Now I'd like you to imagine that you're watching a small child who looks very much like you. He's wearing handsome party clothes, and he looks very, very pleased and happy because he's about to play with the presents at his fourth birthday party. Can you see him clearly? What is he wearing? Do his shoes buckle or lace? Can he tie his own shoes? Very good. [Subject is encouraged to develop and respond to the image of himself as a child.]
While you watch him, and see all the nice things he does, I'm going to continue to talk to your unconscious mind. So, while your conscious mind watches, and feels pleased at watching this four-year-old child who looks so much like you and who is so pleased with things, your unconscious mind will register everything that I say, without any effort on your part, as you sit, pleased and expectant, and watch this little child who looks so much like you.
[These suggestions encourage expectation of and participation in the child experience, yet they allow the subject distance and time to adjust to the new experience. There are also a number of disguised binds which allow for resistance to suggestion or individual accom modation to suggestion without retarding the direction of the regression.]
[Following this introduction, the subject is confronted with Erickson's (1964e) confusion induction. This is designed to disorient the subject as to time and place, and to prepare him for amnesia during regression. At the same time, such a technique should make the subject more amenable to the direct instructions to follow.]
REGRESSION BY CONFUSION (ERICKSON)
Everyone knows how easy it is sometimes to become confused as to the day of the week, to misremember an appointment as of tomorrow instead of yesterday, and to give the date as the old year instead of the new. Although today is Tuesday, one might think of it as Thursday, but since today is Wednesday and since it isn't important for the present situation whether it is Wednesday or Monday, one can call to mind vividly an experience of one week ago Monday, that constituted a repetition of an experience of the previous Wednesday. This, in turn, may remind you of an event which occurred on your birthday in 1958. At this time you could only speculate upon but not know about what would happen on the 1959 birthday, and, even less so about the events of the 1960 birthday, since they had not yet occurred. Further, since they had not yet occurred, there could be no memory of them in your thinking in 1958.
Now people may remember some things and forget others; often one forgets things he is certain he will remember but which he does not. In fact, certain childhood memories stand out more vividly than memories of 1960, 1959, 1958. Actually, every day you are forgetting something of this year as well as last year or of 1958 or 1957, and even more so of 1956, '55 and '54. As for 1950, only certain things are remembered identifiably as of that year and yet, as time goes on, still more will be forgotten.
Forget many things, as naturally as one does, many things, events of the past, speculations about the future; but, of course, forgotten things are of no importance — only those things belonging to the present—thoughts, feelings, events, spontaneous present—only these are vivid and meaningful.
Things at age four will be remembered so vividly that you will find yourself in the middle of a pleasant life experience, not yet completed.
REGRESSION: "THE BIOLOGICAL CLOCK"
Everybody knows that clocks can go forward, to register the passing of time, or backward, to indicate time going into the past. Sometimes, in the movies, pages are taken from a calendar, or clocks run backwards, to indicate the passing of time into the past. That's how it is with "outside" time—time you can see. Many people don't know that there's also a kind of "inside" time —time you can't see. Everyone has a kind of biological clock that can really go forward or backward, that can really take you into the past. You can feel that inside clock, even without being quite aware of it, and we can turn it backwards just by counting; later, we can turn it back to the present, just as easily.
REIFF AND SCHEERER INDUCTION (MODIFIED)
In a little while I am going to start counting from [subject's age] back to four. As I count, the biological clock will start to run backwards and you'll become smaller and smaller and younger and younger, so when I reach four you'll be four years old. With each count you'll lose all memory of that year-number, so when we reach four you'll have forgotten everything that happened to you after four. That's the way the biological clock works. When we reach four you'll really be four, celebrating your fourth birthday. You'll move and talk and act and think four years old; it will be easy because you'll really be four and won't be able to think of being anything else: being four will be very happy, and being anything else will seem silly until we count again on the biological clock. So, you'll be four years old. When we reach four, you'll slowly open your eyes and look around the cozy room. I will be somebody you know and like and like to talk to.
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