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Guided Age Regression vs. Involuntary Age Regression Treatment

Age regression, voluntary or involuntary, occurs when someone reverts back to a younger age both mentally and behaviorally. Commonly, many associate age regression with entering a childlike state of mind, but age regression doesn’t necessarily mean regressing to childhood.

Whether you age regress a couple decades or only a couple years, it is still age regression. Many children will experience temporary forms of regression, and it is usually normal. However, in adults, age regression is often employed as a coping mechanism in response to stress and trauma.

Examples of Age Regression

Age regression can be subtle, or it can be very obvious. Some more severe examples, even of voluntary age regression, include baby talk, bed-wetting, temper tantrums, physical aggression, or a loss of ability to complete basic tasks.

More subtly, you may even recognize some of these symptoms of involuntary age regression in yourself: chewing on a pen or pencil, crying in a fetal position, pacing, or using a doll or stuffed animal for comfort. These are just a few examples; there are a variety of ways that emotional regression takes form.

Age Regression as a Trauma Response

Those who have experienced trauma, especially at a younger age, are the most likely to age regress. The adults most at risk of involuntary or voluntary age regression as a trauma response are those lacking other coping mechanisms. For example, an adult experiencing abuse may not know how to make themselves feel better and respond. So, they may regress to a younger mindset and behave in a childlike manner.

Health Conditions and Age Regression

A variety of both mental health and general health conditions can also trigger age regression. Involuntary age regression can be a symptom of a variety of conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and dementia. Voluntary age regression, on the other hand, can be used as a coping mechanism for relief from feelings of stress, anxiety, and panic.

Autism and Age Regression

Age regression occurs more frequently in those diagnosed with autism than any other health condition. There are many age regression symptoms, such as language loss and other social skills. A minority of those diagnosed with autism will also experience regressive symptoms relating to motor skills.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Age Regression

Individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder experience emotions intensely and often find them difficult to manage. The usual coping mechanisms that may help someone without borderline personality disorder may not help them, so voluntary age regression is a common strategy for coping with extreme emotions.

Guided, voluntary age regression can be a beneficial inclusion to other forms of therapy for those suffering from borderline personality disorder, as many people with this disorder suffered trauma at a very young age. To address involuntary age regression symptoms, therapy can provide affected individuals with new coping mechanisms to replace the need to regress.

Regression Therapy for Anxiety

While adults lacking quality coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety may age regress, regression therapy can actually be a solution for anxiety. Oftentimes, voluntary age regression therapy involves hypnosis, ensuring the client is open to suggestion. This can help if a client is harboring repressed emotions that they have struggled to express in a conscious state.

Many times, children who experience trauma suppress and bury the traumatic events deep in their subconscious. By regressing the client to that younger age, those memories can be brought to the surface where a qualified therapist can help release them. Many adults who undergo regression therapy for anxiety find it to be helpful, especially as a first step in taking control of their mental health.

Age Regression FAQ

Yes, voluntary age regression can involve engaging in behaviors akin to a young mental and emotional frame of mind, such as chewing on a pencil while stressed during the workday. You can also engage in guided age regression as a therapeutic intervention with the assistance of a qualified mental health counselor.

Involuntary age regression is a potential symptom of many health and mental health conditions. For example, without realizing, you may curl into a fetal position while crying, rocking back and forth, and lose your ability to self-soothe.

Unlike voluntary age regression, you may not be aware of it, but that is an example of age regression. Moreover, many people attempting to cope with serious trauma may enter a childlike mental and behavioral state entirely unaware that they are no longer a child. Therapies including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can often help in these circumstances by helping the client discover new coping mechanisms that do not involve regression.

Dissociative age regression is often a symptom of those with a dissociative identity disorder. In this case, it’s unlikely that it is voluntary age regression. They may not remember or be aware at all of the age regression, and it may be associated with a completely separate personality and identity.

Voluntary regression can be caused in two types of ways: personal choice to engage in regressive behaviors or guided by a licensed therapist. When experiencing difficult emotions, an adult may voluntarily choose to engage in regressive behavior such as sucking their thumb for comfort like they did as a child. Or, voluntary age regression can be chosen as a long-term treatment to support untreated trauma. An individual can make an appointment for guided age regression therapy.

Involuntary age regression symptoms are often caused by mental health or health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, or dementia. In some cases, the trigger is unknown. However, many times the trigger is related to whatever trauma the person has experienced. For example, someone with borderline personality disorder who experienced neglect as a child may be triggered by a rejection by a significant other in adulthood.

Seeking Age Regression Treatment

There are options for therapy to help those with age regression, whether it’s to undergo guided voluntary age regression to unearth repressed trauma or to find new coping mechanisms to replace involuntary age regression symptoms. Miami Hypnosis and Therapy is a practice specializing in hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming, social therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M. is the principal practitioner. Hypnosis is often a necessary component in successful guided age regression treatment, and her hypnosis certification is from the only program in Florida certified by the Department of Education. Contact us to make an appointment.

Anna Marchenko

Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M. is the principal therapist at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy. She holds a bachelor's degree from NYU and dual masters degrees from Columbia University. Marchenko’s hypnosis certification is from the only hypnosis program in Florida that has been certified by the state’s Board of Education. She helps her clients by utilizing an integrative approach to psychotherapy, tailored to each individual’s mental health journey, drawing from hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, NLP therapy, EMDR, and more.

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