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

Am J Clin Hypn. 1992 Apr;34(4):233-44. doi: 10.1080/00029157.1992.10402853.


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 self-regulation 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 polysomnogram-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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dreams
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Imagination
  • Imipramine / administration & dosage
  • Imipramine / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / drug therapy
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology


  • Imipramine