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Ericksonian Hypnosis: The Power of Communication with the Unconscious



Anyone who thinks that Ericksonian Hypnosis is just a therapeutic approach is mistaken; it is much more than that. Ericksonian knowledge is effective both in the office and in everyday life, after all, we all want to encourage significant and successful changes in all areas of our lives.

For me, Ericksonian Hypnosis is, above all, a philosophy of life that allows me to help my clients overcome obstacles that, until that moment, they believed to be insurmountable. With it, I am able to create one of the main connections that human beings are capable of establishing: the connection to communicate with my unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is something extraordinary and extremely important for the development of the being, because every transformation you need and want to achieve begins precisely through it.

Whether it's the desire to help your client in a therapeutic process, or the desire to change your own behavioral patterns, or the personal need to grow and be everything you want to be, whatever it is you need to change, rest assured that the main ingredient for success in this endeavor will always be your unconscious mind. Imagine how much better your life would be if you had the opportunity to meet with yourself to talk about certain aspects of your path, about behavioral patterns that no longer make sense and about the personal and professional projects you have and, at the end of the meeting, be sure that you have gained a new perspective, full of new possibilities, and the best of all: based on your well-being and aligned with your life purpose. Now that you know a little more about Ericksonian Hypnosis, it's time to introduce Milton H. Erickson, creator of this approach that is recognized worldwide as one of the most effective tools in modern hypnotherapy.


On December 5, 1901, in a simple family in the small town of Aurum, Nevada, Milton Hyland Erickson was born. It seemed that he would follow in his father's footsteps and become a farmer. The years passed and, at the age of 17, Erickson, already adapted to his dyslexia and color blindness, was faced with yet another obstacle to overcome: polio. After contracting the disease, Erickson's condition worsened to the point of severe paralysis, paralyzing all his muscles, he could only move his eyes and had difficulty speaking. The very doctors who treated him didn't believe he would survive beyond that point.

"At night, lying in my bed, I could hear the three doctors telling my parents that their boy might not survive the night. I felt intense anger because no one should tell a mother that her child could be dead by morning. Then my mother appeared in the room with a serene face and I asked her to put the closet at a certain angle against the headboard. She didn't understand why, she thought I was delirious, but she did it. From that angle I could see through the mirror the open door and, through it, the west window of the other room. I'd be damned if I'd die without seeing another sunrise. Today, if I had any drawing skills, I would sketch that sunrise." Milton H. Erickson in Autohypnotic Experiences of Milton H. Erickson (1977).

WHO IS MILTON ERICKSON? The Wizard of the Desert

Words are unnecessary about the result. The truth is that this was only the first of many times he used the power of his mind to conquer his true desire. During his time in recovery, lying in bed, unable to move or speak, the only distraction the young Erickson found was to analyze the actions and mannerisms of the people around him, both in relation to each other and in their interactions with the environment.

This terrifying and almost deadly experience marked Milton H. Erickson for the rest of his life. If, on the one hand, polio left sequelae in his body that led him to be wheelchair-bound in his maturity, on the other, the recovery period provided him with unparalleled knowledge about human beings and their actions, about the mind and about how we communicate (body language, non-verbal language, use of tone of voice). It was this knowledge that led him to walk again; it was this same knowledge, coming from a time of suffering, that allowed him to create Ericksonian Hypnosis, a landmark technique in the history of Modern Psychology.


Where Ericksonian Hypnosis began Erickson began his studies in psychology in 1920, two years after the polio episode. It is worth noting that at the time he entered the University of Wisconsin, where he would earn his degree, Milton H. Erickson was walking with the aid of a cane. The doctors who treated his illness predicted that he would never walk again. He conducted extensive research into suggestion and hypnosis throughout his medical training and residency. His studies in these two areas, in particular, continued after he began his professional practice in Michigan. The application of the knowledge acquired by Erickson throughout his life (especially during his most delicate times) and the formal knowledge provided by his university education culminated in national and international recognition and in the main circles of psychiatry, as early as the end of the 1930s.

In 1948, Milton H. Erickson, physically restricted to a wheelchair, chose to move with his family from Michigan to Phoenix. The move was a vote in favor of improving the health of Erickson, who had been diagnosed with Post Polio Syndrome. Both he and his family hoped that the move would minimize the intense pain in his body, since the total loss of mobility was a certainty, constantly reminded by the weakness in his muscles. Even in poor health, the year after the move, Milton H. Erickson returned to his work as a hypnotherapist in his now residential office. The illustrious resident of desert Phoenix attracted visitors from all over the world. His fame and effectiveness were such that the general public gave him a new name: WIZARD OF THE DESERT. Milton H. Erickson was an exemplary professional in every respect. His passion for hypnosis, for the mind and for what human beings can achieve with their inner strength, was what kept him going until his death on March 25, 1980, after just over 50 years of clinical and academic career. His legacy lives on to this day thanks to the efforts of great hypnotherapists around the world, including his daughter Betty Alice Erickson, who followed in her father's footsteps and dedicated her professional life to spreading Ericksonian Hypnosis around the world.

