Couples Counseling Cochrane & Calgary

Hypnotherapy for Children

Hypnotherapy has been recognized to be an effective and evidence-based treatment for adults for many years. More recently, studies have emerged showing that hypnotherapy for children, teens, and young adults has been helpful in alleviating a variety of issues including chronic headaches, pain management, and other emotional, and self-regulation skills. 

Hypnosis techniques can allow children to more readily access the subconscious mind, giving the child a safe place to address the presented issues and gain profound insight, with long-lasting emotional and behavioural therapeutic transformations. 

Parents with children experiencing a wide range of issues can benefit from hypnotherapy, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nail Biting
  • Bedwetting
  • Behavioural issues
  • Academic motivation
  • School/sports performance issues
  • Night terrors
  • Fear of the dark and other phobias

Is Hypnotherapy Effective for Children?

Hypnosis, self-hypnosis, and hypnotherapy have been shown to be effective in helping children and teens with many emotional and behavioral issues.  The following are useful studies regarding hypnosis for children:
  • A study published in 2020 looks at the hypnotic process through a lens of imagination and play, making it an especially effective way to help children, including very young kids. By maintaining an atmosphere of novelty, creativity, respect, and trust, children are more easily able to discover their innate strengths and resources to help create the changes they want.1
  • A 2007 study of 144 participants showed that children and youths who learned self-hypnosis for recurrent headaches reported a reduction in the frequency of headaches from an average of 4.5 per week to 1.4 per week, and a reduction in average duration from 23.6 hours to 3.0 hours. The study also concluded that there were no adverse side effects for self-hypnosis.2
  • A 2016 study assessed the efficacy of self-hypnosis in a therapeutic education program (TEP) for the management of chronic pain in 26 children aged 7 to 17 years. Of those patients, sixteen decreased their pain intensity, 10 reached all of their therapeutic goals, and 9 reached them partially. Self-hypnosis was the only component of the TEP associated with these improvements. The current study supports the efficacy of self-hypnosis for chronic pain management in children.3
  • A 2014 review article looked at the efficacy of hypnosis as a therapeutic treatment for children. It concluded that hypnosis is a powerful tool for teaching young people self-regulation skills and suggested more training in pediatric hypnosis be made available.4
  • A promising study done in 2010 showed that hypnosis lowered the anxiety and pain associated with dental anaesthesia. Thirty children aged 5 to 12 were randomly assigned to 2 groups receiving hypnosis (H) or not (NH) at the time of anesthesia. Significantly more children in the H group had no or mild pain. This study suggests that hypnosis may be effective in reducing anxiety and pain in children receiving dental anaesthesia.5



Jan Joubert

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Synergy Collaborative Health – Cochrane, AB

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  1. Linden, J., (2020) Relationship Factors in the Theater of the Imagination: Hypnosis With Children and Adolescents, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Vol. 62, Issue 1-2
  2. Kohen, D., Zajac, R., (2007) Self-Hypnosis Training for Headaches in Children and Adolescents, The Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 150, Issue 6
  3. Delivet, H., et. al., (2016) Efficacy of Self-hypnosis on Quality of Life For Children with Chronic Pain Syndrome, International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 66, Issue 1
  4. Kohen, D., Kaiser, P., (2014) Clinical Hypnosis with Children and Adolescents—What? Why? How?: Origins, Applications, and Efficacy, Pediatric Integrative Medicine: An Emerging Field of Pediatrics
  5. Huet, A., et. al., (2011) Hypnosis and Dental Anesthesia in Children: A Prospective Controlled Study, International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 59, Issue 4
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