Communication in hypnosis or in any context for that matter is meaningful to the degree that it serves the desired purpose. To chat over morning coffee is meaningful to serve the purpose of amusing a friend, or the sharing of thoughts. Simple conversations during the day of an average person may sometimes serve his purposes, and sometimes he may be understood. Sometimes he is aware is he is misinterpreted when he is not. Sometimes he believes he is misinterpreted when he is not. Sometimes he is misinterpreted in a way that assists another person greatly. The range of possibilities is immense and as the serious student of communication becomes more and more aware of the complexities and multi-messages involved in communication, he cannot help but be fascinated by the amount of really meaningful communication that goes unnoticed by all agents in the communication process. It is as if two simple conscious minds discuss matters of little importance while their unconscious minds communicate about matters of more importance. How does the inquiring mind come to see and hear such multi-messages in communication, and how does the hypnotist use them to assist his clients in going into a trance and make changes that are beneficial to him as a human being? Erickson has devoted his life to the exploration of these phenomenon, and if half of what he has incorporated into unconscious patterns of his own behavior can be formalized it will make a solid foundation for a science of communication.
The case of communicating with the congruent client in hypnosis is the simple one. Typically, when asked if they want to go into a deep trance, the answer is an emphatic-yes, voice tone-sure, body gesture responsively agreeing.* Almost any technique of induction will work to some degree; such congruent clients usually are capable of almost any hypnotic phenomenon, and also rarely need hypnosis for psychological assistance. They are most often encountered by the dental and medical practitioner or the experimental practitioner. People in pain or faced with the prospect of pain are usually very congruent about their desire to avoid it. They are the willing and effective subjects in demonstrations and classrooms. However this is not signal for the practitioner to become careless in his work. Quite the contrary, the congruent client offers the opportunity for the profoundly creative use of hypnosis. The patterns presented in Volume I of Patterns provides the hypnotist with a structure for verbal suggestions in trance induction and trance utilization. The sytematic use of these patterns in conjunction with one another and the non-verbal components of communication (the 4-tuple) offer the astute hypnotist a multitude of choices. But on what basis is he or she to make that choice? What in essence are the well-formed meta-patterns for induction of a congruent client?
Each client brings to the hypnotist a plethora of ideosyncratic ideas, beliefs, and past experiences which constitute his model or models of the world. However the processes by which that model of the world is constructed are not nearly so numerous or overwhelming. First, we need an organizing principle such as the 4-tuple, and an understanding that each client organizes his experience by applying an L-operator and an R-operator over the 4-tuples of his experiences. Each client will have highly valued representational system principle. If the clients' kinesthetic who watches the accessing cues and listens to the predicates for accessing and bringing information into consciousness by his clients. Hypnotists need to realize the importance of determining a client's R-operator, for example, induction of trance will in essence be shifts in the R-operator over the client's experience. To say that someone has shifted awareness from one representational system to another is to say that they have altered their consciousness. Visualizations where imagery of escalators and such are used will induce light trance in the client but will not alone enable him to achieve deep trance. Here the hypnotist has two general classes of choices. First, he may choose to use the overlap/intersection of representational system principle. If the clients kinesthetic representational system is accessed, the visual client will have altered his awareness more radically and he may then proceed into even deeper trance states. The Huxley article presented in volume I should be consulted as an example of this principle at work — the use of representational sytem shifts with a congruent client.
The second class of choices makes use of the fact that even when using V1 with a client who has V for an R-operator, the entire 4-tuple is accessed. The perceptive hypnotist can detect that visualization of an elevator, for example, serves not only to access the 4-tuple connected with seeing an elevator—but also accesses the feelings connected—the sound and perhaps the smell will also be accessed. Understanding and training himself to detect such changes in the client's non-verbal response and developing choices about utilizing the R response will provide the hypnotist with powerful choices. But such a simple and overt use of the accessing of past 4-tuples to construct meaningful sequences of experience for the induction of trance, powerful as it is, is only one way to use their tool. Once you understand and use the 4-tuple with its associated distinctions (e.g. R, C, L operators...) gracefully, you will begin to realize the vast number of choices it makes available. As a client's past 4-tuples are accessed, the whole experience, the entire 4-tuple, as well as the words used to describe it, are accessed: resources to be utilized to assist the client in change. What a vast array of potential for the student of hypnosis to explore!
