Overcoming Childhood Fears Empowering Kids for a Fearless Future

Overcoming Childhood Fears: Empowering Kids for a Fearless Future

Kids and teenagers often suffer from fears and phobias picked up in early childhood.

There is no reason for them to carry all their luggage into adulthood to get healing, to resolve the problems. The earlier they can resolve their problems, their limiting beliefs, their limitations in general, then they can also expand or they can use their entire potential.


When we delve into the fear and phobias topic, there are usually two types: we have isolated fears and phobias, which might be present in youngsters fear of spiders, fear of dentists, fear of the dark, fear of separation, then bullying, they’re scared. In teenagers, it’s more common to have an amateur phobia, the fear of throwing up in public, a typical thing for teenage girls. 

And then we have generalized fears and phobias. That may be a frustrating symptom, because if children or teenagers feel fear of phobia and they don’t know why, it can be scary. When there is just a general feeling and you don’t know where it comes from and why do you feel like that. And then your brain, your subconscious mind is constantly trying to resolve that problem resulting in these kids being in constant stress. 

Overcoming Childhood Fears Empowering Kids for a Fearless Future

Regarding the symptoms, how do the youngsters experience fears and phobias? What happens? When it comes to very young kids, they often cannot name the emotions they have, often talking about stomach ache, so that’s like a container and everything is thrown in there.

Even if they have another problem, they feel it in their belly. Therefore, hypnotherapy with very young kids involves not really giving it a name, but using a language they can understand. With colors they can articulate a bad feeling, “It’s in my belly, it’s red”. That takes the pressure off needing to be able to name the feeling, the emotion that they experience.


When working with teenagers, they can often talk more precisely about it. The symptoms they describe, “It’s like I can’t breathe very well anymore”, sweaty palms and the heartbeat goes strong. Hypnotherapy doesn’t treat symptoms, we go back to the cause: Why is this kid having a belly ache? Why does this youngster have a social phobia? And we go back to the root cause of the problem. That’s the fantastic thing with hypnosis, that we work with the subconscious mind, and we get the solutions much quicker.

When treating the youngsters, we can also use visual components into therapy and meet them in their world, with visual representations of emotions on cards or puzzles. Also recommended is that you always scale the negative emotions with the young clients when they’re a bit older, from zero to ten, they can scale their emotions. We can do that in the beginning of the session because oftentimes at the end of the session they cannot find the emotion anymore.

For example, the fear of throwing up in public, a teenager says “maybe it’s like a nine, I’m so scared of throwing up”. Then we do the therapy and afterwards we say “now try to find that feeling”. And very often, if we work really well, they cannot find it or if it’s like three or four, then we make one more round to get it down to zero because that is really the goal.

This is the reason it is so important to scale, in order to be able to measure the work. Another important thing is that through doing this, the child comes to realize the progress as well, so this kind of approach also makes it tangible for them. We can also use very simple puzzles to explain the subconscious mind and limiting beliefs to the children. 

Regarding the pretalk, with smaller kids it is much shorter. We don’t have to explain in depth what hypnosis is and all that it does. But we can use the visual components to explain “your brain is up here, all your thoughts, and usually there’s a little cover on it, there in your brain you have all your thoughts, for example “I like dogs”, “I don’t like to get up in the morning”.

And then we can explain to the child, “Today you can do a journey inside of your body. And you can go have a look at what’s in here because you know what? You’re the boss of your body, of your thoughts, of your heart, and you have the possibility to kick out what you don’t want anymore.

So, if there are all these fears and phobias, if we visualize this, the child can imagine. They start getting the sense that that’s how it works. And it’s very easy to imagine. We also explain to the child that only he or she can clean up in here, that we cannot do it and it’s teamwork. We always show the child how the child can help himself for herself. 

And while having this pretalk, the parents can be in the room as well. Very often with children, the parents come along to the therapy sessions, and usually it’s the mother. And they come in, we can notice if the child is very shy and fearful and insecure, the mother very often has these traits as well. Parents are often like a mirror, the children copy their parents. It is very helpful if the parents understand what we do in hypnotherapy with their children, because they can continue the process at home.

In Barbara Scholl’s book there are over 20 tools for parents to use every day, where they can strengthen the child and positively influence the programming of the subconscious mind. If they resolve their issues, they are more relaxed, they’re more secure and positively influence their children. 


It is very beautiful and empowering to tell the children that no matter what fears and phobias they have, the solution is within them, that everything they need for a happy life, all the resources are inside. In Barbara’s virtual reality program Hypnokids, the children can easily visualize using 3D virtual landscape and explore their subconscious mind and enter their body.

That is done to arrive at a destination which is the Inner Golden Center, which is right next to the heart. If we tell the children that we’re going to work with their subconscious mind, they have no clue what that really is. With this, they have an example of what it can look like.

