Common steps and sub-activities

Encouraging the subconscious

In the following description Erickson tells the person to use their left hand.  This is because he wants the person to activate the right brain – the composer friendly, creative, intuitive part of the brain and the direct route to the composer.  You do not make contact with the composer via the left brain or via left brain activity, thus by using your left hand [which is connected to the right brain] you may help to release the right brain.  For left handers, you simply continue to use the left hand.

The seminars, workshops and lectures of Milton H Erickson – edited by Ernest Rossi and Margaret O Ryan

A patient comes to you and says, "I do not know what to talk about; my mind is a blank."

And you point to the bookcase across the room and tell him, "Never examine the books. Just go over, reach out with your left hand if you're right-handed, and pick out the first book that your hand happens to touch.

Don't try to read the title, but just pick out the first book that your hand happens to touch.

And what book is selected? One patient "accidentally" picked out a book entitled, The Startle Pattern. What was the purpose of that? The patient had startle reactions and panic reactions - he was forever getting startled.

When did the patient read that title? I really don't know. But the patient was interested in the title consciously and asked, "What does it mean?" But his unconscious knew.

The patient tells you all about his difficulties at work, disclaiming any other problems, when he "accidentally" picks out a book entitled, Social Problems.

Yet the patient tells you, "It's only a work problem - I have no social difficulties."

Innumerable such instances could be cited. You see, the unconscious mind knows a great deal about the problem but has difficulty in getting the conscious mind willing to let it function.

The conscious mind says, "I'm a perfectionist, and I must do it this way," without recognizing that being a perfectionist enables you to do things in a great variety of ways – not just one, selected, conscious way.

Observations

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