Sleep-terror disorder in children: The role of self-hypnosis in management

Daniel P. Kohen, Mark Mahowald, Gerald M. Rosen

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38 Scopus citations


This paper describes four children, ages 8 to 12 years, with frequent, prolonged, or dangerous disorders of arousal. None had any significant psychological or behavioral problems. Each had a polysomnogram that showed sudden arousals out of slow-wave sleep associated with complex behavior. All responded to a short course of imipramine, 20 to 60 mg at bedtime, followed by and in conjunction with training in relaxation and mental imagery (self-hypnosis). Once the correct diagnosis was made, the treatment strategy was to (1) demystify the symptom complex through education, (2) establish prompt control of the symptoms with the use of imipramine, (3) train the children in selfregulation with self-hypnosis, and (4) discontinue the medication while maintaining control of the arousals. Over a 2-3 year follow-up all children remain asymptomatic. This is the first report of successful use of self-hypnosis for the treatment of polysornnogram-proven disorders of arousal in the pediatric population. Also reported are seven additional children who were treated equally successfully with hypnosis without the use of medication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-244
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Hypnosis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
"This work was supported in part by a grant from Hennepin Faculty Associates, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis. 2Presented in part to the 33rd Annual Scientific Meeting of The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, April 18, 1991, SI. Louis, MO. 3Hennepin County Medical Center.


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