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Jim Stephens January 27th, 2005 12:05 PM

Search Phenomenon and Ideomotor Behavior
Hello Stephen Lankton,

I am currently struggling with "The Answer Within" and could use some guidance. Specifically, I am having difficulty visualizing (or seeing in my clients) the features of search phenomenon. I know the words to describe it (eye movement, head set, flattened cheeks, staring, motionless, catalepsy, slowed breathing, pupil dilation), however that is not translating into me being able to see it when it is happening. I might be looking for something more pronounced, or maybe the visual cues are going by more quickly than I am processing.

While you supply ample examples in "The Answer Within," I don't have that material on video. I do have "The Artistry of Milton H. Erickson," "The Reverse Set in Hypnotic Induction," "The Process of Hypnotic Induction," Symbolic Hypnotherapy," and "So You Wanted a Trance Demonstrated Today." Would you be willing to point to specific moments in any of those in which there is evidence of search phenomenon? Or to point to references of the search phenomenon in any of those? Or, for that matter, to any other visual materials with descriptions/commentary on "what to look for?"

Along the same lines, I'm having difficulties with ideomotor behavior. While I notice clients' movements, I generally don't know what they are signalling. About as far as I've gotten with this is understanding very obvious instances, like in Dr. Erickson's work with Monde, he "asks for" arm levitation and she levitates her arm. Okay, I've got that she's responsive to him. And when I'm working with an angry adolescent who flips off his mother, I can ballpark what he's thinking at the time. I'm missing the more "subtle" cues. Specifically how to translate ideomotor behavior into something meaningful in the conversation? Is "'X' movement" or "'X' physiological change" a signal of engagement, disengagement, identification, resource retrieval, disinterest, etc? How do you know the difference between a signal that someone is "tracking you," and/or has identified/recognized a resource, and/or is maybe just scratching an itch, for example? Are there visual examples that you would be willing to point to?

Jim Stephens

Stephen Lankton February 3rd, 2005 12:51 PM

Re: Search Phenomenon and Ideomotor Behavior
Sorry to be tardy in my reply. I just returned from teaching in Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. The internet connection was disappointing at best.

Since you have the Monde/Nick tape you have a thousand examples of search phenomena. To name one I know by heart look at nick just after Erickson says to him - near the beginning - "all your life you've known you could lift your hand and lower it, but there was something you learned long ago, that you could lift your arm, you were an infant and your hands were just objects." THAT is search phenomena on Nick's face!

It is impossible to learn hypnosis sufficiently from reading. Interesting...the first time in 20 years anyone ever asked sounds to me that you need to get some live training and/or supervision to "get the hang of what is being discussed." Thanks for the question.

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