Some examples of the speech pattens in the different modalities are as follows:-
Kinaesthetic (feeling) “I know how you feel…”
“Not a clever move…”
“Put your finger on it…”
With this modality some of the better words to use when talking to this client or personalising a screed would be :- touch, smooth, gentle, move,warm, cool.
Visual (sight) “I see how you feel…”
“It looks good to me…”
“It just goes to show…”
In this case some good words to use would be :- look, imagine, watch, bright.
Auditory (hearing) “I hear what you are saying…”
“It sounds good to me…”
“On the same wavelength…”
In this final example words to use with the client would be :- say, remark, duscuss, harmony.
The use of modality is only one way in which a screed can be personalised. The best way to achieve an effective hypnotic state in a client is to employ all the senses in the PMR. This is known as ‘compounding’, and when the screed contains references to all the modalities, it creates the most authentic experience
Permissive and Authoritarian
Inductions differ in style and manner. The two types of hypnotic induction, which are generally recognised, are the permissive and the authoritarian.
The permissive style can be described as ‘nurturing’ as the words used are ‘caring’ and leave the client with a choice. Some example phrases would be: -
“You may like to close your eyes…”
“You might want to make yourself comfortable..”
“Perhaps you would like to start…”
This style would ideally suit the client who enjoys imaginative extremes and prefers not to be directed in any way. These clients would be caring, eager to please and who do not challenge altered ideas and realities.
Authoritarian screeds will be far more direct and logical with no choice. Here the therapist is in control (as they know what they are doing), and the script will be to the point and not flowered with metaphors. Some example phrases would be: -
“Now close your eyes and begin to notice your breathing…”
“I want you to imagine yourself..”
“Start by concentrating on your breathing..”
These screeds can contain imagery but the words will be more directional and the images not fantastical. Choices will not be given in the PMR.
Sometimes this style may seem a little harsh, but to many people it is effective and even necessary when the aim of the hypnosis is focussed on habit changing such as stopping smoking.
Direct and Indirect Suggestions
Direct suggestions are designed to guide or instruct you to respond in a certain way. Direct questions are usually simple and to the point. They are often used in an induction that does not require you to use your imagination to any significant degree. They are the opposite of indirect suggestions, in which imagery plays an integral part.
As direct suggestions are given, the client responds to the words rather than the images. The suggestion may be one word, or several sentences that trigger an immediate response.3 Some examples of direct suggestions are: -
“And now you can imagine a peaceful and special place. You can imagine this special place and you can even feel it”
“You are alone and there is no one to disturb you. This is the most peaceful place in the world for you”
Indirect suggestions are of two major types. In the first, a desired emotional state such as happiness is focused upon. Interviewing the client to identify an experience that once provoked the desired emotional state would do this. Once identified, the client is motivated (by way of the PMR) to relive the experience, and the accompanying positive emotion.
The second type of indirect suggestion is often associated with the work of Milton Erickson. Although not the first, Erickson was one of the most influential people in using this technique. Erickson used metaphors and analogies within the framework of hypnosis to give suggestions outside the conscious awareness of the subject. 3
Erickson is noted for his often unconventional approach to psychotherapy, He developed an extensive use of therapeutic metaphor and story as well as hypnosis and coined the term ‘Brief Therapy’ for his approach of addressing therapeutic changes in relatively few sessions. He was noted for his ability to ‘utilize’ anything about a patient to help them change, including their beliefs, favorite words, cultural background, personal history, or even their neurotic habits. 4
Through conceptualising the unconscious mind, highly separate from the conscious mind, with its own awareness, interests, responses, and learnings, he taught that the unconscious was creative, solution-generating, and often positive.
Erickson frequently drew upon his own experiences to provide examples of the power of the unconscious mind. He was largely self-taught, and a great many of his anecdotal and autobiographical teaching stories are collected by Sydney Rosen in the book My Voice Will Go With You.
