Hypnotherapy Forms Erickson

In the late 1920s, Milton H. Erickson (1901-1980) developed and disseminated his own hypnotherapy techniques. Today, practitioners call Milton Erickson the “father of modern hypnotherapy” and the techniques he developed are widely known as Ericksonian hypnotherapy. Erickson used stories and metaphors to reach the unconscious and his methods are widely used by hypnotherapists today.

What is Ericksonian Hypnotherapy?

Ericksonian hypnotherapy is different from other methods of hypnotherapy because it uses indirect, rather than direct, suggestions to alter a behavior.

Indirect suggestions are thought to be more effective because the conscious mind rarely recognizes them as suggestions at all, especially when they’re introduced in the form of metaphors or stories. Ericksonian hypnosis training enables the hypnotherapist to reach the unconscious mind through “embedded commands.”

History of Ericksonian Hypnotherapy

Milton Erickson, a 1928 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, started honing his technique to overcome the physical limitations of polio. He became recognized when he rejected the use of simple suggestion in traditional hypnotherapy.

Erickson argued that some people are analytical in thought and different techniques are needed to reach and influence the unconscious mind. Ericksonian hypnotherapy has been adopted as a highly influential hypnotherapy technique and it has given rise to other modern branches of the technique, such as “neuro-linguistic programming.”

Ericksonian Hypnotherapy Techniques

Hypnotherapists who have undergone Ericksonian hypnosis training have several tools to reach the unconscious mind. “Isomorphic metaphors” are stories with moral messages that create a connection between the subconscious mind and the problem behavior.

Another Ericksonian hypnotherapy technique is the “embedded command.” The hypnotherapist tells a story laced with indirect suggestions that distract the conscious mind while directly addressing the subconscious. “Process instructions” are also used in Ericksonian hypnosis by taking a memory from the past and applying it to the present to change current behavior.

Ericksonian hypnotherapy is used for almost all conditions for which other hypnotherapy methods might be applied and is beneficial for patients who tend to be analytical in their thinking patterns. This technique has encountered little criticism, except from Andre Weitzenhoffer (1921-2004), who said the approach couldn’t be defined as traditional hypnosis.

Choosing Ericksonian Hypnotherapy

Ericksonian hypnotherapy is beneficial in that it can be more effective in reaching the subconscious mind than other Hypnotherapy methods. Ericksonian hypnosis training has become quite common in the hypnotherapy world. The best way to decide whether this method is effective for a specific case is to consult with an experienced and accredited hypnotherapist.

Resources

History of Hypnosis. (n.d.). Milton H. Erickson. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from http://www.historyofhypnosis.org/milton-erickson/

Mason, D. (n.d.). Ericksonian hypnosis techniques. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from http://www.hypknowsis.com/R25-Ericksonian-Hypnosis-Techniques.php

O’Brien, D. (n.d.). The history of Ericksonian hypnosis. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from http://www.ericksonian.info/history_ericksonian_hypnosis_p1.html