I understand that 'Hypnotherapy'' can sound daunting - especially if the only experience you've had of it is what you've seen on TV.
During our initial session, I will dispel all of the myths that are often associated with the work I do and show you how 'normal' it actually is.
My work is based on the very latest findings in neuroscience. Contrary to past beliefs, the brain has enormous plasticity (especially whilst we're young). This means that it can adapt, change and develop over time and with practiced repeated action. In other words, if you can imagine your child's anxiety is born out of a habit of repeated negative thought or action, you can then begin to understand how by simply noticing the particular thought or action, changing and practicing a new one (of calm or confidence for example), they can learn to completely change that particular neural pathway. As they say in the world of neuroscience - what fires together, wires together!
Hypnosis is simply a state of focused awareness -that same state of being engrossed in a brilliant film or even a very interesting conversation. When we're in this state we have better access to our unconscious mind - the part that all our learning goes to once we've practiced it enough.
I am able to access this state with my younger clients in many different ways; through conversation, play, story-telling, activities or simply by guided relaxation. When in this wonderfully receptive state, I can make very positive suggestions more directly to the unconscious mind. These can be used to make the changes necessary to break the habit of negativity and begin to make different, more helpful connections within the brain.
Children are by far the best at using their minds in creative and imaginative ways. They change easiily from being a 'superhero' to 'footballler' to 'solidier' within moments and are generally more in tune with their own creativity.
That said, many children (and adults) who experience anxiety or depression, are often prone to a fixed mindset and black and white thinking. They may be highly imaginative but use the skill in unhelpful ways - conjuring clear and vivid images of events with negative outcomes.
Unlike many adults thought, they don't usually like to dwell on their 'problems'. In fact, other than in the initial session, I don't tend to talk about their problem at all and instead work with them to uncover skills they already have in order to build new ones to make any changes they would like. To illustrate, a child who has a nail-biting habit, is encouraged to not consider this a problem at all, but rather to seek out the skills needed to learn to grow long and healthy nails.
With this shift in focus, the child can often easily identify ways by themselves of how they might be able to begin to learn and practice this new skill.
Then comes the fun bit! I will work with your child to mentally (or physically!) rehearse the desired behaviour or outcome. This practice is repeated over in different ways and is what forms the basis of the new habit of thought and action.
I explain to them that this is exactly how professional athletes and sports people work with hypnotherapists - practice makes perfect!
Using the child's own wonderfully creative and vivid imagination, I show them how to use brilliantly effective techniques to visualise positive outcome and accelerate change. Practised in the mind often enough, the learning soon moves from the conscious to the unconscious mind where it can become a more automatic response.
This is a perfectly enjoyable and the child is completely in control and having fun with the experience!
Like all new skills, they can take time to perfect. I talk about these times as 'times they forgot their skill" rather than viewing them as failures.
As with the skill itself, I prepare your child to build resilience for when they forget to use it. As long as your child continues the process, these times will be less and less frequent, until the new wanted behaviour is more fixed.