Clinical Hypnosis

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What is pediatric clinical hypnosis?

Pediatric clinical hypnosis is an intervention used to help children create a relaxed state in coping with pain, anxiety, and other medical conditions. It is an effective way to engage a child’s internal resources to build confidence by using their own imagination and thoughts to master various skills.

How does pediatric clinical hypnosis work?

Pediatric clinical hypnosis involves a trained healthcare provider guiding your child to “pay attention on purpose” to parts of their day-to-day functioning. It involves helping your child use their own problem-solving skills to develop a sense of control and confidence in response to specific concerns (for example, pain experience, fear of public speaking or bed wetting). Children learn ways to consciously relax themselves and to then imagine, experience and review steps that will help them resolve specific problems.

What will pediatric clinical hypnosis feel like?

Pediatric clinical hypnosis feels like a state of being very relaxed and engaged in your own imagination.

Who will perform my child’s clinical hypnosis treatment?

Your child’s treatment will be done by a licensed healthcare provider who has completed special training in clinical hypnosis, as well as specialized training in pediatrics.

How many treatment sessions are needed?

The length of treatment varies depending on the nature and severity of the concern. For some children, 1 session can be helpful. For others, 5-6 sessions may be needed .

How long will the treatment last?

Sessions typically last from 10-30 minutes. It may also be included during a clinic visit with a healthcare provider.

Is pediatric clinical hypnosis safe?

Pediatric clinical hypnosis is safe when performed by properly trained providers. The use of hypnosis is restricted to those who are properly trained. Serious side effects are very rare. The Clinical Hypnosis program at CHOP is closely managed to ensure your child’s safety. Our clinical hypnosis practitioners are skilled in caring for children.

What are common misconceptions about pediatric clinical hypnosis?

Your child will be awake and aware at all times. Your child is not “under the command” of the practitioner. Your child will not be made to do anything against their will.

Does pediatric clinical hypnosis have side effects?

Pediatric clinical hypnosis poses few risks for children. In rare cases, the child may experience headaches, nausea, tearing, crying, or anxiety. Your child may need to stand up slowly after a session in case they get dizzy.

Does pediatric clinical hypnosis take the place of traditional medicine?

No. Pediatric clinical hypnosis is not a substitute for traditional medical and behavioral health treatment. It can be used in addition to your child’s plan of care. Our staff can help include pediatric clinical hypnosis into your child’s treatment plan. Please talk to your medical or behavioral health provider to discuss if pediatric clinical hypnosis should be considered for your child.

Additional resources

November 2022