It would be great if we could keep fear and phobia, anxiety and distress, out of childhood. Or, at least, the more extreme forms which become debilitating and limiting. It’s concerning that mental health services are overwhelmed, and waiting lists for support and treatment continue to grow. And it’s particularly worrying for parents, who see the struggles of their child with, at times, limited or no access to support. There are, though, other ways of overcoming overcoming childhood anxiety.
I would love to be able to say that coaching, NLP and hypnosis can solve all mental health issues This, though, is definitely not the case. Where coaching, NLP and hypnosis can help is with anxiety that’s the result of the “fight or flight” response getting into overdrive. It can also help with the phobias which can affect us at any time in our lives.
I recently worked with a young man, aged 10. His fear of going to the dentist meant that he could not sit in the dentist’s chair, he wasn’t able to tip his head back and open his mouth wide, and he wouldn’t tolerate the dentist putting anything in his mouth. Trips to the dentist resulted in him standing up, opening his mouth and the dentist doing a visual check. Visits, which he would start so optimistically, would end in tears.
One of the amazing things about children is how accepting and willing to experiment they usually are. They just accept and absorb stuff, without that pesky “why” question getting in the way. The young man talked about his fears, we defined a “queasy” scale (his choice of word) and what a good outcome would be for him. We messed around with his phobia, we created a model scenario, and we ran a phobia cure with the slightly bonkers “Baby Shark” as the soundtrack. He was in charge at all times, his answers were always the right ones and the best ones because they were the honest ones. And that was the deal, be honest.
He didn’t make it into the dentist’s chair. He did open wide and tip his head back, and the dentist used a mirror to check his teeth. He was ecstatic. I was ecstatic for him. His parents were delighted. And the dentist, well she now has “Baby Shark” as an earworm. I wonder what we can do about that!