For every therapist we train and certify in hypnotherapyI always insist that the parents of their children clients be involved and experience the hypnotherapy as well. This is because most issues that children have, of course, begin in the family they are born into and continue in the families they live with. 

Because children are like little sponges in their formative years, they absorb everything that is said about and to them and take it all as factual. It is interesting that in order to adopt a child, the prospective parents are put through rigorous background checks and yet any woman who can have sex can become a mother. And any male who can have sex with a woman, can become a father. There are no background checks done, no home visits made, no physical or health exams required and no IQ tests given to ensure a good home for the prospective infant.

So obviously when children become the presenting problem, they are only displaying the tip of the iceberg. We need to see the issue that the child comes into therapy with as an indicator of what is happening at home, what chaos or abuse or neglect may be going on, and what confusing self-image has been projected onto this child.

The movie Inside Out is perfect for both parents and children to see, as it establishes communication with people of all ages. In hypnotherapy, we learn about how the brain functions, about the amygdala, the hippocampus and the limbic system and how fear, sadness, anger and joy are all processed through these systems. We also are taught how the brain processes memories, sorting experience into short-term memory, soon to be deleted, and longer term memories, stored for possible future use. Some of those stored memories are readily available and easy to access, and others are stored deeply buried in a vault. We know that hypnotherapy gives us direct access to all of these memories and past experiences, as well as to feelings and beliefs.

In the movie the first memory, at birth, is depicted as a shiny yellow glass ball that rolls down a chute onto a shelf of the control room. Of course, in the work we do with age regressions, we have realized that our first memories go back much further than our first day of life after birth. Memories go back to being in the womb and even before that also. The colorful glass balls rolling down the chutes and being stored, even down into the subconscious and the unconscious, is a powerful depiction of how vast our memory banks are.

The genius of this movie, however, is the way in which it shows the complexity of the brain, It portrays this all in brilliant Disney fantasy, colors and symbols that both children and adults can relate to. There are chambers called abstract thought and imagination land and of course all the feelings. This movie makes it quite clear that all the emotions are interwoven and all are necessary. It shows the impossibility of just having joy all the time or of trying to deny the existence of our other emotions such as fear or anger. Sometimes resolution of an internal conflict comes with retrieving a suppressed memory, or with allowing sadness, or with acknowledging a loss and grieving it.