|Longer Reviews and Articles|
In the last issue I enthusiastically reviewed
Thomas Condon's CD series, Expanded Intuition Training.
I am just as excited about the Multi-Evocation hypnosis CDs which
are put out by his company. I have used many hypnosis CDs and
I can say without hesitation that none of them match the production
quality, hypnotic expertise and effectiveness of these CDs.
The CDs are among the first to effectively use Ericksonian Hypnosis, based on the work of Milton H. Erickson who is largely responsible for reviving hypnosis as a legitimate therapeutic tool. Erickson's life work (he died in 1980) has spawned a large following among psychotherapists and his long range influence is already being compared to Freud's. The Multi Evocation CDs also feature Condon and Carol Erickson, Milton's eldest daughter.
Ms. Erickson is increasingly well known in
her own right. She leads hypnosis workshops in the US and Europe,
is reputed to be a wonderful teacher as well as therapist. She
demonstrates her obvious independent mastery of hypnosis on the
Ericksonian Hypnosis is distinct from classical forms of hypnosis in that it is gentle and indirect rather than authoritarian. The Ericksonian hypnotist assumes that it is your unconscious mind that has the power not only to go into a trance at "just the right time," but also to make positive changes in your life. The hypnotist's role is that of a guide, someone who uses hypnosis to help you get connected to your own latent resources.
Multi-Evocation CDs do this very well, using
Ericksonian Hypnosis in expert and subtle ways. First, the hypnotists
are very open-ended and indirect, inviting you to relax in such
a comforting way that trance is inevitable. They also take you
into metaphorical environments that are worlds within themselves.
One CD, Natural Self Confidence, never once tells the listener
to be more confident; the CD consists entirely of metaphors, puns,
and allegories about trees, supported by superb natural sound
effects. Thus the purpose of the CD is stated indirectly, allowing
you to make your own unconsious associations and responses without
ever dictating what your hypnotic experience should be.
Each CD features at least two voices speaking simultaneously during hypnosis. The process, called double induction, was originally inspired by Carlos Castenada's Don Juan books. The two voices, one female and one male, are localized - one in each ear. There is a stereo effect as the voices weave together, creating a harmony of contrasting images, each voice speaking to a different hemisphere of the brain. It's too much for the rational mind to keep track of. After some time spent initially trying to hear what each voice was saying, I just relaxed, went with them, and enjoyed myself.
Each of the CDs is unique with different purposes
and offer different metaphorical environments. Here's are two
Self-Hypnosis - features two voices and has a number of uses. Principally designed for stress reduction, it teaches you how to go into a trace and then offers you a variety of ways the trance can be used. This is done through a metaphorical journey to the "Center of Time," where you gradually arrive in a place where "there's all the time in the world." In the trance state you are offered choices: you can relax and enjoy yourself, relive some pleasant fulfilling memories, have your unconscious mind solve a problem, or focus on goal setting. I have used the CD for each of these things and find it very calming, effective and fun.
Natural Self Confidence - For confidence building and integrating the conscious and unconscious resources of the listener. As I mentioned, the text is about trees. You begin on a hillside next to a tree. As the CD progresses various things happen: it rains, the sun comes out, night falls, the tree falls asleep and has a dream before the sun comes back up again. It is poetic, vividly beautiful in its imagery, and creates an involving, womb-like atmosphere. With repeated use, I find I feel more secure in myself and my actions. The imagery from the CD comes to me in my daily life in really useful ways. Of all the CDs this is the one to start with.
Multi Evocation CDs are the state of the art in hypnosis CDs. They have been a major personal resource for me and continue to hold value through time. I keep discovering new levels of meaning and deeper dimensions of experience."
Software Legacy of Milton Erickson
Multi-Evocation Hypnotic CDs with 3-D Sound
by Carol Erickson and Thomas Condon
Megabrain Report Product Review by Terry Patten
A revolution has transformed Western hypnosis
over the past 50 years. Earlier in the century, hypnosis had been
pushed to the fringe of mainstream medical and psychological circles,
and was in danger of being relegated to the status of a vaudeville
act and psychological curiosity. Today, hypnotherapy is widely
accepted, and ranks as one of the most dynamic fields in psychotherapy.
