Kelley T. Woods is a brilliant hypnotherapist and has been a friend, mentor and inspiration to me over the last few years. She is a member of the 'International Certification Board of Clinical Hypnosis'. As a parent for over nearly 30 years and a pediatric hypnotist with a special connection with kids, she can assist you and your child in a variety of ways. Earlier in the week she kindly accepted my offer to talk about her work with children.
Hello, Kelley first of all thank very much for taking the time to answer a few of my questions and take part in this series I am doing on 'Hypnosis and Children'.
1. Kelley in all the time I have known you, working with children has become one of your real specialties. Can you tell us how this came about?
Hi Trevor, it's great to talk about one of my favorite aspects of my practice: pediatric hypnosis. Besides having once been a child and raising three children of my own, I seem to attract children. Early in my hypnosis career, I found myself helping some of the kids in my karate dojo and realized that hypnotic approaches had great potential with children. It was a natural process to start inviting clients with children to consider hypnosis as an answer for some of their struggles.
2. What types of issues have you helped children with?
Kids can present with many of the problems that adults have, actually. I see children who have anxiety, eating issues, sleep difficulties, trouble with focus, etc. Common requests for help include bed wetting, stomach and headaches, and eliminating habits like hair pulling, nail chewing and even nervous tics.
3. What kind of strategies do you have for children?
I use a variety of techniques, depending on the age of the child and their personality and character. For younger children, a narrative approach is excellent and something that parents can emulate beyond our clinical work. Kids over 7 or so can usually engage in more formal hypnotic processes.
4. What would you say to parents out there that are 'thinking' of seeking a hypnotist for help, but are afraid to make the call, maybe having some misconceptions?
I really don't encounter many fears from the parents of my kid clients as they have usually educated themselves about hypnosis, realizing that it is perfectly safe and is a fun experience for children. If a parent is worried, they may want to use a hypnotist through a referral from a medical professional or another person they trust. I do provide families the option of attending the sessions and this seems to help reduce any worries.
5. I have a friend whose teenage daughter has been suffering from stress lately. When my friend suggested to the daughter that she try hypnosis to help, her daughter responded that she 'Didn't want anyone 'messing' with her brain, or taking control of her mind'. If you were her mother how would you respond to that?
I'd probably provide some reading material to the teen that would show how hypnosis can help her take control of her own mind! Teens, once they engage in hypnosis, are usually fascinated with finding out more about themselves, especially if it means that they can learn some cool tricks to help deal with stress or anxiety.
Consistency is the most important ingredient, in my opinion. A family needs to have an agreed-upon set of rules posted that includes a list of rewards/consequences and then it needs to be enforced. Children really do need structure, along with affection. It's also important to recognize the different developmental stages of childhood and how they can involve periods of testing, seeking control or independence. Keeping a positive mindset and staying calm (hypnosis helps!) will help a parent navigate the rough patches.
7. Do you think that children are easier or harder to work with than adults? If so why?
I believe that while kids are easy to work with because they access their imagination so naturally and don't have some of the limiting conceptions that adults do, it can also take a lot of energy! One needs to step into their world, keep it fun and engaging, while also working toward a mutual goal. Imagine juggling a monkey, a goat and a jellyfish and you get the picture of what it can feel like sometimes!
8. There has been a lot of debate out there after the pope came out recently and said that 'It's okay to smack your children'? Now I know some of this was taken out of context, but what is your stance on this?
One of the problems with spanking is that some people confuse punishment with discipline. If a parent is consistent with sound discipline, the need to punish is reduced. There are just so many other ways to motivate a child that it really doesn't make sense to resort to physical violence. And, everyone knows that you can gain control over a 2 yr old by taking away his cell phone! (Joking!) Seriously, being hit by anyone but especially by a person who is charged with your protection can be deeply confusing and hurtful. I notice that many adults who were beat with belts moved far over to the other end of the punishment spectrum when it comes to how they raise their kids - sometimes to the point of being too permissive!
9. What are the top 3 things we can do as parents to influence our children in a positive and beneficial way?
Three things you can do immediately to enhance your child's experience:
1. Be Kind "A child's cloak is quickly mended, but a torn heart lasts forever."
2. Provide experiences: That's how children build self esteem and worth; not through empty compliments. See Carol Dweck's work 'The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids' http://mindsetonline.com/.
3. Step into their world: really listen to your child and let yourself remember what it feels like to be curious, silly and open to new things!
10. Well thanks very much Kelley, I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. As a Hypnotherapist colleague of yours I have nothing but respect for what you do and you have been a real source of inspiration to me. Have you anything in the pipeline in terms of your hypnotic work with children?
Thank you, Trevor. I always love to share thoughts about how wonderful kids are and how we can make that brief time of life even better. I am in the midst of creating a series of mindful hypnosis recordings for a new "HypnoticKids" website providing an online resource for parents and caregivers. Exciting stuff and it's hard to even describe my job as "work"...I know that you know what I mean!
Well, have fun, Trev. Thanks for asking me to be part of your blog!
Kelley has written many books on hypnosis, including her book for helping kids 'Secrets of the River' (available at http://tinyurl.com/q99jhw6), 'Hypnotic Women: Present a Collection of Therapeutic Stories, Scripts, Poems' and 'Inductions and Hope is Realistic: A Physician's Guide to Helping Patients Take Suffering Out of Pain', which she wrote with Michael Ellner. She is based in Mount Vernon, WA, U.S.A. Check her website out at: http://www.woodshypnosis.com
© Trevor Eivers 2015
My name if Trevor Eivers and I am based in Waterford, Ireland. I am a Certified Consulting Hypnotist (since 2010) with the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH), which is the largest hypnosis body in the world with over 14,000 members in 83 different countries worldwide. I am also a Certified NLP practitioner. I love my job in which I help everyday people with everyday issues. Contact me at 086-8211677 or check me out online at waterford-hypnosis.com or Facebook at : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Trevor-Eivers-Hypnosis/177881245578285