The indirect suggestion is highly individualised and each analogy and metaphor must fit the problem and the subject as closely as possible. For example, if an elderly man, who had worked as a carpenter all his life, went to a therapist to be relieved of pain in his arm, an induction would need to be designed so as to make use of a metaphor that had meaning to him. The closer the metaphor could reflect the man’s experience, the better. As an example a giant redwood or iron wood tree may be used in order to stress the attributes of strength and wholeness associated with this type of wood. 3
The induction could be as follows:-
“You are driving down a long road and the wind is blowing and gusting. As you round a curve in the road you see a giant redwood tree standing on a hill. One of its branches is being battered about in the wind”
Where classical hypnosis is authoritative and direct, and often encounters resistance in the subject, Erickson's approach is permissive, accommodating and indirect. For example, where a classical hypnotist might say "You are going into a trance", an Ericksonian hypnotist would be more likely to say "you can comfortably learn how to go into a trance". In this way, he provides an opportunity for the subject to accept the suggestions they are most comfortable with, at their own pace, and with an awareness of the benefits. The subject knows they are not being hustled, and takes full ownership of, and participation in their transformation. As the induction takes place during the course of a normal conversation, Ericksonian hypnosis is often known as Covert or Conversational Hypnosis.
Erickson maintained that it was not possible to consciously instruct the unconscious mind, and that authoritarian suggestions were likely to be met with resistance. The unconscious mind responds to openings, opportunities, metaphors, symbols and contradictions. Effective hypnotic suggestion, then, should be ‘artfully vague’, leaving space for the subject to fill in the gaps with their own unconscious understandings - even if they do not consciously grasp what is happening. The skilled hypnotherapist constructs these gaps of meaning in a way most suited to the individual subject, in a way which is most likely to produce the desired change.
For example the authoritative "you will stop smoking" is likely to find less leverage on the unconscious level than "you can become a non-smoker". The first is a direct command, to be obeyed or ignored (and notice that it draws attention to the act of smoking), the second is an opening, an invitation to possible lasting change, without pressure, and which is less likely to raise resistance. 2
Affirmations and the Power of the Subconscious Mind
Affirmations are positive statements that describe a desired situation, and which are repeated many times, in order to impress the subconscious mind and trigger it into positive action. In order to ensure the effectiveness of the affirmations, they have to be repeated with attention, conviction, interest and desire.
More than often, people repeat in their minds negative words and statements concerning the situations and events in their lives, and consequently bring upon themselves undesirable situations. Words and statements work both ways, to build or destroy. It is the way we use them that determines whether they are going to bring good or harmful results.
Often, people repeat negative statements in their minds, without even being aware of what they are doing. Do you keep thinking and telling yourself that you cannot do something, that you are too lazy, lack inner strength or that you are going to fail? Your subconscious mind accepts as true what you keep saying, and eventually attracts corresponding events and situations into your life, irrespective of whether they are good or bad for you, so why not choose only positive statements?5
I believe that by spending time ‘getting to know’ the client and understanding their preferred modality prior to commencing any treatment, can only have a positive outcome. By personalising the PMR you are increasing the opportunity to ‘reach’ the client on both a personal and also a subconscious level. This can only be beneficial to both the therapist and the client, and make it easier to provide more effective treatment.
The alternative would be to use a standardised PMR, incorporating all the modality aspects and hope that somehow, by chance, the right buttons are pushed. It resembles comparing World War flak guns to today’s Surface to Air Missiles. The latter has a 99.9% of hitting the target.
Will a personalised induction always be more effective? Yes I believe it will.
Chrysalis. Hypnosis and Mental Health - Further Techniques - Counselling Skills 1 (Year One – Hypnotherapy and Counselling Skills - Module Two)
Erickson, Milton H, and Rossi Ernest L. Hypnotherapy: An Exploratory Casebook (1979, New York: Irvington Publishers, Inc.)
Hadley, Josie & Staudacher, Carol. Hypnosis for Change (Third Edition New Harbinger Publications 1996)
Heap, Michael & Dryden, Windy. Hypnotherapy – A Handbook (Psychotherapy Handbooks – Open University Press 2008)
Karle, Hellmutt and Boys, Jennifer. Hypnotherapy – A Practical Handbook (Eighth Edition Free Association Books 1987)
Murphy, Joseph. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind (Wilder Publications)
1 Chrysalis. Hypnosis and Mental Health - Further Techniques - Counselling Skills 1
3 Hadley Josie & Staudacher Carol. Hypnosis for Change
4 Erickson Milton H, and Rossi Ernest L. Hypnotherapy: An Exploratory Casebook
2 5 http://www.successconsciousness.com