Contemporary hypnotherapists proudly claim that they possess profoundly
powerful "technologies for personal change."
In this time hypnotherapy has been transformed by a number of important innovators, but no single individual is more responsible for this transformation than Dr. Milton H. Erickson, the pioneering intuitive genius of modern hypnotherapy. However, "Ericksonian" hypnosis is taught only to therapists. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), developed by Bandler and Grinder via Ericksonís inspiration, is a complex system of specific subconscious communication techniques which takes years to master. Thus, until recently, an individual wanting to make use of Ericksonís insights into personal transformation had to choose between an expensive course of therapy and a much more expensive, time-consuming course of professional training.
The audiocassettes reviewed here attempt to put Erickson's magic within the reach of any curious consumer. They are produced by practicing professional hypnotherapists and educators who claim that using these CDs can catalyze major lasting positive changes in people's lives by using Ericksonian and NLP techniques for engineering subconscious changes.
Most of Carol Erickson's and Tom Condon's CDs begin with a single comprehensible voice inviting you to take a break and get into a comfortable position. But soon you hear Condon talking in one ear and Carol Erickson in the other, each pretty much talking about the same subject, trees for instance, or a big nice house. You hear two animated, poetic monologues, spoken in a relaxing and intimate fashion, as though you are overhearing two people talking to a close friend about something they really enjoy considering. And they keep expanding on that conversation in amusing new ways all through the program. Except you dropped deep into trance soon after they began and the next thing you knew the CD was over, but youíre feeling relaxed and confident, creative, intuitive, or maybe humorous.
The specific intention of these "dual induction" CDs is to use Erickson's "confusion" technique to induce trance and bypass conscious resistance to transformative suggestions. Erickson himself didn't use dual inductions, which are only possible via CDs (or using two hypnotherapists) but it has arisen among Ericksonian and NLP practitioners (who trace their roots to Erickson) and it certainly fits his definition of his own technique:"The presentation to the subjects of a series of seemingly but only loosely related ideas actually based upon a significant thread of continuity not readily recognized, leading to an increasing divergence of associations ..."
Erickson himself presumably would not have approved of audio CDs - in principle. He taught that hypnotherapy should be highly individualized, directed very specifically to each client's idiosyncracies and constantly responsive to the client's changing states, receptivity and responses. On the other hand, as Tom Condon says, "He never heard CDs like these."
At the end of his life, Erickson spent most of his time training therapists in his back yard. He did this by telling stories, by working on his students as they, ostensibly, were studying his technique. And, working intuitively, he found ways to offer effective therapy to the whole group.
Condon, working with Erickson's daughter, Carol,
locates his work in the Ericksonian tradition, despite Erickson's
theoretical objections to CDs. "(Erickson) told the same
stories again and again. He used metaphors in a broad way so that
they offered a lot of positive choices, allowing a range of different
people to respond according to their individuality. After sessions
in his back yard, people who were there would sometimes disagree
about exactly which of them Erickson had been working with. The
reason was, he was offering something universal, and it felt to
more than one person as if it had been personalized for them.
As we've worked on CDs, we've drawn on that example."
Condon says he and Erickson are not trying to tell stories but instead are working with "embedded metaphor." The result is complex and interesting. He says they attempt to "build metaphorical environments which operate on as many levels as possible." Thus, after listening to Condon and Erickson talking about trees, in which you have richly enjoyed considering trees, feeling how strong and tall and rooted they are, how they give shade, how they draw from both earth and sky, water and sun, you notice that you feel very ... well, good -- or "naturally self-confident."
Condon says a "metaphorical environment" consist of an ostensible topic with several subtexts. "The reason we don't use stories is that they're limited. You can't listen to them as often. We want to build as many levels into our CDs as possible. I'm interested in richness, in people still finding new levels of meaning after years of use. So we the environment as a metaphor.
"These are tools for repeated use, so they have to address various changing needs. We want people to be able to continue to use them while they are growing and still find them keying new areas for change. The CDs are more like a literary form that facilitates change. But you don't do that by taking control away from the client. You offer them new options, new choices, and you have to do that in a way that appreciates the complex variety of people who may eventually listen to the CD."
