Milton H. Erickson - Indirect Suggestions

Erickson’s language patterns sought to bypass the conscious, analytical mind to directly engage with the unconscious, allowing for potent therapeutic change. Erickson’s techniques typically utilized ambiguous language, metaphors, indirect suggestions, and therapeutic storytelling.

1. Direct vs. Indirect Suggestions:

Direct suggestions are straightforward commands that the conscious mind can evaluate and potentially reject.

Indirect suggestions, on the other hand, act like a Trojan horse, slipping past the conscious mind’s defenses. They carry positive suggestions embedded within them.

2. Ericksonian Language Patterns:

Dr. Erickson employed soft tones and whimsical language to engage clients less dominantly. His approach allowed clients to “connect the dots” without overtly telling them what to do. completely - He dealt with crying clients in an indirect way, allowing them to find their own solutions.

Types of Indirect Hypnotic Suggestions:

Permissive Suggestions: At the heart of the Ericksonian method is an emphasis on a permissive approach. Instead of strong, forceful phrases like “you will,” induction is performed with more suggestive phrases like “you could”, “you might”. With these subtle changes, resistance is diminished.

Permissive Suggestion examples

  • You might find yourself noticing you are full sooner, and so can decide to stop eating.
  • You may notice a growing sense of confidence.
  • “You could allow yourself to…”
  • “You could choose to…”
  • “And it’s okay to consider…”
  • “As you allow…”
  • “You could choose to focus on…”
  • “And it’s okay to…”

Awareness Suggestions:

Awareness Suggestions examples

  • “As you are sitting comfortably, you might notice…”
  • “Perhaps you’ve already begun to consider…”
  • “And as you continue to breathe…”
  • “Maybe you’ve already started to imagine…”
  • “And it’s possible that…”
  • “As you listen to my words…”
  • “You may not be aware of it yet…”
  • “And as you relax…”
  • “Perhaps you’ll notice…”
  • “And it’s interesting how…”
  • “As you drift into a comfortable state…”
  • “Maybe you’ll recall…”
  • “As you pay attention…”
  • “In your own time and pace…”
  • “And it’s natural for…”
  • “Perhaps you’ll find yourself…”
  • “And it’s fascinating to consider…”
  • “Maybe you’ll discover…”
  • “Perhaps you’ll notice a shift…”
  • “Maybe you’ll recognize…”
  • “As you listen closely…”
  • “You could begin to…”
  • “And it’s possible that you’ll…”
  • “Perhaps you’ll experience…”
  • “As you consider…”
  • “Maybe you’ll feel…”
  • “In your own way, you’ll…”
  • “And it’s fascinating how…”
  • “Perhaps you’ll notice subtle changes…”
  • “As you relax deeper…”
  • “Maybe you’ll sense…”
  • “As you pay attention to…”
  • “Perhaps you’ll find yourself wondering…”
  • “You might not consciously realize…”
  • “In your own rhythm and pace…”
  • “Perhaps you’ll notice …”
  • “In your own time, you’ll…”
  • “Maybe you’ll begin to…”
  • “Perhaps you’ll experience a shift…”
  • “As you consider different perspectives…”
  • “You could start to…”
  • “As you allow yourself to…”
  • “Perhaps you’ll notice subtle shifts…”
  • “As you relax even deeper…”
  • “Maybe you’ll sense a…”
  • “And it’s fascinating to observe how…”
  • “You might not consciously realize it yet…”
  • “As you drift into a pleasant state of…”
  • “As you delve deeper into…”

Presuppositions: Implied assumptions that guide clients’ thinking. They are often used to encourage the unconscious mind to accept certain ideas or changes. Ericksonian presuppositions are powerful because they bypass the conscious mind’s resistance by assuming the desired outcome is already happening or will happen. This can make the suggestions more acceptable to the unconscious mind, facilitating change and therapeutic progress.

