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Approaches to Ericksonian Hypnosis Part 4

Approaches to Ericksonian Hypnosis Part 4

Fractionalisation (Pt 4)

This final component to Ericksonian Hypnosis is not completely unique to Erickson, but in the author’s opinion it is absolutely essential to the Ericksonian Model. Fractionalisation is primarily where a client is taken in and out of trance several times within a session. This can for some clients produce a very profound state of trance. It can also be used to help ease nervous clients into trance. This procedure by its very design is more lengthy than not. (Heap & Aravind, 2002)

Erickson came to the conclusion that rather than spread therapy over a series of sessions in order to assist the client with being able to achieve greater depths of trance as well as greater therapeutic results it could be done in a couple of sessions by simply repeating the trance induction several times throughout the session (James, 2000). For this to be effective one must have acute observational skills. Erickson, because of his teenage afflictions, became a master of being able to determine where a client was within the session. This was due to the fact that after the polio he had to re-teach himself how to walk by watching his little sister learning to do it. It was through this observation which led to make a near full recovery. As this process is designed to deepen trance phenomena it is imperative for the hypnotist to be observant in order to make a reasonable assumption as to how deep the client is or isn’t. Many stories abound about Erickson’s observational prowess. In the view of the author, one should be sceptical of the more incredible claims made about his powers of observation, and simply accept that he was a skilled observer. All hypnotists should aspire to be better observers.


Milton Erickson was without doubt an influential character within the history of hypnotism. Not simply because of what he did to make hypnosis more “legitimate” but also in that some 23 years since his death his work is still relevant. It lives in those who could be called Ericksonians as well as those who practice NLP. A word of caution is that no theoretical model has all the answers and that Erickson’s work should be looked at in that context. Bearing that in mind, if a hypnotist become proficient at utilisation, metaphor, language patterns and fractionalisation he/she can only become more successful in terms of helping clients to realise their goals.


Bandler, R & Grinder, J (!975) Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H Erickson, MD Meta Publications, Capitola, CA

Erickson, M & Rossi, E & Rossi, S (1976) Hypnotic Realities: The Induction of Clinical Hypnosis and Forms of Indirect Suggestion Irvington, New York

Heap M & Aravind K (2002) Hartland’s Medical and Dental Hypnosis 4th Ed Churchill Livingstone, London

James, T (2000) Hypnosis a Comprehensive Guide Crown House Publishing, Carmarthen

Seuss, Dr (1957) How the Grinch Stole Christmas Colins, New York

Zeig, J & Munion, W (1999) Key Figures in Counselling and Psychotherapy Milton H Erickson Sage, London


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