Hypnosis in pediatrics

Dr. Barbara Adinolfi Physician, Pediatrics Specialist Certified Neonatologist and Infant care Specialist Master in Ericksonian Clinical Hypnosis
It is a common experience among pediatricians who work with families to feel powerless when facing a child whose physical suffering is secondary to a more important psychological one.
Clear physical symptoms are often observed in situations in which no clinical condition is present and the pathological anamnesis provides no useful information.
It was in these cases that I deeply felt my limits, when I had to leave the families of my little patients almost alone in facing an illness that was not physical enough for me to take care of, but still not psychological enough for me to suggest a neuropsychiatric consultation. Psychotherapy is reserved to more severe cases in public healthcare settings and to richer individuals in private practice.
After having attended the Master’s Degree course in Ericksonian Hypnosis I am able to personally take care of this type of patients rapidly and effectively.
Both patients and families happily accept hypnotic techniques, they immerse themselves in a new, non-invasive experience that takes place naturally.
Children generally experience hypnotic trance as a game, but the subconscious mind registers the work that we do together and produces changes, letting needs and sensitive aspects, which are often ignored or neglected by the parents, emerge.
Their role during the hypnotic work is crucial, just as that of their sons and daughters. Without the parents’ mediation, in fact, I would be unable to understand the meaning of certain sentences or expressions. I am not only referring to the common lexical difficulties of a 5 years old kid, but, most of all, to the selective descriptions, which are only in part adherent to reality, which are produced even by older children while in trance.
Messages that I can only partially comprehend are put into words and parents immediately understand them because they are their true addressees.
Thus, active collaboration of parents and great attention of the pediatrician who practices hypnosis towards the emotional load of the family are essential to maintain balance during the developmental processes of the subconscious mind.
One may wrongly believe that the professional load of a pediatrician who, on the average, is responsible for a thousand patients, is incompatible with the quietness and time that the hypnotic work requires.
Actually we are lucky doctors because we usually see the newborns grow, change into children and then into boys and this process doesn’t leave us indifferent.
We often possess a huge amount of information that patients provide us over the years and that allow us to see, without needing formal requests, if changes in their mental wellness quality occur.
Along with growth and blood pressure curves we should keep track of psychological wellness.
If we could intervene on children’s problems with the right timing and sensitivity, the time that we would save, in terms of diagnostic examinations, check-ups and additional tests for patients who never seem to recover, would be remarkable. The social cost sustained by the community, which is usually the one that has to pay for malpractice, would also be lowered.
But clearly, it is the smile of a child that is most satisfying.
There are those who use to put sugar on pills, my pills don’t need it because my patients don’t need to swallow them; my pills, even though “just” mental, are still surprisingly effective.