In an interview, Milton H Erickson said once: "Do not look at all those technique's people say I am using but rather focus on the willingness of the patient to change. "
With all the material out there discussing and demonstrating all his technique's it just seemed a matter of learning them all. Naturally, there are underlying principles that can guide you choose the right technique at the right time.
Milton's advice seemed not practical at all to learn what he was doing.
Then I found another piece of advice Milton said to somebody that wanted to learn what he was doing. "Don't try to copy me as many do. Find your own way of doing hypnosis."
So in a way in order to be more like Erickson you have to be more like yourself and less like Erickson. That's right.
It's like a Zen teacher telling his student to act more natural and in order to be more natural the student "tries" to be more natural and in doing so fails to be more natural.
I like zen very much If you didn't notice it yet.
Zen teachers love to put students in a catch22 situation.
I remember a difficult situation for myself when a fellow hypnotist asked me what I thought trance was. How that I would define trance. I didn't know.
Now I would say that there is no such thing as "a" trance. Just like consciousness is not a monolith but there are as many consciousnesses as that there are emergent properties for each way the brain has to let neuro networks communicate with other neuro networks that makes us aware of what just happened.
But that doesn't explain yet how I define trance.
And defining is the challenge.
How a client defines his or her problems, how you define a good outcome for a coaching session, ext... It's not the problem that is the problem but how we relate to the problem.
My problem was that I was not happy with how good I was in hypnosis.
Something was bothering me and I can be very critical at my own skills.
I like to be as close to the source as possible to learn something and reading Stephen Gilligans, who was a student from Erickson himself, book: The Legacy of Milton H Erickson revealed something about Erickson's approach that I recognised. Something like a zen teachers mindset.
There seemed to be 2 crucial factors in the way he communicated with his clients:
Or he put two classes or categories together of thinking
or he split one class, unit or category in two or more parts.
Or in other words, he seemed to split or combine units of awareness and thinking.
For example, he would make the problem a part of the solution. The symptoms as part of the cure.
Or he would make you aware of how one seemingly single action were different actions that are orchestrated to make it seem as one fluent and seamless action.
He would point out that there is a difference between thinking and doing and between doing aware and unaware. And every time you thought it was simple he could make it complex and when you thought it was complex he could make it simple, simple isn't it?
But what does that accomplish?
It makes our brain reevaluate and recalculate what it should include and exclude in a certain neuro-network. It makes our brain think outside the neurological "boxes" we made over time and create new ones. This demands more neuroplasticity than in our usual state of mind and that is exactly what happens when we enter a trance.
Trances are, for me then, the states of mind that happen when we are in new territory, in every way you want to define territory, and the current neurological "box" or "boxes" does not contain the necessary resource or answer to the challenge presented in the new territory. So the brain has to reevaluate its borders and relationships between neuro-networks to come up with a sollution.
As usual, it is neccesary to say that this is only one defenition of trances and that "the map is not the territory."
This relates to whole brain learning and even to Provocative changeworks/coaching/hypnosis ext...
When a client expects that provocative coaching is aggressive being gentle and easy is what could be the right provocative action to get results. It challenges what we believe to be right, right?
As a fellow hypnotist and friend (Michael Perez) revealed to me: "Erickson did not say "That's right" every time he wanted to reinforce an action that he wanted to promote in the client but especially when the client did the reverse of what he expected."
So many clients just want to please the coach or hypnotist but Erickson would encourage the reverse.
The client, in that case, had to reevaluate what was "right" and "wrong" in this new situation.
That person is trying to be natural. (natural according to who?)
Until just like the Zen student, that person figures out that there is nothing to figure out, hehe.
I just needed to laugh at this. Humor is just one way to reveal to yourself that you can act outside the catch22.
Have fun :D