Hypnotic Techniques 5: Ericksonian

Ericksonian hypnosis is named after its founder: Milton Erickson. He is a very interesting man (I’ll probably write a few posts about him in the future). Ericksonian is also called “conversational hypnosis”. It uses specific language patterns in order to cause a client to think about things in a specific way.

I know that’s vague, but it’s really rather nebulous until you understand the patterns. This type of hypnosis involves no direct induction and no real beginning or end, it’s just about the therapist understanding the other person and where they’re at. For instance, I could say, “Imagine what it’s like to just stop and feel so incredibly relaxed… As you read this… it’s like it’s something you can feel really happening. Now, with me, when I feel so relaxed, it’s like the whole world just disappears…”

I could continue, “I know that’s short and may not have affected you much (in writing, this stuff seems to be less effective); however, if I were to just keep talking to you like that and you tuned out or tuned in or just did whatever felt right and heard my words and just found yourself allowing yourself to relax, it’d likely have a deep… effect. Or not, because it doesn’t really matter what happens becuase if I just keep speaking this way and talking around things, you’ll just notice yourself relaxing now and that’s okay too… it’s not like you need to not relax, now is it? It’s as if you can just find yourself drifting and just simply notice the first part of you that feels so relaxed…”

Though, as open-ended as this modality is, it’s actually a very good one and based on the work of a really famous hypnotist, Milton Erickson, M.D. It’s most helpful function, IMHO, is for people who have issues with control or who are leery to enter hypnosis or who are too smart for their own good (i.e. they figure things out and derail them). This modality, when used by a competent professional, can help someone to ease into trance and then to just “reconsider” their life choices for some reason.

This is likely the type of hypnosis Ben Affleck used to quit smoking… He says, “He sips water and just talks to you for an hour and explains to you how nicotine is poison,” Ben says. “And it seems really, like, ‘How could this help me?’ And all of a sudden you think, ‘This is asinine that I had been doing this to myself for all these years.'”

Check out more in this article in Oprah’s O Magazine “Ben Affleck and the Latest Tips to Quit Smoking“.

So, I’ve probably given you too much information in these posts about hypnotherapeutic techniques; however, I hope this was helpful to you when you’re considering hypnotherapy. Like other types of psychotherapy, we have our methods and in the hands of a trained professional, they can be very powerful.