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Approaches to Ericksonian Hypnosis Part 3

Approaches to Ericksonian Hypnosis Part 3

Language Patterns(Pt 3)

In the author’s experience, this is the component to the Ericksonian Model which cause students the most difficulty. In the 1970’s students of Erickson began to look more closely at how he conducted his hypnotic sessions. Two of the more famous of these students were linguist John Grinder and computer scientist Richard Bandler. Through an introduction by Gregrory Bateson, social anthropolgist and friend of Erickson, Bandler and Grinder undertook to model and understand the language utilised by Erickson. The conclusions were published as Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H Erickson, MD (1975). These findings made up a major component to Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). The reason why this is difficult for many to understand is that the way Bandler and Grinder codified Erickson’s language was through Neuro-Semantic labels. The following listing of what became known as The Milton Model is common in most practitioner of NLP programmes. I shall lay out the patterns, an example and finally a brief explanation of each. The most important thing to bear in mind is that the Milton Model is designed to make people think and to come up with unconscious answers. The language is what I like to refer to as being specifically vague.

  1. Mind Read

This is where a person claims to know what a person is thinking without explaining the way he/she came to that conclusion.

I know what you are thinking

  1. Lost Performative

This is where a value judgement is made where the identity of the person making the judgement is not mentioned.

and what you are thinking is a good thing

  1. Cause & Effect

This is where it is implied that one thing causes another. Implied Causatives include:

  1. C>E makes
  2. If… then…
  3. As you… then you…

€œBecause if you are thinking then you can grow.€

  1. Complex Equivalence

This is where two things are equated – as in their meanings being equivalent.

your thinking implies

  1. Presupposition  

This is the linguistic equivalent of assumptions.

that you are ready to take on new learnings

  1. Universal Quantifier

A set of words having:  a. a universal generalization (eg always and everyone) and b. no referential index (a word which does not relate to anything specific)

And all the things, all the things…

  1. Modal Operator

These are words which imply possibility or necessity, and which form our rules in life.

That you can learn…€

  1. Nominalization

These are verbs which have been made into nouns

€œthere is good communication here

  1. Unspecified Verb

These are verbs which have no direct action attached to them

And you can,€

  1. Tag Question

A question added after a statement, designed to displace resistance.

Can’€™t you?

  1. Lack of Referential Index

This is a phrase which does not pick out a specific portion of the listener’€™s experience.

One can, you know…

  1. Comparative Deletion (Unspecified Comparison)

Where the comparison is made and it is not specified as to what or whom it was made.

And it’€™s more or less the right thing.

  1. Pace Current Experience

This is where client’s experience (verifiable, external) is described in a way which is undeniable.

€œYou are sitting here, listening to me, looking at me, (etc.)…€

  1. Double Bind

These are statements made which imply a choice where in fact no choice is offered.

Would you like to have a bath now or after the commercials? There is no choice is that the person is going to have a bath.

  1. Conversational Postulate

The communication has the form of a question, a question to which the response is either a yes€™ or a no. If I want you to do something, what else must be present so that you will do it, and out of your awareness?  It allows you to choose to respond or not and avoids authoritarianism.

Do you feel this… (touch the arm) is something you understand?

  1. Extended Quote

This is a statement made in story form which does not make it clear who is making the suggestion

Last week I was with a client who was telling me about a speech he heard in which the Prime Minister said It is time to change..NOW€

  1. Selectional Restriction Violation

A sentence that is not well formed in that only humans and animals can have feelings.

This room loves me

  1. Ambiguity
  2. Phonological:

Hear€, Here€

  1. Syntactic:

Where the function (syntactic) of a word cannot be immediately determined from the immediate context.

They are visiting relatives€

  1. Scope:

Where it cannot be determined by linguistic context how much is applied to that sentence by some other portion of the sentence.

€œSpeaking to you as a child…€

€œThe old men & women…

The disturbing noises & thoughts…

The weight of your hands & feet…€

  1. Punctuation:

I want you to notice your hand me the glass.€

  1. Utilization

As stated earlier this is where a hypnotist uses everything a client comes in with to assist the change process.

Client says: I am not in trance

Response: That’s right you are not in trance, yet, because you haven’t let yourself relax so completely and so deeply that you simply drift away.

Often times when this is taught, it is implied that you must use these patterns together without any deviation. Erickson would intersperse these phrases and patterns throughout the induction and change work process. In successful interventions a hypnotist might only use 5-10 of these patterns in the hypnotic session.


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