents with Behavioral and Physical Complaints

* Mind–body medicine is a system of health practices that includes meditation/relaxation training, guided imagery, hypnosis, biofeedback, yoga, art/music therapy, prayer, t’ai chi, and psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Clinical hypnosis is an important mind–body tool that serves as an adjunct to conventional medical care for the adolescent patient.
Clinical hypnosis specifically uses self-directed therapeutic suggestions to cultivate the imagination and facilitate the mind–body connection, leading to positive emotional and physical well-being. There are many similarities between clinical hypnosis and other mind–body/self-regulatory modalities such as visual imagery, mindfulness meditation, yoga, and biofeedback that incorporate experiential learning and mechanisms for change. They may be viewed as subtypes of the hypnotic experience and share the common experience of trance as the entrée into self-empowered change in physiologic and psychological states. Clinical hypnosis can be used by health care providers to teach adolescents coping skills to deal with a wide variety of conditions such as chronic headaches, recurrent abdominal pain, anxiety, depression, grief and bereavement, phobias, anger, family stressors, sleep disorders, or enuresis. Clinical vignettes are given to help illustrate the effectiveness of hypnosis in adolescents. Read On

* Anju Sawni 1,* and Cora Collette Breuner 2
1 Department of Pediatrics, Hurley Children’s Hospital/Hurley Medical Center, Michigan State University
College of Human Medicine, Flint, MI 48503, USA
2 Department of Pediatrics, Adolescent Medicine Division and Department of Orthopedics and Sports
Medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98105, USA;
* Correspondence:; Tel.: +1-810-262-9283 (ext. 5); Fax: +1-810-810-262-9736
Academic Editor: Hilary McClafferty
Received: 2 February 2017; Accepted: 20 March 2017; Published: 24 March 2017

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Hypnosis for Children with ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a very common disorder among children. The traditional form of treating ADHD is medication and psychotherapy. However, every person with ADHD is different and a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be taken in treating the disorder. Research has been conducted using alternative therapies including hypnotherapy. Hypnosis has been found to help people with ADHD focus, concentrate, and control stressful situations.

The symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Researchers are unsure what causes ADHD, which makes treating the disorder problematic. There are approximately 17 medications approved for use in treating children with ADHD. These medications come with negative side effects including decreased appetite, insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.

Hypnotherapy helps children change their behavior and helps them realize they can be in control of their actions.Sticking out tongue

Researchers performed a literature review on numerous ADHD studies. They found that ADHD is very complex when looking at symptoms, treatments, social development, and academic achievement. It is important that more than just the children be involved with treatment; educators, parents, and evaluators must be educated on the disorder. The review concluded that alternative therapies such as hypnosis and neurotherapy are very successful at controlling ADHD symptoms (Carbonell, (2003).

Barabasz and Barabasz (1999) found that ADHD is often over-diagnosed because its symptoms are often found in other disorders and the most common form of treatment is with drugs that are laden with side effects. More research is needed to both diagnose and treat ADHD. The researchers also found that active-alert hypnosis used with neurotherapy is a promising form of ADHD treatment.

These studies show that ADHD is a very complex disorder to diagnose accurately and to treat properly. More research is being conducted using alternative therapies because medications used to treat ADHD have been found to have many negative side effects. For some unknown reason, as children with ADHD get older, their symptoms decrease. This points to treating ADHD with alternative therapy as being more beneficial with more lasting results.

Hypnotherapy allows children with ADHD to gain focus, concentration, attentiveness, and control over their ADHD symptoms without the negative side effects of pharmaceuticals. Drugs only cover up the problem without actually treating the problem. Therapy is the best way to gain control over ADHD.


“Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved on July 27, 2009:…

Barabasz, A. & Barabasz, M. (1999). Treating ADHD with Hypnosis and Neurotherapy. ERIC ID: ED435076

Carbonell, C.L. (2003). Attention deficit hyperactive disorder: Alternative treatment plans for school age children diagnosed with ADHD. ERIC ID: ED481550.

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Hypnosis for Children

There are many children’s problems that hypnotherapy can help with. And, the great thing is that children are usually excellent hypnotic subjects. They have such wonderful imaginations that you can induce the hypnotic state easily and rapidly by getting them, for example, to imagine taking off in a space craft or taking part in their favorite television program or movie.

A surprisingly large percentage of childhood complaints stem from unresolved emotional issues. Many children, for example, who suffer from Bronchial Asthma are anxiety-ridden, lack confidence and are dependent on one or both of their parents to an extreme degree. There may be physical factors that are directly implicated, but often the parent is told that the child will “grow out of it”. More likely the child (and maybe even the parent) simply matures enough to resolve the emotional issues that triggered the problem in the first place.   

