Solutions and Empowerment: Pediatric Hypnosis in General Pediatrics

We recently received an unsolicited email from a colleague in Switzerland, Dr. Camilla Ceppi, a former NPHTI workshop participant (and more recently, faculty member!). We present her email below, with her permission. She begins by recounting a story that reminds us how the everyday experiences of children are interwoven with moments of wonder — hypnotic moments that build resilience through self-regulation. She then reviews how her training with NPHTI has helped her to notice, evoke, and utilize these moments in her office to empower young people in the medical setting.  We hope that you enjoy reading it as much as we did — and that you, too, will attend an upcoming NPHTI workshop to develop YOUR skills!


Today I observed two little, delicate French girls chatting and playing in front of a department store. Their sweet, light voices commented on their intense play. Scraps of conversation touched my ears. They enjoyed playing their invented story. Gorgeous to observe them move in their pretty summer dresses.

Suddenly the happy play was interrupted by the appearance of a wasp. The younger girl got scared, started to move nervously and her facial expression became tense.  The older girl showed no sign of fear. Her movements became slower. She interrupted the play and soon started to coach the younger one by telling her to start searching for something, something like a treasure. The younger girl listened, calmed down and focused on the proposed activity. She forgot about the wasp and the marvellous summer play continued.

After a couple of years working as a general paediatrician in a private office I was searching for a versatile therapeutic tool that on the one hand would support children to cope with the many different challenges of a doctor’s visit and on the other hand would evoke self-efficacy and solution strategies for various medical conditions.

Dan Kohen and Leora Kuttner, two brilliant, didactically excellent and enthusiastic teachers, introduced me in Europe to paediatric hypnosis. Finally, my experiences with the outstanding teachers Pamela Kaiser, Laurence Sugarman and many others at NPHTI conference 2010 inspired me to integrate paediatric hypnosis into my working routine.

Hypnosis has become an essential constituent of my daily practice. Leading and pacing starts at the first baby well check. The starting point of an often long lasting relationship is inviting the parents to observe their baby together, examining the baby, marvelling at this new promising life and being available as a coach for the questions and needs of the young families.

Learning pediatric hypnosis also helped to improve my observation skills. Noticing more and more nuances in the needs of various people is very helpful for developing individual therapeutic strategies with the children. The awareness of communication style expands. Delivering tailored messages of trust and confidence helps the children to help themselves more and more. Reframing difficulties leads to new insights and solutions.

The field of application of paediatric hypnosis is broad: immunisation, needle work, enuresis and encopresis, functional abdominal pain, sleeping disorders, headache, self-confidence, mobbing [bullying] at school, fear of failure in traineeship [school], fear of flying, fear of the walk to school, increased sensory perception, difficulties of swallowing pills etc.

Empowering children to remember and utilize their individual strengths and talents is efficient, cost-effective and sustainable. Ultimately paediatric hypnosis profoundly enriches  my professional work.




2 Responses to Solutions and Empowerment: Pediatric Hypnosis in General Pediatrics

  1. Lisa Lombard September 7, 2016 at 2:11 am #

    Lovely snapshot of pediatric hypnosis as a “point of view” and clinically valuable approach for supporting children and families. Thank you Dr. Ceppi. I re-posted it on the Chicago Society of Clinical Hypnosis FB page, so others could read and learn about NPHTI.

  2. christine November 29, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

    Hi I am a child psychologist with a Diploma in Clinical hypnotherapy. I am keen to receive information and learn more about hypnosis and its use with children.
    Thank you.

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