Alternative approach for children facing exam stress

Children and teenagers face all kinds of stresses in modern society, despite their tender years. A common pressure experienced by all school-age kids is the dreaded exam – whether it’s primary school SATs or the crucial secondary school GCSEs and A-levels, few if any youngsters would say it’s a process they look forward to or enjoy. And now, the pressure is starting to build as the exam period comes into sharper focus.

Last year, figures released by the NSPCC for 2016/17 showed an increasing number of young people were seeking help for exam-related stress, with the charity’s ChildLine service delivering more than 1,000 counselling sessions to youngsters worried about their exam results. Many mentioned anxiety and low mood, with some saying they were struggling to cope with the pressure to do well and achieve top grades. The figures reinforce concerns that young people are being put under increasing pressure to achieve good grades, as schools are held to account for each year group’s performance.

Parents might struggle to know what they can do to support their offspring through these worrying times so they may well be glad – and possibly surprised – to hear about an alternative approach to coaching children using hypnotherapy techniques.

Internationally renowned clinical hypnotherapist Sheila Granger believes her methods, which are practised by a network of accredited therapists around the UK and beyond who have undertaken her training, can help young people cope with these fraught experiences in as little as three short sessions.

Focus on therapy

“There’s still a perception out there that hypnotherapy is just about entertainment or it’s some kind of quackery but the key part of the word is ‘therapy’,” said Sheila. “My methods are a million miles away from the ‘hypnotist’ stage shows of putting people in a trance and getting them to do silly things. I use safe, evidence-based clinical techniques that aim to help people change the way they think and give them strategies to manage challenging situations.”

And it’s not unusual now for children to benefit from this kind of therapy. “It’s definitely becoming more mainstream both for adults and children,” said Sheila. “The techniques are not dissimilar to ‘mindfulness’, with an emphasis on relaxation, self-awareness and promoting a feeling of calmness in body and mind. They are simple enough for children as young as five to comprehend and use.”

Sheila and her network of therapists, who practise in countries all across the globe, focus on teaching her clients of all ages how to use mind-management techniques to help the brain relax, reduce anxiety and focus on what can be achieved rather than what can’t. “We see things more clearly when we take a step back and relax, then it’s easier to turn any negative thoughts into positive ones where we focus on performing at our best and visualise a situation going exactly the way we want it to,” Sheila added.

Exam stress

For most youngsters, school tests and exams are their first encounter with pressure and stress, and it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Sheila said: “This is not something we are taught how to deal with and it can lead to young people focusing on the stress and negative self-talk. Hypnotherapy can help to quieten this inner voice and strengthen their mental images of success and its associated feelings.”

The practical and simple techniques Sheila advocates can be explored during one-to-one sessions between the hypnotherapist and client, who is then able to practise them at home, at school, and in the exam hall. Sheila has worked with many children and young people and has a high success rate, with most requiring no more than three one-hour sessions, each a week apart. She has also coached children in group sessions at a number of East Yorkshire schools. Ultimately the youngsters are being taught skills that they might not otherwise access which can be applied to many situations, not just exams. “They are learning coping mechanisms and ways of managing how they think and feel that they can use throughout life in almost any challenging or stressful circumstances,” added Sheila.

“Children’s mental health is something we are constantly reading or hearing about in the news. My approach is not a solution for serious mental health problems, which should involve the relevant children and adolescent mental health services, but it can help prevent low-level anxieties escalating into higher-level mental health issues.”



Parents and schools are welcome to contact Sheila by ringing her on 01482 638198 or emailing

For more information about the team of practitioners who have trained under Sheila and to see if there is one available in your area, visit her website

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