“It’s really amazing what people can do. Only they don’t know what they can do.” The American psychiatrist and psychotherapist Milton Erickson (1901-1980) took hypnosis out of the damn corner thanks to his extensive research, and developed it into a powerful therapeutic tool that is used worldwide.
Ericksonian hypnosis has nothing to do with a state of inertia as we know it from horror stories or magic shows. No, you’re not gonna cackl like a chicken, or drink vinegar like it’s water. And you’re not gonna fall into a deep sleep either. There’s nothing paranormal about hypnosis. It’s a very natural phenomenon, the effects of which are clinically proven.
Erickson: Godfather of hypnotherapy.
The American psychiatrist and psychotherapist Milton Erickson (1901-1980) experienced at first hand as a young man what the impact of the mind on the body can be. He was completely paralyzed by polio and even lay in a coma for three days, but managed to regain control of his muscles after a year. The state of unconsciousness he had experienced as a result of his coma fanned his interest in the trance state.
Hypnosis has been used in various forms for centuries, but at the end of the 19th century – partly under the influence of Sigmund Freud – it became fashionable as a treatment method for psychological complaints. Hypnosis comes from the Greek word ‘hypnos’, which means sleep. During hypnosis, however, you do not fall asleep, but enter a relaxed state in which you are extremely focused and open to suggestions. And that’s where the shoe often wrings. Many patients show great resistance during hypnosis, do not go into a trance and are therefore not receptive to suggestions.
Power to the brain
According to Erickson, trance is not an exceptional condition but a daily phenomenon. Just think of the runner’s high – the feeling of happiness you can experience while walking. Erickson developed an individualizable form of hypnosis, for which deep trance is not a requirement.
With Ericksonian hypnosis you never lose control. You remain aware of the world around you at all times, but at the same time make contact with your subconscious: the so-called ‘double consciousness’.
The key to Erickson’s success story is ‘indirectness’. In ‘direct hypnosis’ the hypnotist takes control of your subconscious and gives it direct instructions. “You feel your eyelids getting heavy.” “You’ll eat less and lose weight.” Erickson, on the other hand, worked in an indirect way. Through metaphors, symbolic language, vague and deliberately confusing remarks, even jokes, he created openings to the subconscious.
Ericksonian hypnosis breaks rusted patterns.
Ericksonian hypnosis respects your integrity, puts control in your hands. You learn to focus on your unconscious mind, and choose the degree to which you want to relax. From that very specific relaxation, you are given the opportunity to focus your attention inwardly. After all, that is where the transformation work, the creative self-healing, takes place. With this form of hypnosis, you are in control of the changes you want to achieve. Blessed isn’t it?
Through Ericksonian hypnosis you solve your inner conflicts or tackle your learned habits. You don’t work on the symptoms themselves, but on the underlying patterns that maintain a habit. For example, this form of hypnosis can help you process emotional pain or trauma, overcome fears or phobias, lose weight, and so on.
“You use hypnosis not as a cure but as a means of establishing a favorable climate in which to learn.” Hypnosis in itself does not cure, but it can create the circumstances in which we can find our own forgotten personal power, and thus make ourselves better.
Lesson from the founder
I myself successfully followed the intense training basic and advanced Ericksonian hypnosis with the American Anné Linden, who in turn was trained by Milton Erickson herself and who is one of the founders of this technique. Linden is connected to the Belgian Happy Coach training centre.
Curious? Book a session of Ericksonian hypnosis with your stay in our lovely guesthouse in Portugal.