Motor City Hypnotist Podcast with David Wright – Episode 48 Milton Erickson, Part 2

Milton Erickson, Part 2 Show Notes In this episode of the Motor City Hypnotist Podcast we are going to talk about the father of modern hypnosis, Milton Erickson. And I’m also going to be giving listeners a FREE HYPNOSIS GUIDE! Stay tuned! INTRODUCTION What is up people? The Motor City Hypnotist Podcast is here in the Podcast Detroit Northville Studios. Thank you for joining me on this episode of the Motor City Hypnotist Podcast. I am David Wright and with me is my producer Matt Fox. FIND ME: My Website: My social media links: Facebook: YouTube: Twitter: Instagram: motorcityhypno If you would like to contribute financially to the show, you can find me on Patreon: FREE HYPNOSIS GUIDE Please also subscribe to the show and leave a review. (Stay with me as later in the podcast, I’ll be giving away a free gift to all listeners!) This episode of the Motor City Hypnotist Podcast is brought to you by Banner Season. Online marketing is saturated and people rarely open their emails. Are you in sales or does your business market to customers? How do you connect with family, friends, and clients? Banner Season takes your marketing into the “real world” by delivering kindness and thoughtfulness directly to your client’s physically. Imagine the excitement of your family, friends and customers as they receive personalized cards and gifts in their mailboxes. Go to and begin today to express kindness and make connections with others. WINNER OF THE WEEK; Secret Santa MILTON ERICKSON Handshake Induction Erickson describes the routine as follows: • Initiation: When I begin by shaking hands, I do so normally. The “hypnotic touch” then begins when I let loose. The letting loose becomes transformed from a firm grip into a gentle touch by the thumb, a lingering drawing away of the little finger, a faint brushing of the subject’s hand with the middle finger – just enough vague sensation to attract the attention. As the subject gives attention to the touch of your thumb, you shift to a touch with your little finger. As your subject’s attention follows that, you shift to a touch with your middle finger and then again to the thumb. • This arousal of attention is merely an arousal without constituting a stimulus for a response. • The subject’s withdrawal from the handshake is arrested by this attention arousal, which establishes a waiting set, and expectancy. • Then almost, but not quite simultaneously (to ensure separate neural recognition), you touch the under-surface of the hand (wrist) so gently that it barely suggests an upward push. This is followed by a similar utterly slight downward touch, and then I sever contact so gently that the subject does not know exactly when – and the subject’s hand is left going neither up nor down, but cataleptic. • Termination: If you don’t want your subject to know what you are doing, you simply distract their attention, usually by some appropriate remark, and casually terminate. Sometimes they remark, “What did you say? I got absentminded there for a moment and wasn’t paying attention to anything.” This is slightly distressing to the subjects and indicative of the fact that their attention was so focused and fixated on the peculiar hand stimuli that they were momentarily entranced, so they did not hear what was said • Utilization: Any utilization leads to increasing trance depth. All utilization should proceed as a continuation of extension of the initial procedure. Much can be done nonverbally. For example, if any subjects are just looking blankly at me, I may slowly shift my gaze downward, causing them to look at their hand, which I touch and say “Look at this spot.” This intensifies the trance state. Then, whether the subjects are looking at you or at their hand, or just staring blankly, you can use your left hand to touch their elevated right hand from above or the side – so long as you merely give the suggestion of downward movement. Occasionally a downward nudge or push is required. If a strong push or nudge is required, check for anesthesia. Hand Levitation Erickson was the first to describe the hand levitation method of induction, described as being broadly applicable. Weitzenhoffer describes the technique as broadly applicable and quotes a colleague as describing Erickson’s demonstration as “the best of all induction procedures. It permits the participation in the induction process by the patient and lends itself to non-directive and analytic techniques” It is however, the most difficult of methods and calls for greater endurance on the part of the hypnotist”. The nature of the induction is for the hypnotherapist to repeatedly suggest a lightness in the hand, which results in a dissociative response and the hand elevating unconsciously. Resistance In the book Uncommon Therapy, Jay Haley identified several strategies, which repeatedly appeared repeatedly in Erickson’s therapeutic approach. For Erickson, the classic therapeutic request to “Tell me everything about …,” was both aggressive and disrespectful, instead he would ask the resistant patient to withhold information and only to tell what they were ready to reveal: [Erickson] “I usually say, “There are a number of things that you don’t want me to know about, that you don’t want to tell me. There are a lot of things about yourself that you don’t want to discuss, therefore let’s discuss those that you are willing to discuss.” She has blanket permission to withhold anything and everything. But she did come to discuss things. And therefore, she starts discussing this, discussing that. And it’s always “Well, this is all right to talk about.” And before she’s finished, she has mentioned everything. And each new item – “Well, this really isn’t so important that I have to withhold it. I can use the withholding permission for more important matters.” Simply a hypnotic technique. To make them respond to the idea of withholding, and to respond to the idea of communicating.” Some people might react to a direction by thinking “Why should I?” or “You can’t make me.” This is called a “polarity response” because