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Unread September 21st, 2004, 02:34 AM
Stephen Lankton Stephen Lankton is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 117
Default Re: Writing and Preparing Inductions

Jim, that's a great question and I'm glad you asked it since it hits on the importance of his practicing the economy of words and the problem of having a unique induction for each client. Both are important points of Dr. Erickson's work and can be misconstrued.

Here's the background needed to best understand his self-prescribed homework: In the 1950s Erickson was still doing very traditional inductions that did, in fact, deal with the concept of 'getting sleepy' and 'going deeper.'
See the example below:

1957 - A transcript with the redundant use of 'sleep' "Now I want you to go deeper and deeper asleep." (p. 54) and the statement "I can put you in any level of trance" (p. 64).
From: Erickson, M. (With Haley, J. & Weakland, J.) (1967). "A Transcript of a Trance Induction with Commentary." in Haley (Ed.) Advanced techniques of hypnosis and therapy: Selected papers of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. p. 51-88.

This is in contrast to his later work that evolved into this:

1981 - Hypnotherapists "offer" ideas and suggestions (p. 1-2) "I don't like this matter of telling a patient I want you to get tired and sleepy" (p. 4)
From: Erickson, M., Rossi, E., (1981). Experiencing hypnosis: Therapeutic approaches to altered state. New York: Irvington. p. 4.

So, given this historical view, Erickson's 1957 comment is about his planning an induction without a "unique" client in mind and was an example of polishing his wording to say more with fewer words. Was it a script? Probably not so much of a script for an induction as a training in self-monitoring and self-editing (he forced himself to leave out the fluff).

Later in his more evolved practice of later years, he would weave the induction from the unique responses of the client in front of him. But most certainly his early efforts to economize wording was a skill set that he drew upon.

How to train others: lecture (for the ideas), example (for the understanding), and modeling (for the permission and courage to try). But learning rests with the student. The effort to really “pull it off” must eventually come from the learner. It is like learning Aikido or a similar martial art: getting the idea and understanding shows the path toward having the ability. But the ability comes from transforming the understanding into action by repeated practice and honing.
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