My ‘A’ in my A-Z of kids’ hypnosis is anchoring – a fantastic tool which can be used therapeutically to help your child and which you can use at home with your child. So, what is an anchor? ‘Anchoring’ is a useful term to describe something which happens naturally to us on a regular basis. It’s that feeling of suddenly being transported into a particular state of mind or being and is usually triggered by a strong memory. For instance, you might smell an apple pie cooking and suddenly feel the warm glow that you experienced when your gran baked. Or you might hear a piece of music which suddenly brings back the excitement of being on a dancefloor as a teenager.
Therapeutically, we can use anchoring to help someone quickly and easily access a desirable state – such as feeling confident or in control – whenever they want to. Anchoring is commonly used by life coaches and hypnotherapists, including those who work with children.
Let’s imagine that your child experiences anxiety when she or he has to speak up in class but they are part of a dance troupe and very comfortable and happy when they are performing their routines. As a hypnotherapist, I would firstly discuss with your child a time when they do feel confident (in this case, when they’re performing in their dance troupe) and ask them if they would like to feel this way when they are less confident (in this case, when they are speaking up in class). During this conversation, I would emphasise the fact that there are times when they feel confident and encourage them to recognise those times of confidence.
I would then lead your child into a light state of hypnosis and ask them to remember that time when they felt so confident, allowing that experience to become very real. There are several techniques hypnotherapists use to ‘anchor’ this memory to some kind of action – such as smelling a particular scent, holding a precious stone or squeezing the thumb and finger together. Once this experience has been anchored in this light state of hypnosis, I would ask your child to imagine the situation which has been worrying them and use their anchor so that they can feel much more confident in this situation.
I use anchors with children all the time and it’s amazing the impact this technique has. So many children tell me that they feel like a superhero and we talk about their anchor as being their secret superhero power. Imagine being able to go into a scary situation and be a superhero! Children’s imaginations and ability to enter hypnosis quickly make them ideal candidates for setting up an anchor. And the good news is, the anchor can be used in any situation where your child feels unsure – not just the specific situation it was set up to be used in. I recently used hypnotherapy with a child who had come to see me about a dog phobia who started using their anchoring technique to help them overcome their night time fears.
Setting up and using an anchor is really fun, too! It’s a quick, effective and enjoyable tool which kids just love. Although your kid will benefit greatly from working with a hypnotherapist, you can use anchors with your children too. Simply by asking them to recall a situation where they’ve felt really happy or confident, imagining it in detail and then asking them to say a special word which sums up that experience at the same time as squeezing together their thumb and middle finger. You can assure them that, whenever they repeat this exercise, they will confident and in control.
If you’d like to find out more or would like to arrange a hypnotherapy appointment for your child – either at my office in Prestwick, Scotland or via Skype – please just contact me.