Well, it’s not surprising that I did an interview on hypnotherapy over 4 months ago and am just getting to posting it now. As you well know if you’ve followed this here blog, it’s been a whirl wind around these parts – but I’m finally seeing above the water thanks to a few days off from substitute teaching. (No, Thanksgiving break hauling two teens to San Diego, three family events, church and holiday decorating doesn’t count as downtime. And while I’m not complaining – I thrive on the busy – even this A-personality needs some time to settle down. I got it the past few days and I am ever so grateful!)
Today I spent the whole day – and I do mean the whole day – creating a new calendar system for myself. It’s not unlike a Bullet Journal, but instead of all the bells and whistles of a key and index, I am just utilizing a monthly goal list/overview/and then a day-by-day “what needs to get done” system.
(I love that I have the birthdays listed for each month also. I really want to get back to sending cards again. That’s what this beauty is for! Bought for $40 at the Salvation Army. I love me a good secretary’s desk!)
For some of you more tech driven folk, this pen to paper stuff might be a bit old fashioned. But my brain calms down when the ink hits the page… it’s meditative. Even as I type this, I can feel my insides have started to settle knowing I have a plan in place to organize myself.
Yup, for this creative, I walk a fine line between over-managing (which so rarely allows grace in) and under managing (which means my kids, their friends and their friends’ friends invade my home like feral beasts, inhaling food not unlike Audrey 2.
Of course, life is far from the perfect cubes holding everything in neat little rows on my beautiful new desk (thank you, Rex, for building it!) It’s more like the corner of my office: controlled chaos. Piles of items that are precious to me but don’t quite have a space. Photos, keepsakes and the occasional odd lot of Snoopy Christmas wrapping paper… it’s all a bit jumbled but, like so many of my dreams, it is waiting their patiently… ready for the light of day when the time is right.
And so, with that out of the way, here is the long awaited interview! Thank you, Carrie, for providing such a lovely overview of how Hypnotherapy works.
Hypnotherapy for Tics – Does it Work?
- Tell us about yourself and your kids
My name is Carrie, age 48, mom of 3 (18, 15, 13). I am an overbearing (some would use the term “helicopter”) mom. I am working on not being so overbearing, but it is a work in progress. I work full time and try not to screw my kids up too much. I tend to be a worrier and an over thinker (obsesser) and growing up I had my own OCD type of issues that I believe were passed down to my son (isn’t he lucky?) LOL.
2. What was the age of your son at the onset of his tics?
He was roughly age 10. When he was in elementary school he would shout out a particular phrase routinely. We didn’t think anything of it, thought it was cute and moved on.
How old is your son now?
He is now 18 and will be heading off to Military College in a little over a week (he chose that, not me.)
3. What are his symptoms?
It started when he was in elementary school, age 10, with him shouting out a particular phrase. He did that on and off for about a year and then it just one day went away. Then he got a sinus infection (he has allergies and is prone to sinus issues) and he then started doing this thing where he scrunched up his nose because it was either dry or stuffy. The colds would go away, but the “tic” stayed. It was like the feeling of “having to scrunch up his nose” didn’t go away after the cold did. It was noticed at a Well Child Visit with his pediatrician and by that time he couldn’t control it so the pediatrician suggested we take him to a neurologist. She diagnosed him with Chronic Tic Disorder. She said we could put him on medication, only if that was what he wanted (if it bothered him enough). He did not want to be on any medication.
One day the nose scrunching went away, but in its place he started stretching his mouth. The mouth stretching turned into a vocal tic that he would make before he started to speak. It got pretty bad at home, but when I asked his teachers (he was in junior high then) about it none of them even recognized he was doing it. I think he was trying really hard all day to suppress it, but when he got home he had to release it. At one point the vocal tic got so bad that it would cause us to not be able to understand what he was saying. That one subsided a bit (but it does come back full force if he plays too much video or computer games). Unfortunately that was when he started playing football and wearing an extremely heavy helmet for hours a day. This brought out the neck twitch and eventually the neck stretch which got so bad that he was causing himself pain and then the pain was causing him to want to stretch it. It was like a vicious cycle.
4. What had you tried before?
I tried different supplements, I really felt like Taurine helped, but he wouldn’t always take it. We went to a naturopath, changed his diet, and he was taking all sorts of concoctions (which he hated). I made him go to two different therapists/counselors with hope that they could help him redirect the movement to something else, something that wouldn’t cause him pain. Those didn’t work very much, probably because he didn’t want to be there.
5. What is hypnotherapy?
I took this from the website of the Hypnotherapist that he sees:
“A means of communication between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. Many human problems, habits, stresses, anxieties, attitudes or apparent deficiencies can be traced to interpretations by the subconscious mind which, when understood by the conscious mind, can reduce or resolve specific problems”.
6. How does it work?
From my understanding of what the hypnotherapist told us, he talks you into a relaxed state and then based on what he and the patient determine are the root cause of the issue (habit) he provides the patient with suggestions that reside in the subconscious. I haven’t asked Mathew exactly as I don’t want to jinx the positive effects by having him start thinking about the tic again.
7. Were you skeptical?
I was hopeful! Nothing else worked and I had seen an article in ACN about Dr. Lazarus and how he treated a boy that had a CHRONIC cough (tic) and in 4 sessions the boy wasn’t doing it anymore. There was also an article about a teen that was able to help control his stutter with hypnosis.
I was hoping it would work for Mathew because it appeared to my husband and I that his tics were all based on his compulsion to move a certain way, based on an obsession to a feeling (hope that makes sense).
My thoughts were that if he is this suggestable, maybe the hypnotherapist could offer him positive suggestions.
8. Is the process ongoing?
Mathew initially had two session and the results were AMAZING! Gone was the overstretching of the neck and in its place was a slight movement from either side to side or back to front. But, it was 80% better than it was. My son described it as the little movement appeased the need of the compulsion to move it. He had these results for about two months and then the stretch started become a little bit bigger movement. It was still not as often as it had been, but I was worried that it would get there so he went in for another session, just yesterday.
I think that a person should be open to on-going sessions (as needed, of course) as you never know what might trigger the tic to come back again. Mathew is going to be going to a very high stress environment when he leaves for Military College, so my thoughts are that if he needs to he can see his therapist when he is home on breaks.
9. Is it expensive?
Our insurance doesn’t cover it and the sessions were $160 each. To be honest, I would have paid just about anything to get my son some relief.
10: Why has this worked vs. others? Thoughts?
Mathew tends to over think and stress about things that are suggested to him. As an example; he was having chest discomfort because of all the swimming he was doing (his muscles were sore), so he started googling symptoms and was stressing about having a heart attack. Poor kid got that from me – I do the same thing).
I think this worked because it dealt with his subconscious, which is where the compulsion/habit is coming from.
11. Advice for parents of a child who tics?
I am still searching for answers myself. I try and tell my own self not to worry so much about my son, but as his mom I want to “fix” everything for him and I tend to obsess about doing just that (geez, wonder where he gets it from). I am trying to not worry so much, easier said than done.
What do you think?
So, what do you think? Is it something you might be interested to try for your kids or for you? Personally I’m going to give it a go for my own ruminations.
Until then, I’ll keep on blasting my essential oils (that’s Peppermint and Thieves on my desk – smells like Christmas and delicious tea) sticking to my exercise and prayer routine, and loving my sweet kids exactly as they are. Teenagers are not easy, but I find when I stop demanding so much (translation: me trying to control and manage) and stay silent (um, not easy… pass the muzzle) they are so much more willing to talk to me. And when they do, it’s quite beautiful. Even with the tics. Because love over perfection wins every time.
Until next time,
May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.