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                                        Individual Couple & Relationship Counselling


                                            30 yrs Behavioural Science Experience

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        Keith Bibby - Therapy Practice - Clapham Common  SW4 - Serving South London

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  Ericksonian Therapy -  How It Works -

                         Ericksonian  Principles In Practice


   The art of success is to discover how things may be done easily.


Observations of  himself and others convinced Erickson that our best efforts to change often fail because of the way  we  try.  The very act of  trying often triggers powerful sub-conscious processes moving us away  from easy states - evoking self-limiting belief patterns and awareness.


These  self - limiting states  may be detected  in actions or feelings that seem  disproportionate to the circumstances. These may be negative states like  self-doubt or uncertainty,  frustration,  anxiety,  fear or acute self-consciousness -  or  they  may be overly assertive states like uncontrolled anger or other impulsive  or self harming behaviour.


These powerful  limiting  patterns  result from many subtle influences we absorb unconsciously from our earliest years which have come to form  the habitual expressions of  how we are or think we should be.


Because these patterns were installed early - before we had  the ability or knowledge to challenge or question them,  these have  become part of our core  identity.   They resist change  - even where such changes might help our general well-being.


Erickson realised that in  order to transform such deep processes and  to prevent  our systems from engaging with the old  internal tramlines that lead to failure............

                      something  out - of - the - ordinary is required.  


Erickson's genius was to notice how,  in ordinary day-to-day life, some people make improbable recoveries from debilitating physical conditions

 - including various skin conditions, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome.  

Others seem to have a magic touch and  appear naturally  wiser, seeming to be able to say just the right thing to help people out of difficult places.


An acute observer  he connected these outcomes with barely noticeable mental  strategies and language structures,  whose deeper  meaning was clearly  not evident to most people.


He observed that, even with some intractable physical  conditions, like profound pain, long-standing insomnia, or long-standing deep anxiety states and tension,  profoundly beneficial responses seemed most likely to occur  when  people didn’t think he was addressing a problem at all !


He realised that if understood and stimulated in the right way,  profound changes could be achieved under the most unlikely of circumstances.

The highly original  indirect method  emerged !!!


As a hospital intern and in later experimentation and research in his

medical and psychiatric work, his insatiable curiosity led him to identify  a  variety of  effective formal and informal hypnotic strategies and linguistic devices;  some are simple, some extremely complex - operating at many levels of awareness to enable constructive suggestion to pass to deep levels - bypassing any  critical filtering or resistance - and freely engaging the unconscious energies of  the system.


In this way, he discovered how, by temporarily uncoupling conscious

effort,  unconscious reorganisation and change can occur, in both mental and physical processes.


Thus the person acquires an  easy and natural function  in place of their  previous deficient process. Thus we can achieve, relatively effortlessly, what has resisted  all previous conscious efforts and treatments.


The principle is simple,  elegant and profound  :-


     create the unconscious conditions for change .....

                                                      it then follows .......naturally !


He demonstrated through thousands of cases,  many apparently insoluble,  that respectful utilisation of such processes achieves significant and lasting changes with great economy of effort.


He published scores of books and papers, inspiring a world-wide

movement which has developed  brief, thorough, effective therapies

for many distressing medical, psychological and personal adjustment problems.


His singular achievement was to transform little understood and even worse exploited hypnotic processes from a trivial means of  public entertainment into a range of  serious and powerful instruments .

In alliance with other therapeutic skills, and in the hands  of a properly qualified therapist, these can confer lasting benefits on the experience of living.


( See - ‘My Voice Will Go With You. Teaching tales of Milton H Erickson’. Authors  Milton H. Erickson & Sidney Rosen - a brief but fascinating popular insight into Erickson’s extraordinary  mind and methods. )


                                                                                Contact Keith Bibby

Copyright Keith Bibby© December 2008                >>  Return