Gradual Diminution Of Pain

I can't take away all of your pain. That is asking too much of me; it is asking too much of your body. And if you lose 1 percent of that pain you would still have 99 percent of it left; you wouldn't notice the loss of 1 percent, but it would still be a loss of 1 percent. You could lose 5 percent of that pain. You wouldn't notice the loss of 5 percent, because you would still have 95 percent of the pain; but you would still have a loss of 5 percent. Now you could lose 10 percent of the pain, but that really wouldn't be noticeable because you would still have 90 percent of it; but you nevertheless would have a loss of 10 percent of your pain. [You continue to diminish the pain —down to 85 percent, 80 percent, 75, 70, 65, 60,and so on. Then you say:] You might even lose 80 percent of your pain, but I don't think that is quite reasonable, yet. I would be willing to settle for a loss of 75 percent. [And the patient is going to agree with you, regretfully. Then:] What is the difference between 75 and 80 percent, and sooner or later you can lose 80 percent, and maybe 85 percent; but first, let us settle for 80 (Erickson, 1983, p. 236).

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