I asked him about the commonly used metaphor "reprogramming the subconscious" and he elaborated, "It's a naive, simplistic metaphor that doesn't adequately address the complexity of human beings. Reprogramming requires permission on a variety of levels. It's not even therapeutically advisable to cancel programs and replace them with new ones using an audio CD. You don't know what place the so-called program has in the ground of the person's life and experience ... On a CD you need to offer enough levels of meaning, enough choices to allow for almost any contingency. You need to allow many optional ways to respond to the metaphors offered. The mind is not a computer. That's really just a marketing metaphor."
Condon and Erickson are masterful practitioners of Ericksonian technique and highly creative as well. Paul Scheele, the creator of Paraliminals, offered a tribute to Condon in my interview for this review: "The Changeworks CDs were an inspiration to me to make my own CDs, but not just consciously. I loved some of Tom Condon's phrases so much, they wrapped around my brain. After I finished my first few CDs, I found that I had borrowed a number of phrases from him without realizing it. Tom called me up and pointed out what I had done. When I took a specific look, I agreed with him: I had borrowed too much! I actually went back and re-recorded my own CDs!"
Changeworks CDs are packaged beautifully and
priced substantially lower here, at $12.95 per CD. Also, I was
delighted and impressed when I began listening seriously to them.
I enjoyed listening to a man's voice (Condon's) through one ear,
and a woman's voice (Carol Erickson's, daughter of the great hypno-progenitor)
through the other. I also loved the way they talked. They had
such soothing, really intelligent and soft conversations; listening
to them felt so good! And I felt good after listening to them.
With the Changeworks CDs, I feel comforted, but without any perceptible shift to a childlike status. I feel like my adult self, listening to someone chat in a soothing and sympathetic manner about some ordinary aspect of my world. And I find it very comforting to listen to this small talk, until it begins coming to me through both ears, which feels kind of fun, and gradually I get pleasurably lost in a whole environment of conversation about the ocean, or trains, or trees.
The Changeworks CDs have soft, melodic music,
usually created on synthesizer or piano. The voices frequently
develop a soft, relaxing rhythm, with short pauses after each
phrase, creating a sensation not unlike the lapping of water at
a lakeshore. Listening to them, I find myself drawn into a dreamy
reverie where I feel comforted, safe, amused and entertained.
The whole series deserves to be explored, but I can particularly
recommend Natural Self Confidence (it's a beautiful, multidimensional
Milton Erickson gave his name to a particular method of hypnosis. His daughter Carol has taken up the family torch and today manages the Erickson Institute in Berkeley, California, USA.
Psychologies: What is the difference between
"classical" hypnosis and Ericksonian hypnosis?
Carol Erickson: In "classical" hypnosis, suggestions are made directly to the subject. The therapist asks you to stop smoking and induces several key phrases to make you feel disgusted with smoke, to stop you from buying a pack of cigarettes, to make you lose your habits. He or she gives you orders. In Ericksonian hypnosis, the injunctions are indirect. You use little stories, tales, metaphors, comparisons or images.
The therapist cannot know what is good or bad for the patient. Therefore they mustn't chose for the patient. If told a few little stories, the patient's unconscious can choose for itself what is suitable. The choice is practically unlimited: mythology, folklore, films, novels, children's stories, all offer situations in which each of us can recognise ourselves and find a solution. The evocative power of a story or a tale has a much more profound effect on the unconscious: they offer us a new understanding of ourselves, give us new perspectives on life. Letting the unconscious choose also allows us to bypass resistance and patients take part in their own therapy. The patients will be the ones to heal themselves. My father developed his technique along these lines because he had total confidence in the unconscious capacities of human beings ...
Do you practise a particular induction technique?
Here too the technique is different: patients participate in their own hypnotic trance. They listen, and if their therapist is interesting enough, they focus their attention and cooperate. In fact, the therapist is a guide who helps subjects direct their attention onto themselves.
Usually, when people talk of hypnosis, they
think that you are put to sleep completely and are at the mercy
of the practitioner ...