Of course, we can always tell them in the pretalk that this is just a possible scenario, and afterwards you will explore your own Inner Golden Center. Oftentimes, young children are curious and excited to go through this process and travel inside their body and their emotions are of course encouraged. Very important for them is to be reminded of the fact that this work is teamwork and afterwards, they are the only ones who did all the work for themselves and get all the success from it. 

Overcoming Childhood Fears Empowering Kids for a Fearless Future

There are milder forms of fears and phobias that can be treated successfully, but there are also more really severe ones. In this case, sometimes youngsters dissociate from their body because their subconscious mind considers their body is not safe anymore. This can be severe bullying at school, it can also be the parents separating and the pain is so big that they want to leave their body because they don’t want to experience the emotion anymore. If we give them a journey, a destination inside of their body again and a home, then they can feel safe.

How do we really get them back into their body? We have to give them some sort of motivation, otherwise, why would they ever want to get in touch with their emotions and feelings again? Because they hurt so much and they usually block them. But if we, as therapists, make it attractive for them, then they’re also willing to try again and get back into their body and look at the negative emotions.

We can start hypnotherapy with children at the age of about four years old, going on until like 18 or young adults. With smaller children, we use direct suggestions, storytelling and also surrogate hypnosis. What is surrogate hypnosis? You may wonder. It is a fun process that uses a soft toy to exemplify information that can be used with small children to empower them –  the child brings their own soft toy and the therapist begins to demonstrate what hypnosis feels like and what they do afterwards.

The child will project their fear or phobia and related emotions onto the soft toy and then be taught to heal it. Afterwards, the child gets to remove a fear of phobia of their soft toys. So, essentially, we empower them.

Another particularity of hypnotherapy in children is the impossibility to do regression. We can work with a lot of anchors, post hypnotic. And one way we can work with anchors in children is through fragrance.

There are multiple options on the market to choose how you can specifically do this as a therapist, the idea is to have a few options of fragrance for the child to choose from and also a little container in which you can put the fragrance for them to take home. And afterwards, the kid can take this home and has the fragrance which is linked to an empowering post hypnotic anchor. The child has it, for example.

How does this work in regard to fear and phobia? It might really be that the child cannot walk to kindergarten by itself or herself. If we link the positive anchor, then the child can smell this and can walk to kindergarten or can walk past the scary dog. The parents, of course, have to be informed about what this is about because then they can continue empowering their child to use the fragrance whenever there is a scary situation. The support of the parents is very important with younger kids.

Overcoming Childhood Fears Empowering Kids for a Fearless Future

With regards to the relationship between parents and children, since pressure for success has become a big topic in our world in general, the parents feel it. They want their children to be successful, to be able to make their own living one day. The children or the teenagers also feel this pressure.

And they don’t want to let their parents down. They want to perform well at school, they want to have good grades. And the pressure has increased a great deal throughout time. And very often kids, they go blank into tests because they’re so much under pressure. Then they study at home, they know all the information at home, and once they’re in the test situation, it’s all blank. 

Older children and teenagers need to be able to understand what happens in their brain whenever they experience these kinds of situations at school. A therapist may use a visual of the brain (not too detailed) and explain what happens when the child blanks out in the test setting. We can explain the amygdala, that it is like an alarm system of our mind, and when something is interpreted as dangerous, it goes to fire off the alarm and then everything goes crazy inside of you.

All these hormones from the glands in the brain down here, like the adrenaline and noradrenaline are pushed out, all the blood and oxygen goes into the extremities because you have to run. So there’s no more blood and oxygen for the thinking part of the brain, or very little because everything goes into the extremities to get out of the situation.

This exactly happens with you and your test exams – Your amygdala goes – Alarm, alarm. Maths test. We have a bad experience. We have had very bad experiences with maths exams for many years. Now, let’s get out of here – And then what happens? The frontal cortex, the thinking part of the brain where the maths should happen, goes blank. Now, by simply explaining this process, there is such a relief for the teenager who suffers from anxiety or fear of test exams. Once we explain what is inside and how this works, they get back a sense of control. 


Then we can go and resolve the source of why they are having these bad emotions. Plus, they learn how to talk to their amygdala and say “hey, relax, we studied at home. All is fine. You did it at home. Relax. And I’ll do that test now.” Most teenagers usually like that a lot as a comparison. So the amygdala is the headquarters for fear and phobia and they can understand that. 

There are multiple creative and resourceful ways to work with small children and teenagers through their fears and phobias. A therapist can harness the power of creative and fun visual components to explain to their little patients what happens in the mind and in the body when they experience bad thoughts, emotions and physical reactions. This creates an environment for young minds to become curious and understand themselves, leading to the ultimate goal of feeling empowered to heal themselves.

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