PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hypnosis has taken on a new focus as more and more parents are now putting their kids under a hypnotic trance, but some say the practice may be going too far.
Eric Ferrer-Alfaro, 10, has HDHD. His mother doesn’t want to medicate him, and nothing else has worked. She’s turned to hypnotism.
“We’ve tried meditation, relaxation, things like that,” Silvana Ferrer said.
She said he has trouble focusing in school, and she’s optimistic this will help.
“I’m hoping for the teachers not to call me anymore, or at least call me less,” Ferrer said.
Hypnotherapist Lisa Machenberg said she’s hypnotized close to 1,000 children, including her own.
“I started hypnotizing the children at 7 months to sleep quickly, calmly, soundly, and deeply all through the night,” she said.
She later hypnotized them to improve their performance in sports and at school.
She said she is essentially teaching Eric to hypnotize himself, which will help when facing a challenging task.
“Whenever you want to focus you breathe in on the on the word powerful,” he said.
As Machenberg explained, the hypnosis allows him to complete homework assignments.
“When he wants to sit and do his homework, when he needs to listen to the teacher, when he needs to curb his impulses — all he needs to do is breathe in that power word and it resets the neutrons,” she said.
Afterwards, a short homework session went well, and Eric hopes that continues.
“I hope it will help me because tomorrow I have a lot of division and a lot of tests on math,” he said.
Machneberg said there’s power to be harnessed.
“Let’s learn how to use hypno-parenting to consciously influence our children to be more peaceful in the house, to have focused concentration,” she said.
Psychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez said putting kids in a trance is going too far and shouldn’t take the place of good parenting skills.
“The idea is not to gain control of your child’s mind, but it’s to teach them what’s right, what’s appropriate, what’s desirable, so they can have control over their own mind,” she said.
Mental health experts say hypnosis is more appropriate to treat conditions such as extreme pain or bed wetting, or serious trauma such as the loss of a parent.