Compassionate Healing Modalities for Children
Children…we all love those adorable, energetic, creative, sweet, loving, delightful, expressive little beings! But children don’t always exhibit these traits. Then, they look to adults to help restore them to their precious little selves.
As humans, we are programmed to be fiercely protective of our young, as is true with much of the animal kingdom. It is how we survive as a species. It is necessary, and that instinct cannot or will not change if we are to exist. This phenomenon is not true merely for individual families. It holds true for humankind. Recent events present a powerful example. Remember how you felt when you heard about the migrant parents and children forcibly separated at the US/Mexico border? Whether you are a parent or not, you likely felt stunned, defensive, angry, aggressive or driven to act. You may have noticed some children around you were exhibiting sadness or grief. Here is why: We are programmed to share the same experiences to remind us that we are all connected…what happens to one, happens to all.
Compassion is based on the belief that we are honoring the oneness of everyone and everything…the “all that is”. We are told that we should be sympathetic or empathetic toward others. I suggest that empathy or sympathy are only stepping-stones to compassion. We must transform the energies of sympathy and empathy into compassion. Compassion dictates that when one suffers, all suffer because of this energetic connection. Scientists are beginning to discover what shamans have always known: There is a biological component to compassion; it serves a deep, evolutionary purpose. Compassion asks us to alleviate the suffering of others. We may begin by first offering energy in the form of a loving thought to those who are suffering. We proceed by contributing time, resources or skills, using our voices or intellect, or by reaching out to inspire or partner with others.
Children are affected, consciously or unconsciously, by the suffering of others. They have had less time than adults to reprogram their thoughts to create an illusion of separateness. Thus, adults should be vigilant in observing symptoms of concern in children during tumultuous times.
My experience with children is not that of a parent, but rather that of a shamanic practitioner and spiritual counselor combined with 37 years as a public-school art educator, 25 years as a hypnotherapist (children/adults) and facilitator of children’s circles. As society has changed from decade to decade, I have observed children’s needs change. As our world is changing, children are being born more aware, more connected, more sensitive. Children who are hyper-sensitive to what is happening around them may exhibit troubling behaviors or thoughts. Many children find relief through art, music or dance activities, imaginative play or by connecting with animals and nature. There are children who need more direction. In these cases, I will partner with a pediatrician or child psychologist to help shift problematic behaviors that a child is presenting. Issues may include fears or phobias, bed-wetting, sleep difficulties, eating disorders, aggressive behavior or other social or educational concerns.
In some situations, hypnotherapy is appropriate; the exact technique differs by age or developmental level. When working with young children, I first gather information from responsible adults. I then create a script to use with hypnosis via storytelling or puppetry. This is extremely effective because that story bears a striking similarity to the child’s situation and is told with a positive, desired ending. While the child is engaged in the story (with or without puppets), the story becomes that child’s new reality because he/she is engaged at the subconscious level. The session is fun and animated, with the child deeply engaged. Older children are also open to age appropriate stories and most teens will respond to the same techniques as adults. Past Life Regression Therapy is warranted when a child describes disturbing experiences when they were in a “different body”. Only with the support of the medical or mental health professionals do I consider Past Life Regression Therapy. Cases of children’s past life experiences have been documented in the American Journal of Medicine.
For the child who exists in wonder of the natural world, shamanic practices are fitting. Stones and crystals can be used, especially by the child who intuitively knows which earth medicines they require. They will reach for them on their own when invited to enjoy my gemstone collection. Vibrational sound energy healing is another effective healing modality. Drums, rattles, gongs and other such instruments work well to release blocked energy pathways and to restore a healthy energetic flow. I encourage the child to lead or participate in the process whenever possible.
“Natural shamans”, children innately understand energy and they will enthusiastically explore things that cannot be seen nor measured by conventional methods. When guided with compassion, they will happily reclaim their adorable, energetic, creative, sweet, loving, delightful, expressive little selves!
Joyce St. Germaine, M. Ed., CHt., RYT-200 is a Certified Shamanic and Shapeshifting Practitioner, Spiritual Counselor, Certified Hypnotherapist and Past Life Regressionist, Registered Yoga Teacher, Mentor and Artist. She hosts and produces “The Sacred Journey” TV show and officiates nature-based weddings and ceremonies as a CT Justice of the Peace. Owner and director of The Sacred Journey Center for Spiritual Studies in Burlington, CT, Joyce offers private sessions, workshops and study groups for adults and children. She can be reached at (860) 675-9706, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.thesacredjourney.biz. Ask about upcoming Shamanism, Yoga, or Intuitive Development Retreats and Cruises.