Hilgard: Ruth, I want you to meet Dr. Erickson. Ruth: How do you do, sir.
E: How do you do. Do you mind if I call you Ruth? Ruth: No, I'd like to have you call me Ruth. E: Please sit down. Does that light feel all right? Ruth: Yes, it does.
E: I understand you've never been hypnotized?
E: But that you are interested?
E: And I think that perhaps the best thing to do is to get right down to work. How much are you willing to learn?
Ruth: Well, I'm very willing. [Slight pause] I'm a little nervous, though. E: You're a little nervous? Ruth: Yes.
e: Well, really, I ought to be the one who's nervous, because I've got to do the work, and all you have to do is let things happen, and they will happen.
R: Upon being introduced, Erickson uses his first remark to gain access to personal contact by requesting permission from Ruth to use her first name. Requesting her permission is not only polite, it immediately gives her an active role in determining how the proceedings will go. Erickson's first solicitous remark about the light (for the movie that is being made) continues this initial effort to enlist her approval and active participation. He then asks a question to ensure her interest in hypnosis, and then another, "How much are you willing to learn?" Thus the hypnotic situation is immediately defined as a learning process. This is especially appropriate in a university setting.
In the next remarks about being nervous Erickson does a number of things: (1) acknowledges and reflects her feelings; (2) identifies with her nervousness and in a peculiarly concrete way may be relieving her of it by taking it on himself (the original meaning of transference in the rituals of early forms of healing was that the patient's disturbance or disease was transferred to the healer (shaman, witch doctor, or guru), who internalized the problem and dealt with it in his own system); (3) utilizes it to define hypnosis further as a situation where "all you have to do is let things happen, and they will happen." The ease and casualness with which all this is done contributes to its effectiveness. Casualness in a context of truisms and good rapport may be regarded as a most effective vehicle for the acceptance of suggestion.
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Hypnosis has been defined as a state of heightened suggestibility in which the subject is able to uncritically accept ideas for self-improvement and act on them appropriately. When a hypnotist hypnotizes his subject, it is known as hetero-hypnosis. When an individual puts himself into a state of hypnosis, it is known as self-hypnosis.