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


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

Traumatized Child

Over the last five years I have been quite successful in helping people to give up smoking and others with weight loss, but I am now being asked if I can help with something which, in my view, makes the other problems seem almost trivial. A complete stranger attempted to abduct a ten year-old boy. The boy struggled so much that eventually his would-be abductor let him go, jumped back into his vehicle, and drove off. Understandably, the boy has been left traumatized. He will not go out without being accompanied by an adult. He won't walk anywhere by himself, as he used to do near his home. He is constantly on the lookout, worrying over anything at all out of the norm. Moreover he will not discuss the matter of the attempted abduction with his parents. As a matter of urgency, would you be kind enough to offer me some guidance. How should I proceed? Is it necessary to go through an induction process with a ten year-old child as with an adult? If it is, do you have an appropriate script? If not, would your story of the of the Wicked Wizard in GREAT ESCAPES Volume II, after preliminary discussions with the child, (and parents), be sufficient to "entrance" the child and thus achieve the objectives, (of giving the child back his confidence, lessening his fears and strengthening his ego whilst maintaining a healthy wariness of strangers)?

You do have a challenge. I believe that, with television and other media playing up the kidnappings of children, even from their own homes, probably every child, today, has a built-in anxiety, much like women do with the fear of rape. Currently, this child feels totally without control over what might happen to him. The trick is for him to feel brave and in control, yet not naive enough to trust strangers who might do him harm. Unfortunately, this is the kind of world we are in - it's such a shame. So any script or technique that can help him feel he is in control as much as possible will help him. I think the wicked ogre and marvelous wizard script would be effective AFTER you use my problem-solving script, in GREAT ESCAPES Volume IV. The problem-solving script allows the child's deeper mind to change the fearful imprints into something less difficult for him The story you mentioned could follow that, with the child throwing stones, named FEAR, into the water. Have the child name each fear he has and throw each stone in. He should include a stone called ?kidnapper,? throwing it into the water to the deepest area he can reach, getting rid of it forever. Another possibility is to have balloons in your office that he can blow up, write the fear on the side of each and then pop it. For want of balloons, have him print the fear on paper (one to each sheet) and then burn the pieces in some container (very controlled environment) and have him flush them down the toilet. You can suggest that he do this again, at home, with his parents present. (By the way, this would also allow him to have a more objective way of involving his parents in the traumatic experience he had.) Another idea is to have the child tell you what animal he feels is the bravest in the world; or, you could have him tell you what person is the bravest in the world. For instance, does he have a hero or heroine? Then the child, whenever he feels afraid, can pretend to BE that animal or that person. This gives the child a sense of being in control, as does throwing stones into the water or popping balloons. (You will find a couple of other suggestions in last month′s Q and A concerning handling anxiety with children.) A caution - You must not get rid of FEAR entirely, but only what the child is fearful of that can't harm him any longer. We all need fear, or we'd do stupid things. The problem is when the fear arises when there is nothing to fear. For instance, have the child thank his FEAR part for helping him when he is in real danger, but tell that part that it needs to rest until there is real danger - Then, it′s to come out right away. Then have the child learn to call out the BRAVE and HAPPY parts (or whatever else the child needs) to be present with him, at other times. I'll be delighted to hear from you after your sessions with this child. Remember, you don't have to do everything all at once - you may need more than one "dumping" or "getting-rid-of" session.





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