Allergies are another problem suffered by children, and allergic reactions are often associated with stress. There can be a whole host of stressful events in a child’s life such as relations with siblings, school, dependency on a parent, fear of interaction with peer groups, and aggression towards one or both parents sometimes arising from a past traumatic event. You may have heard about an experiment carried out on children whose allergen was flower pollen. In hypnosis they were asked to smell a rose in a sealed glass jar, whereupon they immediately had an asthmatic attack. Subsequently under therapy they were instructed in ways to control, and then stop altogether, having asthmatic attacks, principally through the use of self-hypnosis.

Nail biting, stuttering, various kinds of habitual spasms, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), can all be addressed by hypnosis.

In a study on Dyslexia in 1975, Crasilneck and Hall showed that over 75% of dyslexic children can be helped with direct hypnosis. Following hypnotherapy that included suggestions for improving performance and pronunciation, recognition of words became automatic and more rapid. The results in this study were as good as, or slightly better than, those reported by special behavior modifiers.

Nocturnal Enuresis, or bed wetting, is particularly distressing to both child and parents. There are a number of possible physical causes that need to be checked out by a doctor. Equally there are a number of psychogenic factors that may play a role such as loss of a mother, sibling rivalry, emotional immaturity due to over-protection etc.

Hypnotherapy can also help other behavior disorders such as thumb sucking and examination anxiety.

And with hypnosis, there are no side effects.

Here is a list of children’s problems hypnosis is known to be able to help:

  • Bed Wetting
  • Nail Biting
  • Weight Reduction
  • Sugars
  • Nightmares
  • Stress
  • Enjoying Life
  • Fears & Phobias
  • Pain Control
  • Surviving a Divorce
  • Don’t Start Smoking
  • Conduct at Home
  • Conduct at School
  • Improved Grades
  • Improved Reading
  • Improved Writing
  • Test Anxieties
  • School Illness
  • Stuttering
  • Speak More Slowly
  • Overcoming Loudness
  • Stopping Lying
  • Stopping Stealing
  • Sports Improvement
  • Improved Coordination and sporting performance


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Hypnotherapy and Children

Families that deal with heavy loads of stress sometimes face problems from excessive anger in their children.

It may be parental conflicts or family dysfunction or simply the pressures of modern living that may lead to  children becoming excessively angry, both in occurrence and intensity.

Children and adolescents are just as capable of rage as adults, although they may express it differently or to a varying degree. In a troubled home, kids may be upset by parental neglect, abandonment, busy schedules, or avoidance, to name a few.

But, in a great many cases, children I see with anger control problems come from what most would describe as normal families, simply struggling to cope with the vast array of pressures that families have to cope with today.

Children respond extremely well to hypnotherapy. Many of the techniques used by a skilled hypnotherapist, such as visualization, and the use of imagination to re-frame situations, are easily accepted by young people. Indeed children often master easily taught self hypnosis techniques more quickly than adults do.

Children with anger management issues may not even realize they are hurt and upset at a deep level. They may have pushed their feelings so far down inside that they cannot even recognize them anymore.

These children think that they’re just reacting to a situation, and are often just as surprised as everyone else when they suddenly snap, yelling, hitting, or fleeing a conflict-based situation at home or at school.

Often the problem is compounded by earlier experiences in  the child’s life that he or she may have forgotten at a conscious level, but which may still be causing the subconscious to react to a trivial situation as though it was a threat to the child.

Hypnotherapy is an ideal tool for working through these subconscious issues.

Often this alone is enough to bring equilibrium back into the child’s life.

And peace back into the parent’s lives.

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Adolescent Stress Linked to Severe Adult Mental Illness, Mouse Study Suggests

A study conducted at John Hopkins University has identified a link between juvenile stress and later onset of mental illness

“We have discovered a mechanism for how environmental factors, such as stress hormones, can affect the brain’s physiology and bring about mental illness,” says study leader Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Our children have much to deal with that earlier generations didn’t.

Some concerns, like war, famine and natural disasters, have always been with us, but for kids today, these events are in their faces all day long; on TV, on the computer, on the tablet, on the big news screen in the city.

Pre-teens obsess about their waistlines and many tiny Australians today are well aware of the Sandy Hook school massacre in the US.

Children usually respond well to hypnosis, which is a totally side effect free way of combating the excess stress in their lives. They often can quite easily become competent at self hypnosis.

These various sources of additional stress in young lives can affect childrens’  behaviour, relationships and academic performance.

And now it appears that there may possibly be long term effects on their mental health as well.

To read the entire report in Science Daily, click here

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