Common steps and sub-activities

Milton Erickson threat reduction

Milton Erickson was able to induce any number of trance states via hypnotherapy sessions he devised, and rather than give you an example of such trance states [of which there were hundreds], I am going to give you some examples of how he helped to remove threats from people’s minds.

Erickson's sessions consisted of a series of sentences that interwove a sense of a wholly unthreatening safe environment, with sentences which imply, but never state, that all the personal threats no longer exist, they have gone – so the 'child' in the person felt nurtured and cared for, and of course those sentences had to be genuine, because the person going for therapy had already been and seen enough hurt caused by insincerity and lack of compassion to last a lifetime...

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

Now physical comfort exists

You don't even have to pay attention to your relaxation and comfortable

You have all the protection of your own unconscious which has been protecting you in your dreams

In the final stage
it is learning in your happiness
I will find my happiness.

The use of comfort  words - The sort of words that Erickson used here were 'peaceful', 'relaxation', 'helping',  'warm', 'soft', 'safe', 'easy', 'simple', 'friendly', 'good', 'like', 'pleasant'. 

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

You will find yourself becoming more relaxed and comfortable as you continue sitting there with your eyes closed.

Love as a theme - In the following example, though not stated, the lady had a fear of not being loved.  Love is a frequent theme in Erickson's sessions and I think it is principally because those who carry great hurt have often lost love or not been loved enough, or feel themselves unloved or unlovable.  It is thus a huge threat and a major block to letting go.................

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

A child first learns
I love me
pause
and then proceeds one day
I love my brother, my father, my sister
but what the child is saying
I love the me in you
pause
The me in you
pause
as the child progresses
pause
the child now learns
to love your beauty,
your grace, intelligence
but that is his perception of the you.

Removal of himself as a threat - As part of the removal of threats, Erickson also made sure that the people realised he was no threat either.....

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

In my voice
you can hear
the whispering wind
the rustle of leaves
pause
and then my voice becomes that of some neighbour
adult friend, relative, someone known.

Removing the fear of failure – Some people who undergo therapy using these techniques have a form of 'performance anxiety' in which they fear they will not be suitable subjects or won't be able to go into a trance.  Very often it is the very people who do need a boost in confidence, who have been subjected to the constant barrage of 'abuse' that convinces them they are a failure, that need the most reassurance that this is not just another thing they won't succeed at.  Notice in the following that Erickson does not use the word 'will' but 'can'.  He is saying the possibility of trance exists for you.

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

There is of course a possibility that you can be hypnotised

There is more possibility that you can't be hypnotised

Now let's try this chair

If you fail in this one, there is still the possibility that you can go into a trance.

So clever, so kind.  If you can't get into the trance state, it only confirms what we already know, so no big deal and anyway it's the chair's fault not yours.

Comfort as a keyword - Erickson used the words 'comfort' and 'comfortable' as repeating keywords throughout the sessions over and over again, to reinforce the feeling of there being no threats.  Even at later stages when he was suggesting new objectives or eliminating obligations, the word comfort was used at regular intervals, to continually remind the person that whatever happened next, no threat existed.

Hypnotic Realities – Milton Erickson

Isn't it remarkable how comfortable you feel?