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PERSONAL EXPERIENCES: Teens

"Betsy" was a high school student who struggled with anxiety and perfectionism. She had troubles sleeping and was generally feeling unhappy and overwhelmed. She had supportive parents who tried to reduce the pressures she experienced from school. She had been to a therapist and knew that she would be better off if she stopped putting so much pressure on herself, but she wasn't able to change. Betsy was desperate for help.

I talked briefly to her dad on the phone. He said she was a good communicator and thought she would be comfortable coming in for a session by herself. When he dropped her off, I invited him in for a bit. I explained hypnosis and EFT to them both and showed them a brief entertaining video about EFT. I asked her if she preferred that her dad stay or leave and she didn't care, so dad decided to leave.

I asked Betsy if she would be willing to give the EFT a try. I told her, "You usually feel a little silly at first, but once you get used to it, it feels really good to most people." She was a great sport about it and we did a few rounds.

Betsy had a terrific response to the EFT. After just two rounds she said she felt lighter and calmer than she had since she was 10 years old and spent the afternoons reading in a tree. This was great to hear, and we went on to "tap" about all the stresses in her current life. After about 20 minutes she said she felt really, really tired. This is a common response to EFT for people who have been carrying a lot of stress in their bodies. The acupressure rebalances the body so deeply for some people that they now can relax in a way they hadn't previously been able to do.

Betsy was beautifully prepared, now, to enter into a delightful hypnosis session. She was happy to settle back in the recliner, close her eyes and relax. I began with slow breathing and relaxation suggestions. Then I painted a verbal picture of  what she had described to me earlier: sitting in the fork of a broad old tree, the sun dappling her book, a bird singing nearby; looking up and seeing a vivid blue sky through the soft green leaves; feeling the roughness of the bark and enjoying the coolness of the bottle of lemonade she had brought up with her. As I continued to describe the scene, using information she had given me earlier, the smile on her face became more and more radiant. I then counted from 10 down to 1 stating that the numbers would help her relax more and would strengthen these feelings of relaxed comfort and happiness through all levels of her mind and body. I suggested that she would be feeling these feelings of delight many times throughout the day, that no matter what she was doing, she would always have these good feelings available to her, by just taking in a few deep breaths.

I ended the session on that note. I knew that directly addressing some of her specific challenges in the first hypnosis session risked interfering with her inner mind's ability to simply recall and reconnect to the feeling of happiness and contentment.

I told her she should use the CD every night at bedtime and we scheduled a session for two weeks in the future to take the next step.

Betsy called me after a week to cancel the second session. As sometimes happens, the first session really resolved the issues for her and got her on such a positive track she felt there was nothing she needed help with, now. She was sleeping great, waking up refreshed, and her schoolwork no longer seemed overwhelming. She was actually having fun now, and didn't even mind the large work load she was carrying. She said that the challenge of fitting everything in now felt like "doing a puzzle" and she had always loved puzzles. She continued to use the CD most nights but felt she would be fine without it. She was teaching herself to do self-hypnosis and could replay the CD in her own head, now, without ever even turning it on.

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