Milton H. Erickson's main legacies

Wrote more than 140 articles on Hypnosis and Suggestion; Co-authored 5 books on Hypnosis; Acted as a consultant to Anthropologist Gregory Bateson in his research into the area of communication in the 1950s; Influenced Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the conception of NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming); Erickson, together with Abraham Maslow and Rollo May, gave life to what we now call Positive Psychology; 9 volumes of books in a collection called: The Collected Works of Milton H. Erickson; Developed the language to talk to the unconscious mind; The brilliant use of metaphor for healing; Gave life to what we now call brief therapy. Erickson; Developed the language to talk to the unconscious mind; Brilliant use of metaphor for healing; Gave life to what we now call brief therapy.

Differences between Ericksonian hypnosis and other therapeutic techniques

After these explanations about the technique and its creator, I'd like to tell you a story I heard when I was beginning my studies to become an Ericksonian hypnotherapist. One day, Milton H. Erickson received a man in his office who, even before greeting him, said that he couldn't stop smoking and added that he had tried everything, from therapies to folk remedies, and nothing had worked. Erickson listened calmly and, after a few moments of reflection, said: "Okay, your case is truly challenging. I don't think there's much I can do to change this situation, but I'd like to give it a try.

Throw away all your cigarettes. No, I won't forbid you to smoke, on the contrary, smoke as many cigarettes as you like. However, to do so, you will have to walk to the sale and buy one cigarette at a time. "This story shows perfectly why Ericksonian Hypnosis is so different, in a positive way, and even more effective than other techniques. You, like the gentleman in the story, know exactly what is wrong in your life, without the need for someone else to show you.

That's why, when we're in an Ericksonian environment, your individuality is respected in every respect. Rest assured that at no time during an Ericksonian Hypnosis session will the professional tell you what the client's problem is and how it will be solved. Milton H. Erickson constantly said that you, I and every other person on the face of the earth have the power to find the answers you need. In this case, the client was looking for a way to stop smoking, even though he consciously believed that he couldn't do it. Based on this assumption, we can only believe that many of the answers you are looking for are all around you and the power to find them lies in your unconscious mind. Living connected to this level of your mind is a way of expanding your senses and allowing them to detect the new possibilities that arise. The Ericksonian trance, something so natural and which we experience constantly in our daily lives, is the necessary "bridge" that makes the connection with the unconscious mind.

And when we become practitioners of Ericksonian Hypnosis, we believe, just as Erickson believed, that this level of the mind will collect the important information for us to be able to produce in our lives the success we so desire, be it professional and/or personal. And what happened to the smoker? Even though he had doubts about the effectiveness of what Erickson suggested, he began to do as he was told. This change of action altered his typical behavioral pattern and encouraged him to be healthier. He became an ex-smoker. The new method of getting him to smoke proved to be very tiring and unrewarding, and this made him quit on his own. We'll talk about behavioral patterns later, but first I'd like to leave you with this thought from Erickson: "You don't need a monumental change in your life; a tiny change will change everything else."

Benefits you experience in practice We've reached a point in this e-book where you might be thinking, "OK, I've found out a lot about Ericksonian Hypnosis, but is it really all it's cracked up to be?" Yes, it is. And it's much more than we've talked about here. Firstly, the main benefit it offers is SELF-KNOWLEDGE. Living without self-knowledge is like living inside a cage equipped with a wheel, which will forever be your distraction and your exercise; like having a whole world at your disposal and not venturing out into it. How can we discover what we like, what makes us feel good, our weaknesses and strengths, if we never stop to look inside ourselves?

The connection with the unconscious mind that Ericksonian Hypnosis provides is the point that will link you to your inner self. The power to discern, to know what you want for your life and the certainty that you have within you all the strength you need to achieve your dreams is much more important than any wealth in the world. To invest in your self-knowledge is to see your chances of success multiply by a thousand. Self-knowledge is an extraordinary benefit in itself. And to add to it, I have a list of many others.

