Saturday, October 20, 2007

Practical Parenting with Hypnosis

My boys are 8 and 10. Our family life -- with two parents who work -- can be stressful sometimes, just like most family's. As a mom, I have found the use of hypnosis -- for myself and for my children -- can be a very practical tool for keeping the peace in day-to-day living.

Take Thursday, for instance. I don't know about you, but there's always a lot to squeeze into our morning. Getting exhuberant kids dressed, fed, and well-listened to (we use our morning time to catch up as I sip my coffee and wake up) and then equipped with homework folders, permission slips, lunch money, band instruments...the list goes on... is always a bit of a feat.

One unexpected event or accident can throw off a morning and start a chain reaction of stress. I'm sure other parents can relate!

Last Thursday, with 10 minutes before kids were due to offer final kisses and hugs goodbye and march off to school, my youngest smashed his finger in the bathroom door. I was just getting out of the shower, and after hurrying to throw on some clothes, I met his sobbing self in the middle of the upstairs hallway. Paul's not one to cry easily, but the tears were streaming down his face, and I could see his finger really hurt.
"Sit down with me," I said.

Paul questioned me with his eyes, as I plopped down as if it were the most normal thing in the world to have a conversation on the hallway floor in the middle of traffic. As Paul sat down, I held his little finger.

"I can tell this finger hurts really bad. If the hurt had a color, what color would it be? Close your eyes and tell me."


"Ok, good. And if it made a sound, what sound would it make?"

"...'creeeeeeeeaaaaak' like a squeaky door."

"Good. Now what does it feel like? Give me some words ... is it stabbing and pinching?"

"Yes -- stabbing and BURNING."

After we identified the color, the sound, and the feeling, I asked Paul to find somewhere very very comfortable on his body, and he found his other hand. I asked him the same three questions, and he closed his eyes and came up with: a deep blue-jean blue, the sound of an owl, and a cool, gentle breeze.

Next, I gave him the suggestion to put all his attention on the blue, the whoo-whoo sound, and the cool breezy feeling and to allow those to grow and, expand bigger and bigger. Finally, I asked him to imagine the blue, whoo-whoo-ing and cool, cool feeling was actually replacing the white-pink, creaking, burning feeling. More and more the blue color took over and the white-pink became dimmer and dimmer, less and less. I suggested that any time he needed any more comfort in his finger, all he had to do was remember the blue, whoo-whoo-ing, cool breezy feeling.

All of this took less than three minutes to do. It was a very simple process of establishing rapport -- I acknowledged I completely understood his pain and I took it very seriously -- and helping him to change his focus.

By the end of 3 minutes, Paul looked up surprised at himself -- the pain was much, much less and the tears had stopped. He smiled and said he could go to school now.

Now, I know that in this context this exercize may sound like a simple game of pretend that will only work with children, but I guarantee you it is not! :) The mind-body connection is real, and teaching ourselves and our children what is possible in terms of living healthy, happy lives by controlling our thoughts, is one of the best gifts we can give.

If you are interested in my Practical Parenting with Hypnosis class, please contact me.