Home Articles Store Ask Del About Hypnosis About Del Testimonials For Therapists Links Contact
hypnotherapy books

Del Morrill, M.S. C.C.H


A Center for Counseling & Hypnosis
Tacoma, Washington, USA
(253) 752-1506

Starting Over

Jaime V. Pitner, MICP, RHC

It's something we'd all like the chance to do at one point or another in our lives. A fresh start, a new beginning, the chance to do things the way you really wanted to in the first place. Isn't it great when you get the opportunity to try again, without past prejudices, without the feelings of hurt, disappointment, or anger that create barriers to moving in a positive direction.

So often we begin things with such good intentions, in fact, trying to do something really good for our child. We consciously think about what we say, and how we model behavior, with the desire of a rewarding and positive effect on our children. Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, somehow it suddenly all goes wrong.

My wife, Grace, and I have set aside about 30 minutes each day, just for us. We had tried to make time for this in the evening, but, between both of our jobs it wasn't always possible. She suggested that we just set the alarm clock 30 minutes earlier, and use this time each day (that we didn't have before) to have coffee and just talk.

Often we discuss the little things that our 3 year old girl does and says, how lucky we are, and issues that we can work on together as a mother - father team.

One morning, Grace told me about a challenging incident that happened the prior day between her and our daughter. Our little girl had been coloring in the den, Mom asked her to clean up her crayons, and since it was a beautiful day, she would take her to the playground. Grace said "she was such a good girl all day, I thought she would be happy to put her things away...she loves the playground".

But, instead of putting the crayons back in the box, she scattered them across the room. This led to an unfruitful, unhappy interplay, leaving them both angry and with hurt feelings. Mom said " now clean these crayons up, like you're supposed to... or we're not going to the playground", and she left the room to give our daughter time to complete her task.

Of course when she returned to the den a few minutes later, none of the crayons were back in the box. Grace told me; " I couldn't understand why she didn't clean them up... she's usually so good about it, and she's done it so many times before with no problem"..." I didn't know what else to do...then I thought to myself...if only we could Start Over".

Looking at our little girl, who looked back with a sad stubborn face, Mom said in a calm happy tone; "how about we just start over...would you like that?"

She said "yes mommy" with a meek voice.

"OK, I'll leave the room...and come back in, and we can start all over ". Grace said that she left the room, waited a few moments, then went back in as if nothing had happened, and said; "Hi! Sweetheart...would you like to go to the playground...it's a beautiful day!"

Our girl replied; "Sure Mom!", and without any more being said, she started to pick up her crayons and put them back in the box!

"I was so relieved...and I felt so good that it worked, and she did too...we had a great time the rest of the day", Grace said. Our daughter obviously felt better that she had done the right thing, but she may not have had the opportunity to do what she really wanted to do in the first place, if she hadn't been able to Start Over.

This all made a lot of sense to me as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, because it employed all the important principles of therapeutic hypnosis, suggestion, and the most powerful ability of the unconscious mind...imagination. There are a lot of misconceptions about hypnosis, one of them being that you have to be in some sort of trance, submitting your will to the hypnotist. There is nothing further from the truth, in fact, we accept suggestions every day, although we may filter them by the critical nature of our conscious mind. Suggestions given in hypnosis are accepted only when we want them in the first place. Unwanted, or suggestions contrary to our inner beliefs, will not be accepted.

The special thing about children is that they easily accept the things that they are told by their parents or other authority figures, without the need to be in a relaxed state as adults do in hypnosis. Children under the age of 5 or 6 do not have that critical factor, that adults have, which filters information before it is accepted by the unconscious mind. In addition, children have great imaginations, it's easier for them to see beyond events with no barriers to visualizing a happy outcome.

Without knowing, Grace had employed a very effective clinical hypnotic technique for children. Knowing what our daughter really wanted, Grace helped her to do what she really wanted, by allowing her unconscious mind accept the suggestion to Start Over. Using the imagination to pretend that this was a new beginning, Mom actually left the room and walked back in to reinforce this idea.

The first thing Mom said was ;" how would you like to go to the playground" a strong positive emotional suggestion, tied with; "it's a beautiful day!", a great visualization!

These "suggestions" triggered a automatic associated response, to put away her crayons and get ready to go. But, the idea that she could Start Over allowed it all to happen!

This also works great the other way around. Grace described a situation that she used the Starting Over technique for herself. Grace asked our daughter to help her make a cake, then, while preparing the ingredients to put into a bowl, our daughter dumped a large amount of salt into the mix. " Without thinking, I snapped at her, don't do that!" Grace recounted.

Our little girl dropped her head down sadly, and retreated to her room. Grace said that she went to our daughter's room and said; "can I Start Over", "Mommy didn't mean to hurt your feelings".

She replied happily; "sure Mom!", and they returned to the kitchen to make a wonderful cake!

The Starting Over technique is great for children who have the cognitive development to understand this idea, probably ages 3 to 6. When you might employ things like Time-Outs for younger children , the Starting Over technique not only brings the unhappy moment to and end, but allows the child to move on in a positive direction. This may well be important later in life when your child is faced with challenges, when it seems like there's no way out, feeling bad about themselves and the choices they've made. The well accepted belief that they can always, Start Over, with themselves and with you, may make all the difference.

Jaime V. Pitner, MICP, RHC
To contact Jaime V. Pitner, email: JPITNER@wjhs.org





Ask Del

About Hypnosis

About Del


For Therapists