Suggestions are fundamental to hypnotherapy and hypnosis, and are the bedrock of all hypnotherapeutic approaches. All techniques involve suggestion. All scripts are made up of suggestions. So it is a good idea that any hypnotherapist should know how to craft suggestions of their very own.
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The exact words for hypnotic suggestions can have a major effect on how the listener responds to the suggestion. Milton Erickson developed a technique known as the Milton Model for presenting ideas in hypnosis. But those words also need to be present in the framework. While in that state the listener is more receptive to the next words, and if those words do nothing to end that state then the client will quickly go into trance. Once in trance, the unconscious mind does not analyse the words and phrases that it hears.
Any consistent form of words that are presented will not be examined closely, and any suggestion is likely to be accepted and acted upon, even though an alert listener would reject the suggestion as illogical. The hypnotist can use these hypnotic words and phrases to bypass the critical faculty of the conscious mind.
Hypnosis Indirect Suggestions In The Answer Within: a clinical framework of Ericksonian hypnotherapy Lankton and Lankton describe eleven types of indirect hypnotic suggestions that can be used in hypnosis. These are: 1. Open ended suggestions These are vague and open to the widest range of interpretation. They are often used to prepare the client for a more specific suggestion. The natural response of the client is to try to make sense of the suggestion and so turn their attention inward to begin wondering what actions the hypnotist is talking about.
Having induced the client to briefly enter an unconscious state, the hypnotist then has available a more receptive mind to follow up with a suggestion about eye closure. Implication These suggestions involve the deliberate use of presupposition, especially using time and number. Questions or statements that focus or reinforce awareness. These questions operate on two different levels. On one level this can be read as a simple question, even a rhetorical question.
On another level it invites the client to focus awareness on the process of relaxation. Truisms are statements of the obvious. The are used to get the client to evaluate the truism, and to find that they agree with it. The next suggestion is then made while the agreement with the truism is still in mind, so it too will be accepted as true, even if its truth is not so obvious.
Suggestions which cover all possible alternatives. They are a form of words where every alternative response, and even a non response, leads to an impression that the client is cooperating with the therapist.
Appositions of opposites This involves associating two actions which are changing in the opposite direction. It is normal to link one of the actions to the body and the other to the some psychological change. Binds of comparable alternatives A bind offers the client a choice between two or more essentially similar alternatives.
Whatever choice the client makes leads to a therapeutic outcome. Simple binds are easily formed by posing questions that apparently give the client a free choice.
The question presupposes the action and gives the illusion of choice. However, the client can be educated into believing that there are two parts to the mind, and that doing something consciously implies doing something else unconsciously. The therapist presupposes that the client has an unconscious mind and imputes powers and abilities to it. The key is for the therapist to use words which suggest that the unconscious is split from the conscious mind and thus causes the client to dissociate from the conscious mind.
The process starts by challenging the client on their behaviour and thus defining the relationship on which the client should concentrate.
Suppose a client refuses to close their eyes. I expect you are not able to close your eyes now. Non sequitur double bind In this bind there is a similarity in the content of the alternatives, but no logical connection. One part of the suggestion seems to imply the desired response while the other part requests the response more directly. Using these approaches helps to fixate attention, concentrate the client inward and initiate unconscious and autonomous processes.
Ericksonian language patterns and indirect hypnotic suggestions
Conversational Hypnosis: A Manual of Indirect Suggestion