YOUR SAY ... HYPNOSIS AND ANXIETY
Article by Claire Gibbs
Published in Autism London Bulletin, June/July 2002
Jack is ten years old and has Asperger’s syndrome. Up until recently car journeys were a nightmare! Things were really getting quite bad and Jack’s anxiety about travelling was getting worse and worse. When we were travelling on long journeys he needed to know the exact route, any hint at losing direction and he would become hysterical. Familiar routes also -- even trips to the local park could also be traumatic for him; I was worried that this anxiety would lead him into not being able to go out at all.
After some thought I decided to try hypnosis. I figured that even if it did not good, it would probably not do him any harm. I looked around for a therapist and settled on a lady in West Hampstead called Deborah Marshall-Warren. This proved to be a good choice. Deborah, whilst not having had an awful lot of experience of working with children had a wonderful manner and she and Jack hit it off straight away. I had not had any experience of hypnosis and was interested to see how it worked.
Jack was seated in a reclining chair and Deborah proceeded to put him into a state of hypnosis. I was amused to see how quickly this occurred as Jack finds it very difficult to sit still for any length of time but within a short time he appeared to be completely relaxed.
By using a series of visual images Deborah was able to talk Jack through his fears about travel and instil in his mind images of ‘helpers’ and useful phrases, which he can put to use whenever he feels worried in a travelling situation.
Jack has had two sessions of therapy now, and although the problem has not totally disappeared, it is about 75% better. He does not drive us mad on car journeys any more and is able to refer back to imaginary travelling companions put there to help him by Deborah. I was so impressed by the session that I returned to her myself for help in giving up smoking, and I am pleased to say I haven’t had a cigarette in seven months!
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