Hypnotherapy for Children

Children, like grown-ups, can thrive when all of their basic needs are met. As parents, we are tasked with nurturing our children so that they can be their best. NLP and Hypnotherapy for children can help if your child has a fear, habit or behaviour that is holding them back.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs dates back to 1943 and underpins his theory of motivation. The psychologist, Abraham Maslow, noticed that humans have 5 different kinds of need.

To survive we need:

  • Physiological: Food, water, warmth and rest – Basic needs to survive!
  • Safety: Security and protection – Shelter and resources!

To thrive we need:

  • Social Belonging: Family, friends, colleagues, community – Love, care and support!
  • Self-Esteem: Self-respect and belief – A sense of purpose and passion!
  • Self-actualisation: Living according to one’s full potential – Being the best version of you!

Maslow believed that we work up from the bottom and it’s only when the basic needs have been met that we can move up to the next level.

What if our basic needs aren’t met?

In a nutshell:

  • Physiological: Physical neglect causes a person to perish and is detrimental to health and well-being.
  • Safety: Living in a state of fear causes worry, stress and anxiety; ultimately leading to ill-health and burn-out.
  • Social Belonging: As social beings, a lack of belonging [loneliness] affects emotional well-being and mindset; so, the ability to relate to others is crucial.
  • Self-esteem: Low self-respect and a lack of self-belief compounds anxiety and can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy that one “can’t” rather than “can”.
  • Self-Actualisation: Inability to meet one’s potential leads feelings of frustration and ultimately failure.

So, what are the issues that Children and Young People face that can be addressed with Hypnotherapy and NLP?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need Issues faced by Children and Young People
Self-Actualisation Behaviour Problems, Learning & Exams, Goal Setting & Achievement
Self-Esteem Ego-strengthening & Self-Esteem, Tics & Habits [e.g. Nail biting, Hair Pulling]
Belonging Friendship Issues & Being Bullied, Separation Anxiety
Safety Anxiety, Fears & Phobias, Compulsive Actions & Obsessive Thoughts, Toileting Issues
Physiological Sleeping Difficulties – Getting to Sleep, Staying Asleep, Bad Dreams & Nightmares, Bedwetting

What is Hypnotherapy and NLP? And what is that makes them suitable for Children and Young people?

Hypnotherapy is a solution-based approach that is deliver in hypnosis or trance.

Trance is an altered state of consciousness, when you go inside and relax down to that focused place when you’re not quite sure if you’re awake or asleep. During, hypnosis, a therapist can work with your inner mind to support you to make the changes you seek at an unconscious level. This is a game changer for anyone wanting to change an unconscious behaviour or habit and finds that however consciously they want to stop a behaviour, they still feel an urge or compulsion to do it.

During Trance, the therapist will use a range of techniques that may include but won’t be limited to Suggestion Therapy, Metaphors [Stories] NLP and CBT. Visualisation is also used to train the brain.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming [NLP]
NLP is a whole methodology for change that includes coaching, suggestion, metaphors and some wonderful and easy techniques that support transformational or long-lasting change. A NLPer, will teach you and/or your children to use great techniques to manage your emotional state and to make changes happen at an unconscious level.

NLP and Hypnotherapy for Children and Young People

Clinical Hypnotherapy and NLP Training, for me, were preceded by a 25-year career in primary education and school leadership. So, first and foremost, I’m a teacher. My core purpose was and still is LEARNING!

If you’re a parent or teacher reading this article, I know that I don’t need to tell you that children and young people learn best when they are curious, active and enjoying themselves

Hypnosis and NLP enable our younger and youngest clients to learn great techniques, many of which they can ultimately develop the independence to use by themselves.

In my experience, Children and Young People are open to NLP and Hypnosis and have far fewer misconceptions than adults. They love to imagine and are used to learning through stories, making them great trance subjects.

Some therapy techniques rely on a higher level of maturity, so you are reliant on the flexibility and creativity of a good therapist who knows how to adapt of fine tune the process to be just right for your child or teenager.

Hypnotherapy for Children – Client Stories

In the following stories, I briefly share a few examples of NLP and Hypnosis with children and young people that I’ve had the privilege to work with.

They are included to give you an understanding of some of the issues that I’ve worked with, the processes used and the likely outcomes.

Please be aware that there’s no guarantee with Clinical Hypnotherapy and NLP. However, clinical audits generally show a significant reduction in most symptoms.