Presuppositions Examples

  • For building self-esteem:
  • “When you notice how much you’ve grown, it will surprise you.”
  • As you reflect on your achievements, you might be surprised at how capable you are.”
  • “When you think about the challenges you’ve overcome, you can feel proud of your resilience.”
  • “You may not have noticed yet, but you have a unique strength that others admire.”
  • “Perhaps you’ll find that with each day, your confidence grows a little more.”
  • “You might discover that you’re more resourceful than you ever gave yourself credit for.”
  • “As you allow yourself to accept compliments, you could start to see yourself as others see you.”
  • “Maybe you’ll realize that your potential is greater than you once thought.”
  • “And it’s perfectly okay to feel good about your accomplishments.”
  1. For anxiety management:
  • “As you become aware of your capacity to cope, you’ll feel a sense of calm.”
  • Maybe you’ve already started to imagine a more peaceful state of mind.
  • In your own unique way, you might find yourself naturally releasing tension.
  1. For inducing trance:

“Would you prefer to go into trance in the black chair or the red one?”

4.For creating responsiveness:

  • “As you listen to the sound of my voice you can float down even more deeply into trance.”
  • “And when your hands finally do touch, you may find that you automatically take a deep breath before you drift all the way down into a very deep trance.”

Embedded Commands: Hidden instructions within sentences. These commands are designed to bypass the conscious mind and speak directly to the subconscious, facilitating change and growth in a gentle and indirect manner.

Embedded Commands examples.

  • “You might find yourself feeling more relaxed as we talk.”
  • “As you sit comfortably, you can let go of all worries.”
  • “While you listen to the sound of my voice, you may begin to feel at ease.”
  • “Imagine how pleasant it will be when you discover new solutions.”
  • “You could notice how your confidence grows with each passing moment.”
  • “Perhaps you’ll start to recognize your own strengths more clearly.”
  • “It’s possible that you’ll find it easier to make decisions.”
  • “You might feel a sense of peace washing over you.”
  • “As you breathe deeply, you can allow calmness to fill you.”
  • “Maybe you’ll enjoy exploring new perspectives.”

Linking Suggestions: Connecting ideas subtly. The linking aspect refers to the way suggestions are connected to the client’s experience or behavior in a seamless and often unnoticeable manner.

Linking suggestions examples.

“As you sit comfortably, you might begin to notice a sense of relaxation spreading from your toes upwards, and as you do, you may find that your thoughts naturally drift towards a peaceful memory.”

*In this sentence, the suggestions for relaxation and recalling a peaceful memory are linked to the client’s current experience (sitting comfortably) without directly telling them what to feel or think.

“And as you go back to a time when you felt a sense of achievement, you might link that feeling to the challenge you’re facing now, realizing that you have the ability to overcome it.”

Negative Suggestions: Presenting the opposite to evoke desired responses. These suggestions are crafted in a way that seems to advise against an action, but they actually encourage the subconscious mind to consider and often pursue the very action that is seemingly being negated. These suggestions use the principle that the mind often omits the negative command and focuses on the action or feeling being described. For example, when you tell someone, “Don’t think of a blue sky,” the first thing they often do is think of a blue sky.

Negative Suggestions examples

  • “Don’t be surprised if you find yourself becoming more relaxed as we talk.”
  • “Don’t enter trance too quickly.”

Imagination: Inviting clients to visualize scenarios. These suggestions are crafted to be indirect, allowing the client to engage their own creativity and resources to find solutions or make changes.

Imagination suggestion examples.

