PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Hypnosis is taking a new focus.
It’s being used more and more on children to help with everything from improving their grades to doing better at sports and even getting them to do chores.
But, some say the trend may be going too far.
Eric, 10, has ADHD. His mother doesn’t want to medicate him, but no other treatment has worked.
“We’ve tried meditation, relaxation, things like that,” Silvana Ferrer said.
She says he has trouble focusing in school, but she’s optimistic hypnosis will finally help him.
“I’m hoping for the teachers not to call me anymore,” Ferrer said. “Everybody calls me hypno mom.”
Hypnotherapist Lisa Machenberg said she’s hypnotized close to 1,000 children, including her own.
“I started hypnotizing the children at 7 months to sleep quickly, calmly, soundly and deeply all through the night,” Machenberg said.
She later hypnotized them to do better at sports and in school.
She said she’s essentially teaching Eric to hypnotize himself, to help him when he’s facing a challenging task.
After his session, a short homework session went well, and Eric hopes that continues.
“I hope it will help me because tomorrow, I have a lot of division and a lot of tests on math,” he said.
Machenberg said parents already control their children and there’s a power to be harnessed.
“Let’s learn how to use hypno-parenting to consciously influence our children to be more peaceful in the house, to have focused concentration,” she said.
Psychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez said putting kids in a trance is going too far and shouldn’t take the place of good parenting skills.
“The idea is not to gain control of your child’s mind, but it’s to teach them what’s right, what’s appropriate, what’s desirable, so they can have control over their own mind,” she said.
Mental health experts also caution child hypnosis is more appropriate to treat conditions such as extreme pain or bed-wetting – as well as serious trauma, such as the loss of a parent.