thumbsuckingI recently met two sweet sisters who sincerely wanted to stop sucking their thumbs (actually it was their fingers rather than thumb that they constantly had in their mouths). The girls were wearing braces but still could not stop the behavior.

Their single mother was also highly motivated to have the girls stop sucking their thumgs since she was the one who had to pay for their braces.

I told the single mother about Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy and how it works. I told her I could help the girls eliminate thumb suck behavior.

Steps to eliminate thumb sucking behavior:

  1. In a comfortable location, the girls laid down on either end of the couch with mom and grandma in the room to create safety and normalize the experience.
  2. We did a short “down the stairs” induction with only five steps.
  3. Then each girl created a resource state, which was going to the beach, current in their experience since the setting was a resort in the Caribbean.
  4. Then I asked, “What would be the best thing that would happen for you (each, separately) when you stop sucking your fingers?”
  5. Both responded, “Straight teeth and no braces!”
  6. Then we did collapsing anchors, each girl imagining something gross and disgusting on her thumbs and fingers.
  7. Then I instructed them, “Okay, now wash your hands and see yourself on the beach with a beautiful smile, no braces and feeling so proud of yourself.”
  8. Instructions to Mom were, “Don’t ask them anything about their experience or ‘check up on them’. Just leave it up to them to speak about it if they want to.”

Mom was elated with the results. She reported two weeks later, sending pictures of the girls, “Hi Diane - Just wanted to drop you a quick hello and let you know that so far there have been no fingers in the mouth since we came back from vacation and they have not even needed to go back to the recording. You are fantastic!!!”

These NLP techniques work exceedingly well with children (collapsing anchors, anchoring a resource state, and rehearsing a desired future self).