Having just read a book on bibliotherapy for bereaved children this clearly presented and delightfully illustrated book on the use of hypnotherapy to treat children seemed a natural progression, leaving me excited by both.
It is stressed in section one, the clinical section of the book, that the stories in section two be used only by clinicians with appropriate training, and although the basic paradigm of harnessing the power of a child's imagination is not new I would strongly reinforce this suggestion.
There is a helpful page for parents to read giving information about hypnosis, which I believe would serve to allay any fears most parents may have about this type of treatment. It explains that "when a properly trained and credentialed healthcare professional uses hypnosis as part of treatment, it is called hypnotherapy'. The hypnotherapist acts as a coach or facilitator, guiding the child's daydreams using stories, guided imagery and suggestions to build self-control over physical and emotional problems. This section stresses that although hypnosis makes it easier for people to experience therapeutic suggestions, it does not force them to have these experiences.
In section two of this book there are 32 stories about animals in the fictitious Ashland Zoo, which can be used to help treat a variety of childhood problems ranging from general anxiety and insomnia to very specific problems such as fear of the dark and enclosed spaces, phobias, habits, physical pain, obsessive-compulsive disorder and death. As some of the therapeutic interventions are problem specific, the author suggests the clinician either reads one of the stories with the child or adapts the techniques outlined in the story to their own style and needs of the child.
Marlene Worry Warthog is a story aimed to help children suffering from general anxiety to gain some control over their thoughts. Her imagination is compared to an elevator that can take her up to wonderful places, or down to a place she would rather not be. She also learns to create a trash receptacle for all her "what-if' worries.
Although not stated I believe that these stories are aimed at 3 to 12 year old children, depending upon the particular child's developmental stage and intellectual abilities. The stories vary in length and some children with poor attention span may struggle to concentrate for the length of time needed. This is obviously one occasion when the trained clinician would adapt to the child's needs.
Having read and enjoyed this book it seems a pity that there are not more trained clinicians trained to use the hypnotherapy techniques outlined, as I know from personal experience that many children suffer problems that are not taken seriously by their parents and certainly not treated appropriately!