Hypnotherapy can effectively help overcome child phobia.
As any hypnotherapist will confirm, supporting a child to overcome a fear is very rewarding. Knowing that they will go through life without something hanging over them only encourages us to reach further and to treat more suffering with a phobia.
The vast majority of phobias are created in childhood. These tend to be ‘simple’ phobias, which means they are linked to animals such as dogs or are experiences such as heights. In contrast, ‘complex’ fears tend to be anxieties about social situations. Simple phobias are often the result of an unpleasant childhood experience, which becomes a strong adverse reaction directly associated with that situation.
For instance, a child who lives on a farm was bitten by a horse, developing a phobia of horses. Many child hypnotherapy clients have similarly unfortunate experiences, such as being stung by a wasp, which subsequently created terrifying associations and feelings of extreme fear when close to anything relating to that item.
Phobia Starting Points
There are other common starting points for childhood phobias, such as learned behaviours. Typically these come from parents and caregivers but can also be picked up from siblings and peers. A parent may have a phobia of spiders and react in accordance with their fear upon seeing one. The reaction is witnessed by the child and potentially copied, thus creating a fear that never previously existed. Another example may be while watching a film; the child becomes uneasy upon seeing a clown. The parent comments they do not like clowns either because they are scary. In this situation, the sense of unease in the child becomes amplified as clowns are now something they should worry about, should fear. The initial experience does not always have to be an extreme event to create the phobia.
Should your child have a phobia, you need to remember that this fear is out of proportion to the object. It is extreme and, in most cases, irrational. Reassuring facts, comfort and phrase will not harm, but they tend to have little impact. Your child’s reaction to the situation is one of fight or flight, and all sense of rational thinking is impossible.
How can hypnotherapy help child phobia?
The human brain finds it close to impossible to distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. This is partly why some things are terrifying to some and not to others. By aiding your child to enter an imaginative and creative state of hypnosis-where, they are more receptive to positive experiences under the guidance of a hypnotherapist-we can help to imagine a positive outcome. The positive experience in place of the negative can be rehearsed until it becomes a reality.
Having helped your child relax into a state of hypnosis, the hypnotherapist will encourage them to visualise a different outcome to the one that happened. An example of this is a child with a phobia of dogs because they were once bitten by one. The hypnotherapist would set up a superhero power for the child, which quickly takes them into a positive, empowered state, accessible at any time.
In addition to hypnotherapy sessions, you can support your child with their phobia by:
• Not belittling them. It may be hard to understand, but for them, it is very real.
• Getting caught up. Children may use fears to gain attention
• Remain calm, comfort and reiterate they are safe and move on.
• Do not avoid situations due to your child’s phobia because you can make it worse.
• Seek advice. It is better to seek support as early as possible.
• Inform your child. For example, if your child is attending a doctors appointment, tell them.
Often children feel they are the only person in the world with this ‘problem’, and it can significantly impact peer interactions and activities. Phobias can affect confidence and self-esteem. If left untreated, they can be carried into adulthood, further impacting the quality of life.
If you feel your child would benefit from hypnotherapy and would like to discuss how it works and how I can help, please telephone or email.