Ericksonian Therapy - How It Works -
Ericksonian Principles In Practice
The art of success is to discover how things may be done easily.
Observations of himself and others convinced Erickson that our best efforts to change often fail because of the way we try. The very act of trying often triggers powerful sub-conscious processes moving us away from easy states - evoking self-limiting belief patterns and awareness.
These self - limiting states may be detected in actions or feelings that seem disproportionate to the circumstances. These may be negative states like self-doubt or uncertainty, frustration, anxiety, fear or acute self-consciousness - or they may be overly assertive states like uncontrolled anger or other impulsive or self harming behaviour.
These powerful limiting patterns result from many subtle influences we absorb unconsciously from our earliest years which have come to form the habitual expressions of how we are or think we should be.
Because these patterns were installed early - before we had the ability or knowledge to challenge or question them, these have become part of our core identity. They resist change - even where such changes might help our general well-being.
Erickson realised that in order to transform such deep processes and to prevent our systems from engaging with the old internal tramlines that lead to failure............
something out - of - the - ordinary is required.
Erickson's genius was to notice how, in ordinary day-to-day life, some people make improbable recoveries from debilitating physical conditions
- including various skin conditions, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome.
Others seem to have a magic touch and appear naturally wiser, seeming to be able to say just the right thing to help people out of difficult places.
An acute observer he connected these outcomes with barely noticeable mental strategies and language structures, whose deeper meaning was clearly not evident to most people.
He observed that, even with some intractable physical conditions, like profound pain, long-standing insomnia, or long-standing deep anxiety states and tension, profoundly beneficial responses seemed most likely to occur when people didn’t think he was addressing a problem at all !
He realised that if understood and stimulated in the right way, profound changes could be achieved under the most unlikely of circumstances.
The highly original indirect method emerged !!!
As a hospital intern and in later experimentation and research in his
medical and psychiatric work, his insatiable curiosity led him to identify a variety of effective formal and informal hypnotic strategies and linguistic devices; some are simple, some extremely complex - operating at many levels of awareness to enable constructive suggestion to pass to deep levels - bypassing any critical filtering or resistance - and freely engaging the unconscious energies of the system.
In this way, he discovered how, by temporarily uncoupling conscious
effort, unconscious reorganisation and change can occur, in both mental and physical processes.
Thus the person acquires an easy and natural function in place of their previous deficient process. Thus we can achieve, relatively effortlessly, what has resisted all previous conscious efforts and treatments.
The principle is simple, elegant and profound :-
create the unconscious conditions for change .....
it then follows .......naturally !
He demonstrated through thousands of cases, many apparently insoluble, that respectful utilisation of such processes achieves significant and lasting changes with great economy of effort.
He published scores of books and papers, inspiring a world-wide
movement which has developed brief, thorough, effective therapies
for many distressing medical, psychological and personal adjustment problems.
His singular achievement was to transform little understood and even worse exploited hypnotic processes from a trivial means of public entertainment into a range of serious and powerful instruments .
In alliance with other therapeutic skills, and in the hands of a properly qualified therapist, these can confer lasting benefits on the experience of living.
( See - ‘My Voice Will Go With You. Teaching tales of Milton H Erickson’. Authors Milton H. Erickson & Sidney Rosen - a brief but fascinating popular insight into Erickson’s extraordinary mind and methods. )
Copyright Keith Bibby© December 2008 >> Return