Meaningful Communication in Hypnosis with Incongruent Clients

As we stated previously, there are two types of incongruity that we as hypnotist/communicators will typically encounter: that of simultaneous incongruity — the situation where the client offers in his or her communication, a set of messages which are inconsistent where the message carried by the client's voice tone (A t )/ for example, fails to match the messages carried by the client's words (A^), or the messages carried by the client's body posture, breathing rate or body movements (K detected by the hypnotist in his V system) or any of the other output channels the client is using to express himself. In the visual representation we have been developing,

The second case is that of sequential incongruity — where the client is congruent at one point in time, ti, and again at some later point in time, t ^ . However, when the message value of the two 4-tuple from ti and t j are compared, they are inconsistent with one another:

C ( C (A < A , K, V, Q>) f , ( C (A f A , K, V, 0> )---■> no d "t d t t.

where and

In our experience, one of the most useful maneuvers that a hypnotist/communicator can make when faced with sequential incongruity is to convert it initially into simultaneous incongruity. One of the fastest and easiest ways to accomplish this is anchoring. Specifically, the hypnotist/communicator can anchor (either overtly or covertly) either of the parts which are expressing themselves incongruently overtime (sequentially) and then access the other one. Once the second one is accessed and is being expressed by the client, the hypnotist/communicator uses the anchor aleady established for the first part. One rather typical outcome of this maneuver is a profoundly altered state of consciousness as the client experiences the two incongruent parts simultaneously. The maneuver has always in our experience created (minimally) a state of profound confusion. The alert hypnotist can then easily utilize the resulting confusion state to track to a profound trance. We assume for the remainder of this section that the hypnotist is dealing with a simultaneously incongruent client.

Perhaps the most efficient method of presenting the set of choices which our models offer for effective and creative hypnotic communication with incongruent clients is for us to simply state that all of the patterns presented in volume I and up to this point in volume II of the Patterns series apply with full force to the incongruent client if the hypnotist/communicator regards each of the parts (represented by one of the sets of consistent messages presented) of the client to be a separate and congruent client. In other words, you as a hypnotist/communicator can accept each of the messages which you receive from an incongruent client as a valid representation of that human being as respond to each with the same principles and patterns which you would use toward a separate congruent client. Thus, for example, if one set of messages from the incongruent client is carried by the words (A ^ ), another by the body movements (K) and a third by the tonal and tempo patterning of the client's voice (Af), you would apply that very same initial pattern that we have urged over and over again — meet the client at his model of the world — specifically, you would respond to each of the client's parts in the representational system and output channels you received the messages from them in. When you next replied to the client, your words would match in content the sense of the words (A^) he had offered you while at the same time your voice tone and tempo

(Af ) qualities would approximate those you had received from him and your body movements (K) would be a response to those he had offered you in his previous communication. This simple application of the pacing technique of matching representational systems will guarantee that you will not encounter resistance. Resitance is simply a signal that the hypnotist/communicator has failed to pace some part of the client. By accepting each of the parts of the incongruent client as a valid representaton of that human being and by responding to each with the same care and with the same patterns you would use with individual clients, you proceed rapidly to come to be trusted by each of those parts, and resistance is impossible. This is an explicit representation of one of Erickson's famous double and triple takes.

One way to organize your thinking about how to respond to an incongruent client is to consider the whole continuum of possible responses you have as a communicator in that particular situation. At one end of the continuum of possible responses is what therapists call meta.-commenting. For example, with an incongruent client who states the words "Oh, yes, I'm ready to go into a deep trance," while simultaneously shaking their heads from side to side, meta-commenting would consist of the communicator saying something like, "I heard you say that you are ready to go into a deep trance and as you said that I noticed that your head was slowly shaking from side to side, . . .I'm a little confused. Could you help me with understanding what you really want?" At the other end of the continuum is a mirroring response; that is, the communicator responds by saying, "Oh good, I'm glad that you are ready," while simultaneously shaking his head from side to side. The first possibility is typical of what is commonly called insight or conscious mind therapy. It has the effect of forcing into the client's conscious awareness some portion of their communication which had been outside of consciousness until the communicator's meta-comment. The typical response is one of shock. It fails to respect the channels of communication which the client is selecting (both consciously and unconsciously) to communicate the various parts of himself. The second response — that of mirroring — is in our experience more typical of hypnotic communication, especially that of Milton H. Erickson. As communicators, we believe that there are no mistakes in communication — there are simply outcomes. The outcome of meta-commenting is shock value and the bringing into conscious ness of material/parts that the client was previously unaware of. The outcome of mirroring is an immediate effective pace of all parts of the client expressing themselves and the avoidance of resistance. Our personal preferences run to what we consider the more graceful choice — that of mirroring. We all three maintain the choice of using either as the context dictates. Since this is a volume on hypnosis, the choices of responding to incongruent clients we will concern ourselves with are those located toward the mirroring end of the continuum. For these readers who are interested in developing a wide range of choices of response which cluster around the meta-commenting end of the continuum, we have created a model of a number of them in part II of volume II of The Structure of Magic (Grinder and Bandler).

