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


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

Hair pulling (Tictotelemania) Part I

I appreciate so much being able to access your site/other questions from other therapists re this terrible compulsion. My client is a darling 11-year-old. I have met with her three times-----she is going a week at a time now without pulling, which is a record for her-----has been pulling (her hair) for nine months now, to the point where she must wear a scarf to school to hide the terrible baldness at front of her head. There seems to be for this client a particular fascination with the root of the hair. I had read of this aspect to the compulsion. I have used your scripts for locating the source and for the direct suggestions re this issue. I appreciate reading your answer to a similar question from another therapist who is in rather a similar situation to mine, in that the parents get anxious for results (understandably). I am still new enough in working with children that I am not sure how "deep" I need to try to lead this child. She is very compliant and seems eager to make progress------but she is very "antsy" in the chair---which I know is typical with kids in general, and particularly with compulsions involved. My hunch is to spend some extra time at this week's appointment working with her in self hypnosis------which, by the way, I would like to know a method you teach kids for that. Please advise.

Sounds to me as if you are doing just fine. I wouldn't worry unduly about "how deep" with a young child. I'll notice them wiggling all over the chair, and sometimes opening their eyes; yet they still pick up what I'm saying--and changes happen. They simply don't have the blocks and expectations of what hypnosis ought to be, so you can be far more flexible in what you do. I've read a story or given suggestions while a very young child colors designs that lead the eye inward, with great success I've given a child a magic stone to make themselves feel better, physically, without using traditional hypnosis, and it worked because she expected it to. Rule of thumb, I'm finding out, is the older the child the more you probably have to move toward more typical inductions and expect quieter body responses. I've found that "antsy" children may be more effectively worked with if you lead them into 2 or 3 short hypnotic sessions within the time they are with you - get them relaxed, talk to them or tell a story for a few minutes, bring them out and have them share with you about most anything, then have them close their eyes again, etc. etc. 10 minutes max is all that's needed in any one time, but you can do several 5-10 minute sessions within the 40-45 minutes they're with you. I had one girl who changed a habit by my merely suggesting she think of a particular animal whenever she had the problem. Ultimately, it led to my script on "being animals."





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