Milton Erickson and the Horse – How Hypnosis Really Works
About a year and a half ago I launched a training program called “Core Inner Game.”
My goal with this program was to create resources that help people understand hypnosis at a deeper level, so that rather than just relying on techniques and scripts you could GET the process of change and transformation, and be able to develop your own approaches and style.
Core Inner Game is now closed but I’d like to share with you an article I wrote for it whilst it was still active.
It’s called “Milton Erickson’s Biggest Secret.” Milton Erickson was the founder of indirect hypnosis, whose work formed the basis of NLP, conversational hypnosis, and everyday hypnotic influence.
Erickson revolutionized the field of hypnotherapy by moving people away from old fashioned authoritarian hypnosis, and opening people’s eyes to the power of story and metaphor.
Whether your interests lie in Street or traditional hypnosis, self improvement or in improving your communication and influence skills, you’ll find some useful insight and ideas in this short article.
Here it is:
Milton Erickson’s Biggest Secret
I wanted to share with you some thoughts about the legendary hypnotherapist, Milton H. Erickson. You see, Milton Erickson was one of the few early hypnotists who really GOT this whole idea of Core Inner Game.
While NLPers were running around trying to break down what he did into a bunch of tiny surface level techniques, Erickson was not fooled.
He knew what was really going on. In fact, when talking about NLP he famously said: “They have me down to a nutshell. Trouble is, they left out the nut, and just took the shell.”
Trying to break down the entire incredible process of how Erickson created such powerful changes within ordinary conversations into tiny techniques seems almost laughable when you think about it.
True change comes from the unconscious mind, so relying on very conscious, analytical techniques to get there has lead many people down the wrong path. This is why I am so delighted that you are here!
So, I want to treat you to some words from Milton Erickson himself. Here is the story he tells – in his own words – about how HE goes about creating transformations. While he applies this to his work in psychotherapy, it obviously can be applied to all forms of communication.
This is an earth shattering insight which you need to pay attention to. Now, over to Milton:
Milton Erickson on how HE really does hypnosis…
“I was returning from high school one day and a runaway horse with a bridle sped past a group of us into a farmer’s yard, looking for a drink of water.
The farmer didn’t recognize it so I jumped up to the horse’s back, took hold of the reins and said ‘Giddy-up’ and headed for the highway. I knew the horse would take me to the right direction; I didn’t know what the right direction was.
And the horse trotted and galloped along. Now and then he would forget he was on an highway and would start off into a field. So I would pull on him a bit and call his attention to the fact that the highway was where he was supposed to be.”
“And finally about four miles from where I had boarded him he turned into a farmyard and the farmer said, ‘So that’s how the critter came back. Where did you find him?’ I said, ‘about four miles from here.’
‘How did you know he should come here?’ I said, ‘I didn’t know; the horse knew. All I did was keep his attention on the road.’; I think that is how you do psychotherapy.”
Now, I’d love to break that down for you, and help you consciously spot all the patterns and concepts. I’d love to help you analyze the syntax and structure, and pacing and punctuation. I’d love to expose your conscious mind to every angle and nuance, and reveal to you the real ‘meaning’ of that story.
But that would NOT be helping you.
Sit back, relax, and just this once, let your unconscious mind do the work. I assure you, it’s up to it.
Cheers, Nathan Thomas
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