it motivates the subject to consider the polar opposite of the suggestion. The conscious mind recognizes negation in speech (“Don’t do X”) but according to Erickson, the unconscious mind pays more attention to the “X” than the injunction “Don’t do.” Thus, Erickson used this as the basis for suggestions that deliberately played on negation and tonally marked the important wording, to provide that whatever the client did, it would be beneficial: “You don’t have to go into a trance, so you can easily wonder about what you notice no faster than you feel ready to become aware that your hand is slowly rising.” Double Bind Providing a worse alternative (The ‘Double Bind’) – Example: “Do you want to go into a trance now, or later?” The ‘double bind’ is a way of overloading the subject with two options, the acceptance of either of which represents acceptance of a therapeutic suggestion. Erickson provides the following examples: “My first well-remembered intentional use of the double bind occurred in early boyhood. One winter day, with the weather below zero, my father led a calf out of the barn to the water trough. After the calf had satisfied its thirst, they turned back to the barn, but at the doorway the calf stubbornly braced its feet, and despite my father’s desperate pulling on the halter, he could not budge the animal. I was outside playing in the snow and, observing the impasse, began laughing heartily. My father challenged me to pull the calf into the barn. Recognizing the situation as one of unreasoning stubborn resistance on the part of the calf, I decided to let the calf have full opportunity to resist, since that was what it apparently wished to do. Accordingly, I presented the calf with a double bind by seizing it by the tail and pulling it away from the barn, while my father continued to pull it inward. The calf promptly chose to resist the weaker of the two forces and dragged me into the barn”.[17] Shocks and Ordeals Erickson is famous for pioneering indirect techniques, but his shock therapy tends to get less attention. Erickson was prepared to use psychological shocks and ordeals in order to achieve given results: The ordeal process is different from other therapeutic techniques originated by Erickson. . . If we examine innovations in the use of paradox we note that he had a person experience a distressing symptom deliberately, and that is not an ordeal, or is it? Ordeal therapy is not merely a technique but a theory of change. The therapist’s task is to impose an ordeal, appropriate to the problem the person wishes to change, an ordeal more severe than the problem. The main requirement is that it cause distress equal to or greater than that caused by the symptom. It is also best that the ordeal is good for the person. The ordeal must have another characteristic: it must be something the person can do. It must be of such a nature that the therapist can easily say “This won’t violate any of your moral standards and is something you can do”. The final characteristic is that it should not harm anyone else. One final aspect of the ordeal is that sometimes the person must go through it repeatedly to recover from the symptom. Erickson knew that the language of the unconscious is imagination and metaphor, and therapeutic stories, anecdotes, jokes, puns and riddles are a crucial element of his work. These act like coded messages for the unconscious, which is able to make the connection and see the point of the story, even if the conscious mind doesn’t – especially if the conscious mind doesn’t, in fact. By telling a twelve year old bedwetter about the detailed physical actions involved in throwing a baseball, for instance, Erickson was able to deliver instructions about timing and muscle control straight to the boy’s unconscious mind, where they could be acted upon. This “smuggling in” of messages to the unconscious is hypnosis, of course, and Erickson fully recognized the importance of hypnosis as a therapeutic tool. True to form, he developed his own idiosyncratic style of hypnosis, often referred to as “indirect” or “conversational” hypnosis. This is because it moved away from direct instructions to go into trance, which had been the accepted method up to that point, to a more subtle approach, based on rapport, trust and language patterns. In Ericksonian hypnosis, language is used to direct the attention inwards on a search for meaning or to verify what is being said. Once that has happened, therapeutic or trance-inducing suggestions can be made. To take just one example, Erickson often tacked suggestions onto the end of a series of undeniable truths, to give the appearance of logical and natural progression – “as you sit there listening to me here, your arms are resting on the arms of the chair and your feet are on the floor and your eyelids are starting to feel pleasantly heavy and drowsy.” Erickson also believed in allowing the client maximum freedom to interpret what is being said in their own way – for example, “you may begin to find new ways of feeling at ease at parties”, instead of “you are now more confident in talking to complete strangers at parties.” This is another example of his concern for the client above all other considerations. He went to great lengths to see the world from the client’s point of view, helping them reach their own goals and solutions, rather than imposing his own idea of happiness on them. Erickson’s great achievement was to bring hypnosis back to the service of the individual, by doing whatever is necessary to make it truly client-focused. Following Erickson’s death in 1980, Perhaps Erickson’s greatest contribution to psychotherapy was not his innovative techniques, but his ability to de-pathologize people and consider a patient’s problematic behavior as indicative of a best choice available to the individual. His approach was to facilitate the patient’s access to inner resources to solve the problems Join my Empower Your Mind For Success Private Facebook Group Free Hypnosis for Confidence Change your thinking, change your life! Laugh hard, run fast, be kind. David R. Wright MA, LPC, CHT The Motor City Hypnotist