Presenter: Lisa Lombard, PhD & Robert Pendergrast, MD, MPH
This workshop, facilitated by a child psychologist and pediatrician, will examine the use of hypnotherapy in promoting self-regulation and self-healing response in children and teens faced with health concerns that are sensitive to the effects of stress and worry. Issues to be covered include severe food allergies, headaches, abdominal pain, and juvenile arthritis. These conditions are often associated with poor self-regulation and autonomic nervous system imbalance. For example, experiences associated with loss of psychological self-regulation and excess sympathetic nervous system arousal include emergency room visits for anaphylaxis, learning how to use epinephrine injectors and taking them to social events, being required to question food ingredients at school, scheduled injections for disease management, etc.).
Some psychosocial experiences (e.g., missed school because of abdominal pain or headaches) become chronic stressors 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 can be associated with chronic anxiety and accompanying sympathetic arousal. The somatoform symptoms that accompany these psychophysiologic states (e.g. abdominal pain, headaches) may be the dominant symptoms for children, but these can also serve as a starting point for learning self-regulation through body awareness in clinical hypnosis. As children learn symptom self-regulation, psychological self-regulation and autonomic balance often follow.
Bio-behavioral management must take into account the child's developmental need for mastery. 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.