Examples of the escalator-type of accessing are easily produced in your own experience. More sophisticated analogue marking is done by determining the client's most highly valued representational sytem and if the client is congruent, marking in the highly valued representational system or all systems simultaneously. So, for example, if a client who has a well developed and highly valued kinesthetic representational system comes for hypnosis, the hypnotist may gracefully and gently as a matter of course place one of his hands on the client's knee and the other on the client's wrist. Once this has been naturally and comfortably accomplished a set of meaningful messages can be marked out while talking to the client. (Capital letters indicate squeezing when speaking that word.)
Hypnotist: Ms P. You have expressed some fear about your ability to GO INTO A TRANCE and I would like to reassure you COMFORTABLY and with PLEASURE so that you can allow yourself the SATISFACTION OF LEARNING to BEGIN A
TRANCE, NOW I want to FEEL RELAXED, I and you are not CLOSED to this NOW (her eyes close). Trance will offer (her eyes open) a change to RELAX and LEARN, REALLY LEARN to BLINK (she blinks) and away your problems with. . .
Analogue marking of multiple messages in this way allows communication to take place with more than one part of the client. At the same time while a meaningful conversaton about the benefits to be obtained from trance are being described, another set of meaningful messages is being marked by squeezes which indicate a sequenced set of 4-tuples to induce trance.
Going into a trance comfortably pleasure feel relaxed
I closed (phonetic ambuiguity for eye closed) Relax learn, really learn blink
The 4-tuples associated with each marked word or phrase in this sequence are themselves a well formed sequence for the development of trance. Thus the repetitious verbage and often quoted ritualistic verbal inductions and repeating of hypnotic commands is nothing more than a trivial example of the trance inductions used by Milton H. Erickson in a sophisticated way. Instead of repeating a single word louder and over and over, the hypnotist using the 4-tuple model can utilize all the available channels of communication in a way that the 4-tuples themselves would be sequenced for the induction and utilization of hypnotic trance. Further using analogue marking allows accessing not only of one set of 4-tuples but double and triple sets simultaneously reinforcing the sequence of 4-tuples which lead into trance.
The astute reader will have noticed by this time that analogue marking as described here and in volume I, is just a special case of anchoring. Tonal or kinesthetic marking of verbal anchors is just one of many ways to create multi-message communication. Communicators can anchor the ongoing behavior of their client in a systematic way and get just as complex a result. For example if each time a client describes experience which approximates the desired altered state, the hypnotist may simply anchor this by a specific touch on the right shoulder. Then later a touch on that shoulder will elicit at the unconscious level the commonality of the anchored 4-tuples. Erickson presents an excellent example of this technique of overlap or intersection of 4-tuples (using in this particular example a verbal transderivational lead to access the appropriate 5-tuples).
Perhaps a very simple and easily understood example can be given to clarify this type of accumulation of minimal cues leading to a specific response: The rest of the family was out for the evening, I was ill but comfortably seated in a chair, Bert, aged 17, had volunteered to remain at home to keep me company although there was no such need. A casual conversation was initiated by Bert in which he mentioned the rush and turmoil of getting everybody dressed and fed and everything packed up for a past vacation trip to northern Michigan. (We were living in Michigan at the time.) Next he mentioned the fishing, the catching of frogs and a frog-leg dinner, the beach dinner and the sand that the smaller children managed to sprinkle over every item of food, and then the albino frog at the abandoned quarry we had found.
Next he described in vivid detail the turmoil of getting everything out of the summer cabin, the oversights, the hunting for misplaced items, the wandering off of the smaller children and the hurried search for them, the locking-up of the cabin, and the hungry tired state we were in when we arrived at Wayne County General Hospital near Detroit where we lived.
At this point, a vague notion passed through my mind to suggest to Bert that he might take car and visit some friends, but this idea vanished as Bert laughingly told of how his brother Lance particularly liked eating Grandma Erickson's fried chicken on the way back to Michigan from Wisconsin. With much laughter, he recalled another occasion in which his small brother Allan had amused everybody, and especially Grandma and Grandpa Erickson with his "bulldozer" pattern of eating, that is, holding his plate up to his mouth and systematically using his other hand to shove the contents of the plate slowly and steadily into his mouth.
Again, this time a clearer idea came to mind of suggesting that Bert take the car keys and go for a ride so that I could enjoy reading, but I forgot it as I recalled my father's amused comment on the absolute efficiency and speed of Allan's method of eating.
While we were laughing about this, Bert mentioned the trip to my brother's farm, and six-year-old Betty Alice's long solemn explanation to three-year-old Allan's worried inquiry about how the mama chickens nursed their babies, that chickens were not mammals and only mammals nursed their young. While we were laughing about this, a third time the thought came to mind of offering the car for the evening, this time most clearly, and I recognized why. In every item of reminiscenses, Bert was speaking of pleasant and happy memories based each upon the driving of a car. Yet not once had he actually said the word "car," the nearest he came to that was to say "packing up," "trip," "went to see," "way out to the old quarry," "down to the beach," "on the way back to Michigan from Wisconsin," and the trip to my brother's farm, and not once did he mention the word key — locking-up the cabin was as close as he came to that.
