Hypnosis Tutorials

Classic vs Ericksonian Hypnosis

Written by Lee Avery

When I first began learning hypnosis in the 1980’s just about the only version that was available was (what I call) the Classic techniques of getting a client to relax lying back on a couch as you took them down into a deep trance state and made suggestions. To many, this is still the same image that they carry around of the hypnotherapist or hypnotist, even stage shows still use many of these classic techniques.

In the late 1980’s there was a growth in NLP and more importantly to the hypnotist the wider introduction of the teachings of Milton Erickson who had a more covert linguistically rich approach to hypnosis. No longer was it necessary to have the subject lie back and relax, trance could be achieved just through conversation.

With this came a massive explosion in ‘Covert Hypnosis’. Everyone from business to stage performer started to use the language patterns of Erickson and Hypnosis finally hit the main stream…sort of.

The Hold of The Classic Approach

Although the Ericksonian hypnosis is more flexible and just as effective as the classic approach the vast majority of clinical patients still expect the classic ‘sit in a chair and go to sleep’ induction based technique, and even stage hypnosis still uses this process.

Apart from a few, exceptional, stage performers the rapid sleep induction is still by far the most popular approach (if you want to see just how good the Ericksonian approach can be I urge you to watch Derren Brown).

Why do hypnotists hold on to this approach? Simple, it’s what people expect. As a therapist I have used the Milton Erickson approach in my practice for over 20 years, and more often than not the work I do with a client is complete long before they go ‘under hypnosis’ and yet almost every client expects to ‘go to sleep’.

Ericksonian Hypnosis

Covert Hypnosis, Conversational Hypnosis, Milton Model, Street Hypnosis, Seduction Hypnosis, Persuasion or whatever else you want to call it, all of these approaches are the same. They are the use of a style of language to induce an hypnotic state in the subject without the use of a classic induction.

The advantage (to the hypnotist) is that suggestions can be made to the client without becoming aware of what is going on (hence the ‘covert’ monika), simply by speaking in a particular way with a set of key phrase types.

Unfortunately the Milton model has been so overused over the last 20 years that people are starting to become aware of particular language patterns and are automatically becoming suspicious of what is going on. Contrary to what many practitioners and teachers will tell you, if a client or subject is suspicious of what you are doing it makes it harder (if not impossible) to implant a suggestion successfully.

Learning Hypnosis

To be truly successful you need to learn both the classic Induction based hypnosis and the more efficient Ericksonian hypnosis (I personally prefer this title to any other).

Being a good hypnotist is about being flexible and the more skills, tools and techniques you have at your disposal the better you will be and so learning ALL of the approaches is better than just learning one or two.

On NLP4UOnline there are resources for both schools. There are guides and tutorials for those learning the language patterns of Milton Erickson and there are hypnosis scripts and information for those wishing to use the Induction based method.

Above all, no matter which approach you favour, the most important factor is practice. The best teacher by far is experience and the more you use what you learn the better you will become.

About the author

Lee Avery

Professional Therapist, Clinical Hypnosis & NLP Trainer with over 25 years of experience in training new professionals and treating clients. He specialises in Trauma related Psychological health issues. After years of running training classes Lee has decided to publish his training materials online to further the accessibility of NLP and Hypnosis. He is an advocate for Clinical Hypnosis Excellence and is constantly looking to improve the professional standing of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy within the medical community.

He also runs Achieving Greatness a software development company producing mobile apps for the mental health community.

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