The first, and in our experience, one of the most powerful of the choices of a hypnotic response to an incongruent client is the one already mentioned — mirroring. In order to be an effective mirrorer, the hypnotist/communicator must train him or herself to have a full range of choice about controlling his or her verbal and non-verbal output channels. The ability to provide an adequate mirroring response presupposes that the hypnotist/ communicator has the ability to detect incongruency in order to be able to mirror it. The gracefulness with which the hypnotist/ communicator adopts the particular patterns of incongruent cmmunication offered by the client will determine how effective this response. In teaching this response in our training seminars, we have the person learning to mirror copy the client in only one output channel at a time until they have developed their ability and confidence in that ability to gracefully alter their own communication until it matches the communication patterns of the client. One of the most frequent outcomes that the people we have trained in our seminars elicit when initially developing their skills in this type of response is that of accessing into consciousness in the client some other part or model of the world — usually one which is radically inconsistent with the previous one. We have called this the polarity, and the entire maneuver, playing polarity (see The Structure of Magic, volume II, part II.) For those of you familiar with the work of John Rosen, you will recognize this as one of the patterns he uses very effectively with schizophrenia. As an acquaintance of ours once stated: "Rosen so effectively meets the client at his (the client's) model of the world that he (Rosen) ruins the client's psychosis." The difference between these two outcomes (each an excellent choice yielding a useful outcome) is the subtleness with which the communicator adopts the patterns of incongruent communication offered by the client. If the maneuver is carried out with subtleness, the outcome is an immediate and profoundly effective pace. If the client detects in consciousness the maneuver, the outcome will be a rapid access into the client's behavior of some part of him which was previously outside of consciousness — the polarity maneuver.

Another choice of responding to incongruent clients is that offered by any of the covert induction techniques we have presented earlier. For example, the hypnotist/communicator may choose to question the client closely about his understanding of what a deep trance would be like (working his way systematically through the variables of the 4-tuple). As he does so, he is alert to note the responses by the client and to covertly anchor the responses which in combination will yield the type of altered state which will be useful for the purposes of the hypnotic encounter. The client, of course, is conscious only that he is having a harmless conversation with the hypnotist. Once the components of the altered state the hypnotist desires have been solidly anchored, he need only trigger the anchors for the components simultaneously, and the altered state will result. In making a choice about which system to anchor in, the 4-tuple and its associated R operator provide the hypnotist communicator with a principled and effective way of deciding — specifically, with incongruent clients, anchor in any system which is ~R. Another excellent choice with incongruent clients is to converse comfortably with the client about a relatively harmless topic while marking analogically certain portions of the verbal communication for special attention at the unconscious level. Again the R operator indicates which system to use for the marking of verbal messages — that is, any of the systems. A third class of covert inductions which are effective with incongruent clients are those involving the intersecton of TOTEs as detailed in tracking model II. In using this model with incongruent clients the hypnotist/communicator may usefully select 4-tuples which involve TOTEs where the intersection occurs in one of the^R systems. For example, ifyou as a hypnotist were working to get eye closure with an incongruent client whose R operator was V using tracking model II, you might have a conversation which included a discussion of among other things: watching a sunrise,.diving into cold water, walking down a dusty, dirt road with a lot of traffic on it. Visually (the client's consciousness) these 4-tuples have very little in their intersection but kinesthetically, each includes a TOTE which leads in the direction of eye closure.

Another excellent choice is responding to incongruent clients is the surprise induction. The fact that a client is incongruent is a signal that he or she is not unified to their ability to respond. You may utilize this by creating a situation where they experience confusion. The client's being unable to act in a unified manner insures that their recovery from this state of confusion will take some time. There are many classes of surprise inductions. We suggest that you discuss earnestly with the client the issue which he is incongruent about. Once he is expressing the incongruency strongly, you need only detect any repetitive pattern of movement in the client and interrupt it. The handshake interruption induction we discussed at the beginning of this volume is the paradigm example. The handshake is, in this culture, an automatic response which is experienced as a single unit of behavior in consciousness. Its interruption leaves the client momentarily without a program — a state of confusion insues which can then be utilized to induce any useful altered state. Any repetitive motor patterns presented by the client offers the same opportunity to the alert hypnotist/communicator.

The choice of using metaphor with incongruent clients is one of the most powerful in our experience, especially the technique of stacked realities — these patterns are the subject of volume III of the Patterns series. Finally, we mention the choice of re-framing, either metaphorical or literal. This is an extensive area containing many interesting patterns some of which will be contained in a forthcoming publication (Neuro-Linguistic Programming I).

Each of the choices mentioned above as a creative and effective response to incongruent clients are formal patterns — patterns of process. As such the offer the hypnotist/communicator a potentially infinite number of specific choices in his or her response to those clients who come seeking assistance and who are incongruent.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment