Emotional problems might trigger respiratory symptoms. As a result, children who have respiratory problems may benefit from a psychosocial intervention. This study determined the percentage of patients referred to a Pediatric Pulmonary Center who might benefit from self-hypnosis teaching as a psychosocial intervention. During 18 months commencing January 1, 2000, they did a retrospective chart analysis for all newly referred patients to the SUNY Upstate Medical University Pediatric Pulmonary Center. If patients displayed symptoms or signs suggestive of psychological problems, they were administered hypnosis. A pediatric pulmonologist taught hypnosis in one or two 15–45-minute sessions.
About 424 of the 725 new referrals were aged 0–5, 193 were aged 6–11, and 108 were aged 12–18. They diagnosed anxiety, habit cough, or vocal cord dysfunction in 1% of the 0–5-year-olds, 20% of the 6–11-year-olds, and 31% of the 12–18-year-olds, respectively. Hypnotherapy was administered to 1% of children aged 0 to 5, 36% of children aged 6 to 11, and 55% of children aged 12 to 18. About 75% of 81 patients who got self-hypnosis instruction for anxiety, cough, chest discomfort, dyspnea, or inspiratory difficulties returned for follow-up, and 95% of those who returned reported improvement or resolution of their symptoms. A substantial percentage of patients referred to a Pediatric Pulmonary Center appeared to benefit from self-hypnosis teaching with a simple psychological intervention.