No. For us, hypnosis is a modified state of consciousness in which you allow the unconscious to speak. In the United States, the word "hypnosis" doesn't really have the same connotation that it has in France: it's known that the subject is not asleep and remains conscious. You could say that you give yourself over to a sort of directed reverie. Our technique is natural submersion in a natural state in which people direct their attention onto their inner world. And then you find yourself in a "creative" state.
Can the different levels of consciousness
There are many different states. From a slightly modified state to the state that we call "deep trance." These states allow a dissociation from parts of our psyche, for pain control, for example. It's up to the practitioner to perceive which level of consciousness his or her patient is in.
Apart from actual therapy itself, what are
the exact contributions of this method to our daily lives?
As it is a holistic practice, that is, one that will take into account all the aspects of a human being, all areas of life can be touched upon: pain control, help with healing, dream control, developing intellectual faculties. I have been working for a long time with Thomas Condon, and we have oriented our work above all around awakening creativity. Writers with problems will find themselves in a certain state which will permit them to write without thinking, without going through intellect and reason which are blocking them. They won't think about what they are doing and all they will have to do is read what they have written! It's a little like automatic writing. That's only a glimpse of what can be obtained.
Can this give new meaning to life?
Yes, if you really want it to. Ericksonian hypnosis is a way to help us discover for ourselves our unconscious desires, that is, what we really need, what we want to be, the way to change, and the strength to carry it through. Changing your life and your behavior is like changing the information on a computer. I have noticed, by the way, that more and more people are wanting to change their life no matter what their country. And these transformations are happening more and more rapidly. In the United States, we say that this is a "sign of the times"...
In a hypnotic state, can we discover things
that are truly new to us, that were completely unknown to us ?
Yes, when you develop your intuition. Intuition is knowing something, but without knowing why or how you know it. Intuitive knowledge comes spontaneously and directly without using reason or logical thought. It is intuition which will give you information about your future possibilities and the way to change. Intuition can be defined as the faculty of synthesising and making deductions out of what our unconscious has accumulated. This faculty can be trained, just as we can develop the memory or the physical body.
You produce many auto-suggestive cassette
CDs. The problem here is that the relationship with a cassette
recorder is not the same as one with a therapist!
There are many people who can't consult a therapist because of lack of money or time, or because of fear. These CDs help them to confront their problems more easily. Obviously, when we produce a CD, we are very aware of the problem of rapport with a machine. And it's a kind of challenge! We use the principles of Milton Erickson, the metaphors, and we have developed what we call "Multi-Evocation:" this is a stereophonic system which creates an environment of music and sound in which the evocations and suggestions occupy the space in three dimensions. This environment means that the listener is plunged into a reverie while remaining quite conscious and free to choose whether to continue the session or not. I know that for the French, this system must seem very American, but it is effective.
When you give workshops for French professionals,
do you adapt your technique to our country's mentality?
No. Firstly because there is never just one single way to practice hypnosis, including the Ericksonian method: therapists must each develop their own style. Secondly, because I think that our technique is universal, just as the thirst for love is the same whether you're American, Italian or Swedish, we all have the same desires and the same needs: to study, evolve, create, communicate better... The goal of Ericksonian hypnosis is to be in harmony with our desires and to let each person find his or her own individual identity.
"NLP cannot be dismissed as just another hustle. Its theoretical underpinnings represent an ambitious attempt to codify and synthesize the insights of linguistics, body language, and the study of communication systems." - Psychology Today
"(NLP) does offer the potential for making changes without the usual agony that accompanies these phenomena... Thus it affords the opportunity to gain flexibility, creativity, and greater freedom of action than most of us now know." -Training and Development Journal
"While, for the most part, NLP has been applied to psychotherapy, new applications are being explored... Work of this kind with school children has proven to be very successful. In fact, these approaches have been successful with students who have been labeled "learning disabled." - Data Training
"Business people use Neuro-Linguistics
to enhance their communication and provide them with more choices
when working in a difficult situation ... it shows how we make
sense of the world around us and communicate."
- Real Estate Today
"NLP is not snake oil; it could be the most important synthesis of knowledge about human communication to emerge since the sixties." - Science Digest
"Any integration between clinical skills and basic sciences must include Neuro-Linguistics ..." -Dentistry Today
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