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Am J Clin Hypn. 2014 Apr;56(4):343-67.

Childhood anxiety and psychophysiological reactivity: hypnosis to build discrimination and self-regulation skills.

Abstract

Clinically anxious, worried, and fearful children and teens need clinicians' assistance in reducing their exaggerated psychophysiological stress reactivity. Affective neuroscience finds that chronic activation of the body's emergency response system inhibits neurogenesis, disrupts neuronal plasticity, and is detrimental to physical and mental health. Patterns of faulty discrimination skills, for example, over-estimation of threat and danger and under-estimation of their coping capacity, fuel this over-arousal. Similarly, contributory patterns of reduced self-regulation skills are shown by "stuck" attention to and poor control of their exaggerated psychophysiological reactivity and somatization. This article considers the literature and focuses on cognitive hypnotherapy to enhance these under-developed capacities. A case illustration highlights various hypnotic phenomena and techniques, psychoeducation, and relaxation training that address the goals of interrupting these unproductive, interconnected patterns and fostering new patterns of more realistic and accurate discrimination capacities and sturdier psychophysiological self-regulation skills.

PMID:
24938076
DOI:
10.1080/00029157.2014.884487
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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