Joseph, assuming you have correctly assessed the situation is step one. Let’s say you have. You stated that you “gave him the suggestion” that he could have that positive experience when he might gag in the future. That sentence alerts me to remind you and other readers that the key element to success using hypnosis is not suggestion – it is experiential learning. In other words, you would be far better off to have asked him to initiate the gagging and then associate to the relaxation and positive experience to interrupt it vis “suggesting” that he can do this. That is to say, words are nothing – experience is everything. Have him actually make the experience chains from a to b in the trance (insisting upon some safe guards and limits to his depth of discomfort). That is step two.
Now, what about the assessment? I am always skeptical that a child (any living thing) can develop independently from the context of the family (environment). So, unless you have an iron clad antecedent that explains the exception, I suspect you are overlooking the family dynamics, unfulfilled needs and behaviors, reinforcing communication of the parents, and other interpersonal factors at play in this case. Nevertheless, people are pretty eager to change out of blind alleys and your interventions may effect this particular change. Still, they are in your office…offer a change that embraces the big picture and not just the presenting symptom, if applicable.
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