I recognized the situation at once and remarked, "The answer is 'No'." He laughed and said, "Well, Dad, you'll have to admit it was a good try." "Not good enough, I caught on too fast. You overemphasized trips in the car. You should have mentioned the picketing of Ned's place, where our car was serviced, Ed Carpenter from whom I bought the car, the ice-fishing trip which was in Emil's car but did involve an automobile. In brief, you restricted yourself to constant indirect mention of pleasure trips, always in relationship to us, it was always in our car. The inference to be drawn became too obvious. Do you really want the car?" His answer was, "No, I just thought I'd get a little fun out of getting you to offer me the car keys."
Milton H. Erickson, The "Surprise" and "My Friend John/' Techniques of Hypnosis, Haley (ed.), page 117.
One way we have found useful to organize our trance induction experiences is the notion of tracking. Tracking is the methodical organization of accessing 4-tuples in the client in such a way as to track him from one specific 4-tuple (present state -Si) to another 4-tuple—S1 (deep trance, for example) with the minimum steps or 4-tuple accessed on the way. For instance, we frequently teach participants in our training seminars to use a technique called the shuffle to induce trance. A client is asked what experience they would have just before entering a deep trance. They are questioned methodically about what their experience would be, covering the values of all the variables in the 4-tuple. When they express a complete description, thereby accessing those 4-tuples, this experience is named the before 4-tuple. Clients typically find this terminology somewhat humorous. Usually, in addition to this verbal anchor, some trigger, such as a squeeze on the knee, is also used either overtly with a congruent client or covertly with an incongruent client) to ensure that the client can re-access the before 4-tuple when it is named later and the knee squeeze anchor is repeated.
Next, a complete description of the 4-tuple that would be the client's experience just after deep trance is taken, allowing the client to fully access all the portions of that 4-tuple both a verbal and K anchors are established. Then the client is told to make the before 4-tuple (K trigger fired simultaneously), the after 4-tuple (K trigger fired simultaneously) and then, the after 4-tuple (K trigger), the before 4-tuple (K trigger) and then both K triggers for both the before and the after 4-tuple simultaneously. Usually a deep trance results, as the client accesses the deep trance 4-tuple while passing from the before 4-tuple to after 4-tuple level.
Another technique which we sometimes use in lecture situations for demonstration purposes is to ask some member of the audience to compare the last thing they were aware of before they woke up this morning with a deep trance. If this question is congruently asked of someone who has been in a trance and the authors wait expectantly, typically a trance readily develops as the task of comparing the two named altered states requires that they be accessed, (that is, the 4-tuples for both experiences). Utilization of the ensuing trance provides a rapid means of inducing a profound trance. Tracking procedures of this kind can be accomplished most easily by simply asking a question which presupposes the 4-tuple desired be accessed. In a lecture situation during a discussion of this very topic, one of the authors turned to the audience and asked sincerely, "Do any of you know how it feels to have asthma?" An array of choking, gagging and coughing, followed by laughter, resulted. The important thing here is that people do what they talk about as they talk about it — accessing 4-tuples and then commenting on them. Questions are answered by then commenting on them. Questions are answered by accessing the relevant 4-tuples and using them as the basis of understanding and responding whether or not the person responding brings those accessed 4-tuples into consciousness. As someone describes happy memories, they feel, look and sound happy; as someone describes a terrifying experience they feel, look and sound terrified; as someone talks about an exceptionally good meal, they taste it; and the astute observer will be able to detect the movements of their mouth and tongue. The systematic accessing of 4-tuples by tracking or sequencing, whether overt or covert, with or without anchors, offers a structure for communication of multiple messages in ways that give meaning to the principle of maximal direction (see Patterns, volume I, pages 249-251).
In our work, we have developed communication, and of organizing our experience in the hypnotic encounter—experiences which we believe are common to many practicioneers of hypnosis. We present a discussion of three specific tracking models we have found useful in our experience of hypnosis. We urge you to experiment with these models, thereby increasing your effectiveness and grace in your work in hypnosis.
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Hypnosis is a capital instrument for relaxation and alleviating stress. It helps calm down both the brain and body, giving a useful rest. All the same it can be rather costly to hire a clinical hypnotherapist, and we might not always want one around when we would like to destress.