Ericksonian hypnosis is the name given to the particular style of hypnotherapy used and taught by psychiatrist Milton Erickson and it describes a very specific form of hypnosis.
Unlike traditional hypnotherapy, Ericksonian hypnotherapy is conversational, uses indirect suggestion, metaphor and storytelling to alter behaviour, rather than direct suggestion. Milton Erickson is considered by many as ‘the father of modern hypnotherapy’.
His work has influenced many forms of therapy, including short-term therapy, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and guided imagery.
What are some of the benefits of clinical hypnotherapy in the therapeutic context?
Clinical Hypnotherapy is a vehicle for therapeutic intervention. It is infinitely modulable and adaptable to any given issue. Ericksonian hypnotherapy is client centric. There are currently more than 400 different forms of psychotherapy and all have the potential to help someone.
Hypnosis bypasses the conscious processes and targets the unconscious to communicate information more effectively than in normal conversation.
Hypnosis brings the client “outside” of their usual experiences to let new associations arise, solutions being often outside of client’s own resources.
Clinical Hypnotherapy is client-centric. The client is never passive in hypnotherapy! We ask the client to own his or her wellbeing and therapy. The client is in the driver’s seat and remains an active participant: more often than not, the hypnotherapist will give the client tasking (change in habits and rituals, listening to an audio recording of the session...)
The REM phase of our sleep is the most powerful trance one can naturally experience: during our sessions, clients are effectively in an REM phase while awake. In and of itself, hypnosis cures nothing: it is used as a vehicle to reach a therapeutic target.
According to Milton Erickson, humanistic and modern hypnosis achieves “a highly focused state, in which the conscious mind does not interfere with an unconscious process”.
Those past few years, hypnosis has gained more and more exposure to the eyes of the public through its progressive incorporation by the medical world and its literature. Its efficacy on tangible issues like smoking cessation, pain management, sports performance, personal development is enough illustration for the general public.
We have Milton H. Erickson to thank for this as he helped modernize the field by making it a non-authoritative, flexible, conversational modality that can be adjusted to any case and any individual, ad infinitum. Erickson changed hypnotherapy for the best.
Stage hypnosis has no therapeutic value of course, but it has to be said that it illustrates the efficacy of hypnosis on the behaviours of volunteers, often drastically, for good or for bad. Always and only for show.
Hypnosis is a state of trance experienced naturally several times daily. A phenomenon - both, physiological as well as psychological, that is there to help our brain process a myriad of stimuli which we are subjected to constantly. When harnessed constructively, it can become a very powerful tool for change. It is a relaxed but alert and focused state, where the conscious mind is set aside momentarily, and where one is potentially highly absorbent of suggestions and new learnings.