Salt Lake City, Utah
I have often used another variant of Erickson's technique of dissociating affect and content in successfully working with severe trauma in cases of multiple personality. A personality who holds both the content and feelings of a memory is asked by the therapist to give back feelings only to the appropriate personality (most commonly the host). The therapist then negotiates with the host personality to establish a willingness to receive these feelings back for a limited period of time (e.g., 30 seconds). When agreement has been reached, the personality holding the feelings is told that when a cue word ("NOW") is given, he/she should give back only feelings (no content) for the prescribed period of time, which the therapist will monitor. This personality is then instructed that in a moment he will see the number 100 as he looks up and to the right. This number, he is told, signifies the amount (percentage) of feeling that he currently has inside about the traumatic incident. After the carefully timed abreaction is concluded, the host personality is given soothing, calming suggestions and allowed to rest or sleep while imagining being in a peaceful, secure setting. The other personality is then asked to look up and to the right and to verbalize the number he sees. This number has often been reduced to one in the range of 60-85. Later in the hypnotic session, or in another session, this process may be repeated until the number is sufficiently reduced that the patient is willing to recall the content of the memory along with the remainder of the feelings.
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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.