Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Man Named Freud; A Man Named Erickson

Once upon a time there was a man name Sigmund Freud who became a legend in the psychiatric field. This particular man decided to use hypnosis in his practice. Through the use of authoritative hypnosis techniques, he had his clients access the unconscious to help with various mental afflictions. However, he had a few issues with this. He believed that the unconscious mind was a collection of the unseemly aspects of the human mind. It is also rumored that he did not like this process and wandered away from it because many of the clients felt like they had fixed themselves, rather than with heralding Freud with the success. (1)

Though if Freud were reading this, I suspect he might balk at it and reprimand me in that famous German accent we all love to imitate. It may be further noted that he was opposed to Bernheim's hypnotic suggestions (direct, authoritative suggestion for symptom removal), but he himself was known to be intense and leading in an authoritative manner. (2) This would either cause the client to never return or "remember" traumas that caused their hysteria (often sexual abuse). We could talk about false memories here, which has been a problem in the history of regression hypnosis, and more about Freud's hypnotic processes but that would cause us to digress, so we shall save it for another post.

So then, where is leading, Ms. Blunt, you might ask? This segways from authoritative techniques to the need for more permissive ones, where the client is not forced to create memories and feels more secure in the therapist's hands or rather - words.

Enter Milton Erickson, the more modern hero for the present hypnotist. Feeling a bit of an opposite, he believed it was just fine for the client to feel they had fixed themselves. One might say, he had his ego a little more together than Freud (ouch, I feel the harsh slap across the dimensions of time and space). Sorry. Erickson also found success in using the client's own belief system and terminology to induce a trance. The idea of being kinder and more supportive of the client was felt in his hypnotic work. And one of his biggest concepts brought out the use of the metaphors as a handy tool. But again I digress. We will come to that later.

Let's go back a few sentences to "Feeling a bit of an opposite, he believed it was just fine for the client to feel they had fixed themselves." Erickson was the one who believed that unconscious mind was full of solutions and possibilities and that a person could find their own inner answers to their ailments. By being polite and allowing clients to feeling in control during hypnosis, they would relax more easily and be more open. (1)

So hence, we have permissive hypnosis.


  1. Headcleaners.com
  2. Freud and hypnosis: The hypno-suggestive roots of the Oedipus complex
  3. Getting Past that Old-Style Hypnosis

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