Story 1 – NLP for Children on Entry to School

Girl [G], Aged 5, Showing Symptoms of Separation Anxiety
G. was in my reception class. Each day she cried on arrival and was desperate for a family member to stay close by. She would take time to settle but generally enjoyed her school day with the support of a known adult to settle her. This could mean a late start to learning, or a later start to work for Mum or Dad.

On one occasion, G. was so distressed that she ran after her parent when they turned to leave the school gate. At this point, I spoke to the headteacher and parents for permission to use my NLPing skills to help.

The process was simple and the results life changing for the family.

Tanya: What do you want?
G: I want to smile so that Mummy knows that I’m happy at school.
Tanya: So let’s remember a time when you were smiling and feeling the happiest at school.
G: When I was wearing my butterfly wings and I was chasing baby bear in the woods!


  1. G. was then asked to remember playing in the woods and notice that great feeling inside.
  2. Tanya then used NLP Anchoring [Stimulus and Response] so that G. instantly felt smiley and happy on arrival to school because the stimulus response was attached to visual schools that she always saw on arrival.


Thereafter, G. came in happily every morning.

Story 2 – Hypnotherapy for Children with Toileting Issues

Boy [B], Aged 11, Toileting Issue [Frequent Urination]
B’s Mum contacted Tanya because he wanted to “wee” every 10-15 minutes. This was adversely affecting learning because he had to leave the classroom [or zoom call] frequently.

B. was also anxious about going out and about unless he knew that he could get to a toilet quickly. The only thing on his mind when going to a friend’s house was, “Where’s the toilet?”

The family were disturbed every night because each time B. got up for the loo, he couldn’t settle back to sleep on his own.

Again the process was simple and life changing for B. and his family.

B. told me that he wanted to be able to play for longer and to sleep without getting up for the loo!


  1. Tanya met with the family and chatted about the issues. The medical profession had confirmed that there was no physical reason for B’s symptoms.
  2. Tanya and B. looked at how the bladder works.
  3. Tanya asked B. to close his eyes and go inside. She then supported B. using Parts Therapy to have a chat with his inner mind, specifically that part of him that wanted to wee so often. Once the part had shared the positive reason for the behaviour, Tanya supported B. to “have a word” with it and negotiate a better way forward. The part agreed!
  4. Trance Work: Tanya then supported B. to build a Control Room in his mind [Visual Metaphor] to increase the capacity of his bladder, visualise it working well and then picture himself enjoying his learning, activities and sleep undisturbed.


B. now goes to the toilet at break and lunchtime and enjoys a full night’s sleep. B’s parents bought one of Tanya’s packages so B. also got to help Tanya to compose a bedtime story designed to support him to gradually achieve success with a more varied diet.

Story 3 – Hypnotherapy for Children with Tics and Habits

Girl [G], Aged 8, Childhood Tic [Facial]

G’s Dad contacted Tanya because of a sudden onset tic that occurred after a friendship issue. He wondered how hypnotherapy for children can help.

Tanya met with both parents and the little girl online and the tic occurred for the duration of the call.

We didn’t talk about the actual tic because Mum and Dad were sensibly ignoring it. When the little girl mentioned it, Tanya said that she had noticed and that was one of the things Tanya can help with.

The friendship issue was upsetting and causing anxiety for the young person too.

Process [4 session treatment plan overview]

  1. Tanya taught G. all about how anxiety works and how to stop it in its track using a range of breathing exercises.
  2. Tanya taught G. how to use self-hypnosis to relax and visualise her day going well. This included teach G. how to relax all muscles including the facial tic.
  3. Tanya used NLP anchoring techniques to support G. to manage her feelings better.
  4. Trance work: Tanya used a number of NLP techniques in trance to help G. to feel better about an incident that had occurred with a friend.
  5. Bedtime Story: Tanya and G. chatted about G’s request for a bedtime story. G. had a great imagination and gave Tanya all sorts of ideas to include. Tanya then spent a day composing and recording the bespoke story using the Milton Model [Metaphor]. The story included indirect suggestions to settle the tic whilst G. enjoyed her sleep time adventures.


Tic eliminated and young person was able to “move on” from the friendship issue.

Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is not is not intended to be a substitute for medical/obstetric advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of you GP or other qualified healthcare advisor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have seen on a website.