5 Important Basics about Ericksonian Hypnosis Techniques


Milton H. Erickson, known as the greatest communicator of all time, was not only good at communicating with others, but also good at communicating with his own mind and body, using hypnosis to gain great life power.  At the beginning of the last century, Milton H. Erickson was born on a farm in Nevada, USA. He suffered from dyslexia, color blindness, and difficulty distinguishing sounds as a child, and unfortunately contracted polio at the age of 17. In 1923, he began studying ancient hypnotism, a treatment that puts patients into a state of deep sleep.  Until 1948, Erickson was teaching and clinically treating psychiatry. After 1952, Erickson could only treat his personal patients due to a relapse of his illness. In 50 years of therapeutic practice, he has treated nearly 30,000 patients, but has not written a single theoretical book, only his lectures have been published. Later, Erickson helped many patients with his hypnotic techniques. The treatments he developed are widely used around the world, and he is known as the “Father of modern hypnotherapy”. Here are 5 important basics about Ericksonian hypnosis techniques:

Basic 1: Rely on the subconscious mind

Erickson’s concept of the subconscious is completely different from Freud’s. In Erickson’s view, the “subconscious mind” is not a “grey repression zone” but a “bright reserve zone”. In the subconscious, all our potentials are stored, and using them well can solve all the problems in our life. So we don’t need to fear the subconscious, which is our most loyal ally. It has a unique way of working, and it is only through its wisdom that we can improve our lives and behaviors.


Basic 2: Experience of hypnosis

According to Erickson, hypnosis is a natural physiological phenomenon that we all experience every day. A moment of wandering, a moment of reflection, a moment of engaging reading… All of these are hypnotic states. When we turn our attention away from the here and now, we enter a trance state that is very similar to being hypnotized. Contrary to what we often think, it’s not a passive state, it’s a positive state. Because in this process, the habitual limitations of thinking are temporarily removed, we can gain many different feelings — especially direct access to our subconscious mind.

Basic 3: Discover potential

Erickson was the first psychotherapist to put the idea that “everyone is unique” at the forefront of his mind, and he truly respected every individual. Because he believes that each of us has a unique potential: our instincts awaken when we need them, and we do the right thing without thinking. These potentials can be tapped and developed if we learn to pay more attention to our innermost feelings.

Basic 4: Practice self-hypnosis

Erickson was the first to discover the techniques and efficacy of self-hypnosis. By learning the technique, we can guide ourselves into a mild state of spiritual possession. We need to master the right skills, such as self-suggestion through pictures and music, regulating our breathing and focusing our attention on certain parts of the body. Self-hypnosis has many uses: to get rid of certain complexes that are bothering you, to exercise your memory or eloquence, to relieve headaches, and more. In addition, self-hypnosis can be used in daily life without any side effects.

Basic 5: Wake up people around

In day-to-day communication, Erickson favors a creative, indirect approach, which he finds more persuasive. For example, he advocates the use of suggestive sentences: “Ah, this is the taste of Provencal cuisine!” – much better than simply suggesting “Let’s go for Provencal cuisine!” This way of hinting can disrupt the thinking structure of the people around you and change their state of consciousness, so as to better convey your message. There are no secrets, as long as everyone gets creative and develops their listening skills.

The End: Hypnosis can be understood as a method of free exploration and learning that will not be limited and hindered by our past experiences, which is what Erickson understands to develop such a unique approach to hypnotic induction and hypnotic training. Just like the pendulum of time will always move forward, our consciousness itself is constantly developing in new ways, and learning hypnosis can help us better mobilize our potential and help others in a better way.