Therapeutic Approaches to Altered States
Volume 12: Collected Works of Milton H. Erickson, MD
Ernest L. Rossi, PhD, Roxanna Erickson-Klein, PhD and Kathryn Rossi, PhD, Editors
This book is available through The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Press.
Indirect communication is the overall concept we use to cover what we have variously described as two-level communication, the naturalistic approach, and the utilization approach. The common denominator of all these approaches is that hypnotherapy involves something more than simple talk on a single, objective level. The readily apparent, overt content of a message is like the tip of an iceberg. The recipient of indirect communication is usually not aware of the extent to which his or her associative processes have been set in motion automatically in many directions. Hypnotic suggestion received in this manner results in the automatic evocation and utilization of the patient’s own unique repertory of response potentials to achieve therapeutic goals that might have been otherwise beyond reach. In our previous volumes we outlined the operation of this process as the microdynamics of trance induction and suggestion. Although this is the essence of the senior author’s original contribution to modern suggestion theory, we will review in this volume some of the many means and meanings that other authors have used as they struggle to reach an understanding of indirect communication in the long history of hypnosis.
The first section of this volume presents an historically important lecture on clinical hypnosis by the senior author wherein we witness his transition from the older authoritarian approach to hypnosis to the new permissive approaches, which he pioneered. The second and third sections of this volume focus on the phenomena of catalepsy and ideomotor signaling, two of the senior author’s basic approaches to trance induction and hypnotherapy. The fourth section, dealing with the experiential learning of hypnosis, illustrates one of the senior author’s favorite occupations in recent years: the training of professionals in the use of clinical hypnosis by allowing them to experience the process themselves.