Common steps and sub-activities

Watching the watch

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

The patient that you use that technique on most effectively is the small child. The small child who comes into your office, doesn’t like your white coat, doesn't like the pictures on your walls,  doesn't like anything about the situation.

He does not like the possibility that you might give him ‘shots’.  He just doesn’t like anything. Now what do you do about that child?

You have a hunting case watch.  You snap open the case thoughtfully and you look at the time thoughtfully.

You close it, and you open it again.

You are fixing the child’s gaze on that watch.

Take the watch off your wrist and lay it down; here; move it to there.

The child is probably thinking  “I am glad he is thinking about that watch and not giving me ‘shots’ “.

That is what I want to accomplish: get the child thinking about the watch, get his thoughts away from himself and his own thinking, get him thinking about the thing that I present to him, and  get him to fixate his gaze on a focal point so that he gives his full attention to that one focal point.

Then I am in a position to ask him to think about the conscious mind and the unconscious mind, and then a word to suggest to him that he give his attention in the manner that I request.