  • “As you relax here, you might begin to picture a place where you feel at ease and notice how just imagining this place can make you feel more relaxed.”
  • “Imagine a time in the future where you have achieved what you came here to do and notice how it feels to see yourself having accomplished this.”
  • “You may find yourself thinking about a color that represents comfort to you, and as you do, you can imagine that color spreading through your body, bringing a sense of peace.”
  • “Perhaps you can visualize yourself handling a challenging situation with ease, and each time you do, it becomes more of a reality for you.”
  • “Consider the possibility of seeing yourself in a new light, where every strength you have is magnified, and every challenge is just a step on the path to success.”
  • “You might find yourself wondering what it would be like to visit a place you’ve always wanted to explore, and as you ponder, you may feel the excitement as if you were really there.”
  • “Imagine a stream of water, clear and cool, flowing gently. As you visualize this stream, consider how your thoughts can flow just as smoothly and calmly.”
  • “Perhaps there’s a color that you associate with comfort. You could imagine that color as a warm light, wrapping around you, bringing a sense of peace and security.”
  • “You may recall a time when you felt particularly confident and strong. Picture that moment, and notice how those feelings can return, filling you with the same sense of assurance.”
  • “Consider the possibility that with each breath you take, you’re drawing in new ideas and with each exhale, you’re releasing any doubts, making room for fresh perspectives.”

Regards

Ashish

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Dear Ashish,

I must say you have made an amazing contribution to the AMARANTOS treasure. :heart: :heart:

Reading through the script was indeed my pleasure and I have bookmarked it for revision too.

Thanks again for the wonderful addition to the knowledge bank.

Regards,

Monesh

:maple_leaf: :maple_leaf: :maple_leaf:

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Dear Monesh,

I am deeply humbled by your uplifting comments. It is the encouragement from our beloved guru, Venu, and mentors like you that inspire me to contribute a little to this vast ocean of knowledge. I am currently reading a book by Milton Erickson titled ‘My Voice Will Go with You’. Hence, I thought of collecting indirect suggestions from multiple websites which can be utilized for the PLR sessions.

Regards

Ashish

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It’s very helpful Ashish. Thanks for this wonderful notes and information.

2 Likes

Dear Pushparag,

Thank you for your encouragement and support. It means a lot.

Regards

Ashish

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Dear Ashish, Excellent post.
Thanks a lot for putting this on the forum. I have copied and saved it for future reference and I propose to go through it before future sessions just to refresh my memory.

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Hi Ashish, thanks a ton…
You’ve made it easier (for me atleast) by sharing your effort. You’ve ensured, I (maybe others also, need not work (explore/research) in the pursuit of learning & gaining further knowledge.:yum:

Your mail and it’s content, was akin to the pleasure of enjoying instant coffee (readymade notes) vis-a-vis the classical brewed concoction (exploring, reading)

N.B: I had actually responded to your post the very day I received it in my mailbox on i.e. May 5th,
There is some problem; all my mails (responses) I guess, are being delivered to Bindu whoever she is.
Today not I the mood to work so spending time here😜

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Dear Ashish, thank you so much for your efforts on sharing us this treasure… this information is invaluable and would be very helpful to all of us during sessions.

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My_voice_will_go_with_you_the_teaching_t.pdf (1.3 MB)

Regards

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Dear Atul ji,

I appreciate your valuable feedback. It is indeed my privilege to contribute for this phenominal forum and gives me immese pleasure to know that it benifits all of us. I feel that there is always scope for improvement, and sentences should be modified as per the desired outcome. Your candid opinion is of great importance to me. Thank you. :pray:

Regards

Ashish

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Dear Arvind ji,

Thank you for your valuable feedback. It serves as an encouragement to keep contributing. It gives me immense pleasure to contribute a drop to the ocean of knowledge created by my beloved guru Venu and all our Amaranteans. Deep gratitude.:pray:

Regards

Ashish

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Dear Kaushik,

Thank you for your valuable feedback and support as always. It means a lot. Your kind words servers as encouragement to keep going. Thanks once again.:pray:

Dear Ashish,

Thank you. Thank you so much for this post. Yes, it really became so easy for all of us. I need to read again and again until it settles into the subconscious mind.

Lots of appreciation for your efforts.

Thank you.
God bless you.
:heart:
Neelam

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Dear Neelam,

Thanks a ton! I appreciate your valuable feedback. You encouragememt and support means a lot to me.:pray:

Regards

Ashish

1 Like