Fight, Flight, or Freeze: Clinical Hypnosis for Building Resilience in Children and Teens with Anxiety and Chronic Illness
Lisa Lombard, PhD and Robert Pendergrast, MD, MPH
Format: MP3 Audio file download
This workshop, jointly facilitated by a child psychologist and pediatrician, examines how the use of clinical hypnosis promotes resilience and self-mastery in children and families who have been "dealt" chronic health concerns that are highly sensitive to the effects of stress and worry. Specific issues covered include severe food allergies, headaches, functional abdominal pain, and asthma. These conditions can introduce trauma (acute and/or chronic) into the lives of parents and children. For example, highly charged experiences that may evoke traumatic psychological responses include events such as an emergency room visit for anaphylaxis, learning how to use epinephrine injectors and taking them to social events, being coached on how to question adults regarding food ingredients at school and restaurants, etc. ). Some psychosocial experiences (e.g. missed school because of abdominal pain or headaches) are not acute, but become chronic or repetitive mini-traumatic moments for children and families. Additionally, the anticipatory worry and pro-active preparations required to prevent acute allergic reactions or symptom flare-ups of conditions like eczema and asthma are in some ways similar to features of traumatic experiences. Bio-behavioral management is ongoing and must take into account the developmental needs of the child. We will consider patients and families who demonstrate resilience and who are suffering. Our aim is explore how clinical hypnosis enhances positive coping with the discomfort, anxiety, and fears associated with chronic health conditions that are mediated by worry and stress.
During and at the conclusion of this session, the attendee will be able to:
- Formulate 2 possible specific treatment goals (i.e. reduce X symptom, increase Y skills, etc.) when designing hypnosis interventions for children with anxiety and chronic health concerns.recognize some of the more common ways health concerns and anxiety interact as chronic stressors in children and teens;
- Construct 2 post-hypnotic suggestions and/or metaphors to help childrenregulate distress or symptoms related to chronic health concerns;
- Identify one strategy that enhances adherence (compliance) with home assignments/ self-hypnosis practice; and
- Recognize how stress and anxiety impact illness in children and be prepared to effectively use clinical hypnosis to enhance children's sense of mastery in the face of chronic symptoms or illness.