Most hypnotists limit their work with one huge mistake. And the mistake is as simple as I can state it – focusing too much on induction and learning all the fancy protocols, the structure of ambiguities or that horrible and irritating Hypno voice.
Really great hypnotists understand that the induction is the easiest part of hypnosis. Instead of an induction, they concentrate on the setup that properly prepares the subject so it becomes very easy to lead the subject into the hypnotic state – in most cases, all it takes is asking the subject to enter the hypnotic state, something along the lines of a direct command:
“Go ahead and close your eyes and begin to relax even more”
That’s it. That’s the induction! Nothing more than that.
An important thing to keep in mind here is to say the induction directly and simply, in an ordinary voice.
There is a moment when you need to shift your voice, but if you do it too early you will alert the subject to pay attention too closely to what you are doing and saying, which will, in fact, drive them out of hypnosis.
I’ve seen too many hypnotists spend hours building the induction and doing deepening techniques – establishing what they think is hypnosis. This is something Milton Erickson never did.
The brilliance of Milton only partly lies in his vocal quality and the language he used. However, for the most part, his process of UTILIZATION made him able to do what very few hypnotists ever managed.
If he were alive and saw how much emphasis is placed by some hypnotists on the aspects of induction and learning how to build these massive ambiguities, he’d explode. This has nothing to do with what he was doing.
Milton’s utilisation can be defined as understanding what you need to be doing for that particular client. And the only way to know this is to understand what your client needs, not what you think you should be doing for them. More specifically, you must pay attention to what the client has demonstrated during his interaction with you in order to build an elegant utilisation around that.
If you are listening to someone delivering a hypnotic protocol and you can recognise the ambiguities or voice shifts, then they are not doing it well. If you were to do these procedures, you must wait till the subject is so far embedded into the alternate state so there is no way you could possibly lose him.
On of the things, you will want to add to your skills set is understanding what made Milton’s patterns so powerful, and it is his ability to use multilevel communication with the subject – to say one thing and have it spread into a generality that can mean multiple things to just one individual.
When presenting information in such a manner, Milton wanted his clients to sort through, not because of the ambiguous nature of his speaking, but rather because of the specific nature of his speaking.
He understood that the words he used generated chemical reactions in his subjects’ brains and that the responses were immediate in their generation and lingering in terms of their duration.
When words are used with meticulousness and precision, they can generate not only an instantaneous effect in the person’s brain but also a cascading effect. And this is one of the deepest secrets of Milton’s work. He understood how to say something today which will only show up tomorrow or in near future in terms of the cascade effect and the adjustments the subject would have to make to come back to what they then established at the repositioned balance of the system. The words he spoke would imbalance the system so much that the subject would need to refine its center-point.
Let me explain this in different terms.
Think of a powerful drug (LSD for example), which has a very limited lifespan in the body. In just a few hours upon consumption, the effects of the drug will not be picked up on a drug scan as it will be completely gone from the body. However, what will be picked up is the cascade of the chemicals that you yourself manufactured after having taken the drug. It disbalances the brain chemistry so much that the brain tries to rebalance and come back to its center-point.
All these massive doses of brain chemicals produced and released into the system are in fact what the effect of the drug really is. It’s not the chemical you have ingested, but rather its impact on the system that tries to rebalance to the center-point you regard as normal and ordinary consciousness.
And this is exactly what words can do as well.
The words Milton spoke would so imbalance the system that it had to refine its center-point. Milton knew how to imbalance the system significantly enough so that it had to refund the center-point and come back to balance.
And this is what multilevel communication allows you to do – to speak to more than one brain structure at a time, with each structure interpreting the incoming signal in a unique way.
The brain stem (medulla oblongata) interprets the information in a primal, animal, instinctive way (Fight, Flight, or Freeze) which then moves on to the next part of the brain called cerebellum, which tries to make sense of the information in terms of good or bad, right or wrong…making judgments in terms of relationships.
When the information eventually passes through cerebellum, it jumps up to cerebral cortex for further analysis which makes sense of it in a rational way and applies meaning to what has been said.
The Impact of Language
Language can impact your brain in terms of content (semantics) and process (pragmatics).
By the time you interact with people in terms of your communication with them, the information will pass through various parts of the cerebral processing. Part of it will be processed for meaning (semantic impact). The more this content is understandable and implementable for them, inside the content they have already used on an ongoing basis, the more it will be accepted by them as you present it.
This information will be transferred back and forth between the hemispheres by means of corpus callosum allowing the information to be simultaneously processed. The right hemisphere is not going to be doing semantic and linguistic analysis or sequential structuring, but rather look at the whole picture. It’s going to offer a colourful commentary and interpretation in terms of what it means to an individual.
These interpretations will be mixed into and become one thing with the content itself. And this is where content and context begin to blend. And this blending drives the impact of communication on a behaviour level. When you begin to understand what language choices you should make, how to change the vocal quality and what impact this has on how the brain processes this information, you will have a much better grasp of how to maximise the hypnotic protocol using the utilisation process Milton Erickson was so famous for.