Utilization can be defined as the readiness of the therapist to respond strategically to any and all aspects of the patient or the environment. Utilization is the therapist's trance, a state of response readiness -- readiness to seize the moment by capturing and utilizing whatever happens. All of Milton Erickson's cases are studies in utilization. Most of my writing during the past ten years has been an explication of a utilization method.
Let's think of some examples of utilization.
Situation One: If I wanted to offer a hypnotic induction, I might say: As you sit in your chair, you do not have to pay attention to the monitor in front of you, to the darkness of the floor, to the color of your clothing, or to the changes in the blink of an eye. And yet you cannot help but pay attention to the sounds outside the room, to the sounds around you, to the sounds of your own breathing, to the sound changes that can gradually occur to you. You also can pay attention to the sensations of your feet on the floor, to the pressure of your body being supported by the furniture, to the presence or absence of a headrest, backrest, armrest, seatrest, footrest.
And in hypnosis you merely limit the number of foci of your attention and you allow yourself to attend to what is immediately relevant.
Situation Two: Erickson worked with a man who had a compulsive movement of his arm. The first manuever was to increase the frequency of the movement. Subsequently, Erickson shaped the movement until it was rapid and horizontal. Then Erickson took the man to the woodshop and interested him in sanding wood.
To the practitioner of utilization, therapy becomes an appeal to the constructive history that exists inside the patient. Every smoker knows how to be comfortable without a cigarette. Every schizophrenic knows how to communicate cogently. Therefore, the therapist does not have to teach the patient. Rather the therapist stimulates into play previous unrecognized resources.
Utilization speaks to the essence of psychological problems, which can be defined as believed-in limitations. Utilization is the anthesis. It is a philosophy of sufficiency. Whatever exists in the environment can be harnessed for therapeutic ends.
I do not think that utilization is more important than rapport. However, empathy and rapport are not the same. When I was thinking of empathy, I was thinking of Carl Rogers' method of reflective listening, not rapport.
Avrham, I hope this answers your question. I thank you for your query.
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