Changing behavioral patterns. A behavioral pattern is something you repeat without being aware of it. I can cite as an example the simple act of snapping your fingers when you're nervous or under stress. The action is so quick and unnoticed that, when you least expect it, you've already done it. On a larger scale, the behavioral pattern can be seen in toxic relationships, frequent negative attitudes, the victimhood that many people have and so on and so forth. Believe me, the desired change won't happen because someone else told you to or because "from now on, you won't do that anymore". True Transformation starts from the inside out, from your unconscious mind. And transmitting the necessary information to your unconscious for lasting change to occur is the role of Ericksonian Hypnosis. More possibilities in your life.

Ah, the world is full of possibilities, what we need is to train our eyes to see them. Sometimes we remain in negative situations, which deteriorate our physical and mental health, because we are used to having only that focus. Erickson said that we live in problems not because we like them, but because we don't see other possibilities. And having a new approach to the same problem is what Ericksonian Hypnosis provides. Understand that it's not masking the problem, it's changing your perspective on it. When you change your focus, your perspective changes and you start to see the different possibilities and solutions that exist around you.


Self-knowledge and the development of a new perspective can only result in increased resilience. The moment you see a new way of living and overcoming obstacles, everything else changes. The strengthening of your resilience will come precisely from the fact that you are sure that for every problem, there is a solution.



Ericksonian Hypnosis is effective when used to calm the mind and you can use it on yourself through self-hypnosis. Yes, you can go into trance yourself without the help of another person and enjoy mental clarity and a deeper inner connection.


We are all perfectly imperfect. You have unique characteristics that deserve respect and attention. And this is exactly what Ericksonian Hypnosis does: by practicing Ericksonian knowledge, you come to understand what your true desires are and respect them in the face of other people's opinions.

2. Self-esteem

The self-knowledge that the technique provides bears positive fruit in your life, and the growth in self-esteem is one of them. You become aware of your own value and work daily to improve your weaknesses. Believe me, by boosting your self-esteem, you will have a more balanced and healthier personal and professional life.

3. Personal beliefs

Ericksonian Hypnosis has conquered the world because of its respect for others; respect that extends to everyone's personal beliefs, too. Whether it's used in the office, at a business meeting, with your family or as a philosophy of life, hypnosis will never conflict with what you believe, with your religion or your morals, in other words, with your personal beliefs.

4. Personal journey

I often say that, in a therapeutic session, the client goes as far as the therapist is able to go, and this maxim will also apply when you, on your own, use Ericksonian Hypnosis as a means of well-being and balance. You will dictate the speed and paths of your personal journey. The positive transformation in your being will undoubtedly happen. However, it will happen at your own pace, when your unconscious mind understands that you are ready for it.


A TIP for professional success is always welcome I'd like to open a parenthesis in this e-book to deal with a subject that, incredible as it may seem, causes astonishment: Ericksonian Hypnosis applied to professional life. First of all, I want to make it clear that professional life, in this case, goes beyond professionals in the areas of physical and mental health; my desire is to demystify the use of Hypnosis in all areas of activity, whatever they may be. I want to start this topic with a question: do you know what effective communication is? For communication to be considered effective, it has to involve much more than words. Communication needs a connection between those who are talking, it needs to be carried out in a profound way, and this is where Ericksonian Hypnosis comes in.

Ericksonian knowledge allows you to be present and create a safe and welcoming environment, conducive to the exchange of information at a deeper level of the mind. Yes, this is possible. Does this mean that you will control and enter someone else's mind? No, and you'll understand why in the next chapter. What really happens when there is effective communication is that you manage to overcome the barriers that the CONSCIOUS mind imposes and present the UNCONSCIOUS mind with what is worth knowing. It's worth remembering that the unconscious mind is autonomous, cannot be manipulated and works with the sole purpose of bringing happiness and success to the person. If the product or service offered is correct, the unconscious mind will accept the offer; if not, it will refuse. Another reflection of Ericksonian practice in professional life is how much it changes the perspective of everything.

When we work only with the conscious mind, we see only one way to carry out a given project. It's as if there's only one straight line between the starting point and the finish line, and we pray that there won't be any problems along the way. This whole scenario changes when you connect with your unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is non-linear by nature and this characteristic is the secret ingredient for success. It will see a straight line between the starting point and the finish line, as well as countless other ways of achieving the same success. Problems along the way? Your unconscious mind won't see them as insurmountable obstacles and you won't be affected by anxiety and nervousness. Speaking of anxiety and nervousness, Ericksonian Hypnosis also helps you control your emotions. Even in stressful situations, you'll be able to remain balanced, understanding that your emotions are a small part of you and not you as a whole.


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