Reinforcement

We encourage — but do not demand—that our patients practice their skills in hypnotic pain control, using variations or new methods as they see fit. The more confident children are of their ability to use these skills, the more likely it is that they will use them whenever it is appropriate to do so. Other methods of reinforcement include selected use of audiotapes, videotapes, parents acting as therapeutic allies, group meetings, and communication with other patients who have successfully used hypnotherapy for pain control.

After several practice sessions, the therapist can ask the child which type of relaxation or imagery exercise is most helpful. This can be taped and placed over the child's favorite music, if he or she wishes, and made available on a Walkman-type recorder during procedures. The child can also be encouraged to tape himself guiding himself through a relaxation exercise; this can also be placed over favorite music. Therapists should also encourage children who are skilled in pain control to help the therapist coach other children. This gives confidence to the child who is teaching, and the learner will trust that other child.

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